Sunday, August 28, 2016

Meeting Challenges

Brave the hurricane
No matter where you try to publish anything in any genre, there are an army of challenges to face. A lot of them are in marketing, gaining an audience, and taking rejection. The greatest of all challenges however, are in yourself.

Completing projects are typically the number one hurdle to scale. If there's one thing we authors do well, it's procrastinate. But that's not the only factor to work with. Self doubt, writer's block, and changes in ideas are all common demons of any creative work. Challenging perceived norms is another hurdle, if that's something you do. I know I do because I write stories and apply my universe to board games as well. Some people seem to think that's like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters.

As if the natural layout and environment of challenges weren't enough, you have to challenge yourself. What do I mean by that? I mean you have to push yourself. Whether it's coming up with that new idea or just finishing an art piece of chapter. You have to give yourself deadlines and push for them any way you can. We all know, if we get to that plateau we dream about, the deadlines will be imposed on us. We have to ready ourselves. Practice those deadlines now.

And don't get too down on yourself when a deadline doesn't work. Don't succumb to self doubt.

"If you begin to doubt your power, you lend power to your doubt." Yes, I just quoted an old movie, Mystery Men. Laugh away, but you know he was right.

I have multiple projects on my desk all the time. I have challenges of time management, completion, and self imposed deadlines all over the place. How do I handle them? I put my head into the game and just keep forging forward. It's the only direction worth going in. Right now, as many of you know, I'm pushing work through on my first expansion set for my board game, but that's not all. There is a cool surprise coming right along with that. It's been an additional challenge to keep my mouth shut about it. Then Chessmen2 is in final edits.

I have the challenge of appealing to varied audiences (something I will get more into later on). Board game audiences and book audiences are very different. But if you are a game designer, this advice holds just as true to you as it does an author. You have a lot of work to do in components, rules, and theme. You have management in development and manufacturing depending on how you follow through and what sources you use.

Not unlike being burned alive
Our age of self publishing ability can actually lend to a dangerous level of laziness because it's so damn easy to just publish whatever you want. This means you have an additional challenge of surpassing an ocean of crappy work that's all around you. And all the audiences for all aspects can be not only critical but unforgiving.

There is a lot of wonderful advice out there on developing board games, writing books, and publishing all of the above. I think, the best advice possible, is to just DO the work. And keep doing it. You have to have a special love for this too or you won't be able to handle it when someone says you suck. Another challenge, bad criticism hits hard. But keep doing the work, even if you fall flat on  your face. Your refusal to give up will eventually speak in your favor.

Next time I'll delve into understanding audiences and how diverse they are while being very much the same. Keep creating!
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