Switching Gears – context for a new phase for this blog

2020 screams to a close.

I’m a little over midway through two weeks off work and have been wrestling with what to focus the remainder of this precious fleeting time on. Family time, projects around the house, to do lists dating back years, examination of life and lifestyle. This break has gone by fast so far and I’m trying to carefully examine how I’m using the opportunity while I still have it. What will I wish I had done when the time is gone?

It’s long been an aspiration for me to ‘write my book’; it’s what started this blog originally. To articulate the ideas that accrued and the model of thinking that arose from the challenges I struggled with as a game developer, art director and manager over the last almost twenty years. These thoughts and ideas are important to me and consist of many things I’d like to, but struggle to convey at work and elsewhere.

Although the component ideas aren’t too complicated, the model they form as a whole ultimately amounts to a ‘long form’ idea. It’s hard to convey using the mediums typically available in a work or typical social setting. I’ve found Slack messages and even emails do not convey long form ideas well; that most people don’t respond positively to lengthy blocks of text.

A side effect of this is that the types of ideas that propagate in and drive the quality of communication and practices in typical work environments consist only of new ideas simple enough to be conveyable in short forms. Like character limits in tweets. Ideas that don’t resolve in ‘low resolution’ formats cannot practically be conveyed. (Except perhaps over long periods of time through culture… but that is a subject for later)

And so, the attempt to use a long form medium, a book, to convey the ideas has been the goal.

It has proven to be an elusive aspiration, however. The many accumulated notes and drafts did ultimately materialize into a book proposal and outline that was sent to publishers and met with some interest, but not enough to reach escape velocity.

In considering next steps, looking at the proposal now, I see that the direction the book was taking deviated from what I originally imagined and that I’m not inspired to continue with it in its current form.

In speaking about my struggles with my sister, an accomplished thinker and writer, the idea of the ‘shape’ of a long form work came up, she recommended Jane Allison’s ‘Meander, Spiral, Explode’ and inspired me with the idea that I had not yet found the right shape for the expression of these ideas.

And so I’m inclined to pull the book outline and proposal apart into its components, and stir them up with other parts from previous attempts at organizing the ideas… essentially creating a big puzzle consisting of a pile of parts several layers deep.

I’m trying to capitalize on this time to set in motion an approach that might have the momentum to push through the challenge of re-assembling these parts into some more viable form.

I think that expressing and exploring ideas more frequently and informally using this blog could be both a way to start just getting them out there in some form and, hopefully, also serve to help work through how the puzzle pieces fit together.

And so, my intention is to get more comfortable with this medium, work through old notes, journal entries, parts of the outline, along with new thoughts and ideas as they arise, a bit at a time on this blog and see what focusing through the lens of regular, informal ‘publishing’ results in.