First off, I want to send out one last thank you to everyone who supported the Kickstarter for Strife: Legacy of the Eternals, continues to support it with ratings on BGG and discussion across social media! Secondly, I would like to briefly discuss the rather lengthy time period without new posts on this site, and hypothesize about the cause of this situation.
Post Project Funk
So, there I was, at the height of elation, with my lifelong dream of being a game designer officially accomplished! Strife: Legacy of the Eternals had funded at well over 200% of our goal and V3G was already committing to a second set in the franchise! This was everything I had worked towards and hoped for, and yet in the days immediately following the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign I found myself falling into an inexplicable funk.
At first I thought it was just exhaustion, and there was definitely plenty of that as I barely slept for the entire month of October. Between monitoring the Kickstarter page, promoting/interacting on social media at all hours, working 40hrs a week at a day job, and maintaining some semblance of a family life I was completely wiped out! I often operate on 7hrs of sleep per night just fine, but I found myself sleeping 9hrs or more on a regular basis. Even when I was awake, I did not feel like doing anything. How could this be?
After enough sleep that I could not reasonably blame my condition on exhaustion any longer, I began to think it was some sort of social overload. Despite what my blogging and charming social media presence might lead you to believe, I am overwhelmingly introverted and too much interaction severely drains me. I truly love meeting all the awesome gamers and members of the game creating community via the internet, but I simply cannot stay as engaged as I should on Facebook and Twitter without wearing down, regardless of the never-ending flow of awesome content! I thought, and still think that this made thing harder on me, but I had a suspicion that something else was at play.
It seems that it is not uncommon for people to experience intense fatigue following the completion of a massive project or life event. I am sure to many in the creative or project management world this is common knowledge, but I was unaware of this phenomenon. My day job, at present, is of the blue-collar hard-work variety, and when you are tired, you simply grind on because that is how it is done. Suddenly I was at the end of a long road for the first time, and did not know what to do or how to recover from it.
The entire month of November was spent doing the absolute minimum of thinking about this blog or the second set for Strife. Before I knew it, the Holiday Season had arrived and that left little time to work on anything. Given that V3G was interested in the next set of Strife as soon as it was ready I dedicated my extra time to working on it. Sadly this left no extra time to write articles for this site.
Fortunately, I already had a strong groundwork laid for the next set of Strife, and December was spent playtesting and refining as much as possible. While I did enjoy the process, I still did not feel quite back to normal during this period of time. It was not until the 5th of January that my recovery truly began, and I can trace it to a very specific event. I discovered the online ccg from Blizzard, Hearthstone.
Although I had been aware of Hearthstone’s existence since the time of its beta, I had felt no interest. After all, I had played Magic: The Gathering since its inception and did not think I would have the time be as competitive as I wanted, nor did I feel an overwhelming desire to try a new ccg. For some reason, I decided on that Monday evening to give it a try out of boredom, and BAM, a new borderline addiction was born!
While Hearthstone is free to play, players may purchase cards with money if they wish. Having invested a lifetime’s worth of money back in the day on Magic, I refused to spend a dime but found myself experiencing the same joy from deck building the early days of Magic provided.
All of a sudden, I found myself feeling mentally refreshed and amazing things began to happen! I tightened up the new set of Strife even further with a renewed passion, created a prototype for an abstract strategy game tentatively called Zark, and began developing a new light card game called Killing Jenkins in a matter of a week’s time! All of this was accomplished while obsessing over Hearthstone and how to climb the ladder without buying cards! So what happened?
I do not think that time alone helped me to shake my malaise. However, I am strongly of the opinion that Hearthstone allowed me to exercise my creative muscles in a manner free of responsibility and thus triggered a furious desire to create! Ideas, and the excitement that accompanies them began to fill my mind and I knew that I was not only feeling better, but ready to return to blogging as well. What better way to begin than by explaining my challenges and what brought me out of the funk?
Hopefully I will be more prepared for the rush of excitement during, and the lull that follows project based work now that I have some experience and insight into matter. Either way, knowing how to recharge my creative batteries should make it much easier to recover and move on to the next big project after the next one.
I would love to hear from any fellow designers, creators, or anyone who has had similar experiences with post project funk. What were your struggles and what were your cures?
It is great to be back, with an exciting year ahead!