12 March 2006

A Hard Choice

It's only happened a couple of times before, where I've had to choose between participating in two tasty projects. If I were Superman, I might be able to take on every single project that comes my way. Unfortunately, I'm not, and I can't. I have limits, and I have to be fair to both myself and the folks who pay me to write for them. I have to remain conscious of my limitations as a writer/game designer.

It's a difficult balancing act. As I've continued to write, my confidence in my abilities has grown. I remember when the thought of 7,000 words with a month deadline scared the living daylights out of me. These days, I see 7,000 words as ten days' worth of work (if I'm trying to stay comfortable), and a weekend's worth of work (if I need to crank it out post-haste).

While I try to maintain realistic expectations of my own abilities, I certainly don't want to undercut myself. I am oftentimes (okay: I am always) my own worst critic. It's quite easy for me to convince myself that there's no way I can accomplish a specific task in a set amount of time, much less juggle two or even three projects like some kind of literary acrobat. At the same time, if I can look at the time I have available in conjunction with the word counts and relative complexity of the projects at hand, I can often see ways to make it work with time to spare.

It's not only a matter of knowing how much I can get done, either. I've got a family, and I need to devote a certain amount of time to them, too. Giving them less of me than they deserve or need is just another way of making life harder. Fortunately, my wife is the most understanding person I know; my son seems to be equally forgiving.

So that's the way it goes. Without getting into specifics, I've had to cut myself free of one project in order to work on another. My feelings, all at once, include guilt, elation, trepidation, and relief. It's strange, this emotional rollercoaster that they call freelancing. I suppose that we're all different animals with different creative engines beneath our respective hoods, but I wonder if other writers feel the same way when these things happen to them.

At the present, I'm at the new coffee place. Free wi-fi never felt so good. Another reason to scorn Starbucks and Seattle's Best, with their damnable pay as you go commercial wireless networks.

Last night was Alan's Shackled City game. We were down one player due to rotten luck mixed with slick roads: Adam, my brother in law, had a fender bender on the way to the game, and pulled out in order to get things taken care of. With Mike driving down from Palm Springs, the rest of us decided to play without him. It was a bloody mess, but we performed relatively well, taking the bad guy and his brood down after a tough battle.

Will Marcus make 4th level? Will any of us? Here's hoping. We need as much as we can get. The only choice at that point will be thus: should I continue on as a pure cleric, or add a level of fighter in to boost his martial abilities?

My plan was always to stay along the lines of a cleric/fighter, with the emphasis on cleric. I reckoned the ratio would be 3/1, which means I'm due for a level of fighter-type. I don't expect that the difficulty of the campaign will diminish, and we'll need all the BAB and HP that we can get. Spells are nice, but I tend to go through them so quickly.

Anyway, a picture or two from last night's game, featuring product placement by Alex. Because everyone knows that gamers with taste drink Diet Coke.

No comments: