Monday, July 18, 2016

When you have to do it yourself

I want to talk today about the realities of tackling huge projects by yourself. I'm going to compare to some professional advice in my talking points. The general consensus is that you should never do it all yourself. You should employ other professionals who have the skills where you don't (if you don't) to make your project (board game, novel, comic) the best shining example it can be. This is solid advice because the environment you are trying to enter is a no holds barred battlefield of very high expectations.

Now, truth be told, I'm not alone. I never have been. But in getting started, I was the only one to do all the writing, planning, and art. I'm a rare example that I do have artistic skill to tap into on top of my writing abilities. Not many people can be a one man band. There are factors to take into consideration here as well. Factors that most people don't think about.What I do also requires a solid work ethic and never give up attitude.

Why go solo in the first place? It's a fair question. Who in their right mind would want to do all this work on their own? That includes facing the critics of that work. Remember, this is the internet and critics aren't known for playing nice. You will feel like you've been ganged up on in the parking lot. We'll get to dealing with that later. For now, why go solo? The answer is deceptively simple:

Life. The issues of your life may prod you forward or make you decide it's just not worth it. What if you have a dream you want to make reality, but your life has become a ticking clock? Maybe you have terminal cancer? Maybe you have the onset of Alzheimer's? Or maybe, yes maybe, you have multiple sclerosis. My critics don't think MS is very serious. But then, they don't have to struggle with esophageal spasms that make it hard to talk, swallow, or breath. They can walk and will likely still be able to walk tomorrow. MS is a disease that destroys your nervous system. It's definitely a ticking clock. Over 400,000 people have MS in the US alone and it is robbing people of their life skills and indeed their very lives. See life expectancy results HERE.

So what do you do? In board games the experts say not to release your game to the public until it has the very top of the line graphic art and the structure is as perfect as you can make it. It even comes down to a money thing. If you didn't spend thousands on your artwork, you shouldn't release your game. But your own artwork is not stick figures. In fact you've been recognized for your work in the past and you can make a pretty passable product. Maybe not the Picasso of graphic art, but there's another plan for that. What do you do? Just give up and never bother because you can't cough up the funds they expect? Your life is not like theirs. You are on a ticking clock that may well mean you can't get all of your story out.

Turned up noses are frustrating, but you can't let that stop you.

My advice? Build it anyway. That's the path that will require the most courage and guts for sure. Not everyone can do it the way the critics expect or the way that the professionals suggest. Their's is not the only way. That's what I did. I did the very best I was capable of and made the game available. Why? Because at least I did it. It's my accomplishment, not theirs. If MS takes me out next year, I made an accomplishment. I beat MS to the punch. It wasn't about making a million dollars on my games. It was about putting out something fun, and doing it against the clock I have to live with. I would challenge any of my critics to live with what I live with and still manage to publish four books (soon to be five) and two games.

Granted, I've tried a lot of things that just didn't work. But doesn't everyone? The point you have to remember is that it's your accomplishment if your life has the same kind of issues in play. You can try to wait until you can pay your way in, or forge your own path while you still can. Under the circumstances, which way sounds better to you?

Another factor to how I have forged ahead, is that I have a product I can show in much fuller form to those who I may enlist to make it even better in the future. Here's an actual quote I received:

"If your project is so great, you should have no problems getting artists to jump all over it."

Spoken like someone who has never tried it. Don't listen to comments like this.

Everyone has to start somewhere and everyone has to take the factors of their actual lives into consideration. That's whether you dump your life savings into it or just your life. If everyone restricted themselves to only what is the most perfect of perfection to make the critics happy (can't be done), no one would succeed at anything. History proves that. The best of the best, forged their own paths even when told they would fail by onlookers and the "gurus who knew all". There is no reason that you can't do the same if you refuse to give up. That's when you just have to take it on yourself.
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