I procrastinate. A lot. Point of fact: I am writing this article three days after its due date. It’s not that I haven’t known what my topic would be. It’s not that I couldn’t come up with words. It’s that I have been afraid of it getting written and not being good enough.
That I have procrastinated on writing an article titled, “Just Do It,” is ironic, yes, but it also does give me a starting illustration.
The article would not exist if I had chosen to not write it.
Obvious statement, but profound in its impact. I did not write it because I am the world’s greatest writer. I am not a member of the League of Game Makers because I am the foremost authority on the making of games. I did write it, and I did join this League and I am making games because (drum roll) – I want to. And at some point I decided to do it. I decided that even if this article stinks and no one reads it, I want it to be written. Even if my fellow Game Makers don’t want to publish this on our site, I still want it written. You see, the fear of not being good enough could have one of two influences on my life:
- Keep me from trying OR
- Spur me on to try and continue getting better.
Friends of ours were involved in an amateur food blog. The group of six went out to eat locally or on vacations around the country and wrote about their opinions of the meals they enjoyed (or didn’t). Within a year, most of them decided their time was better spent elsewhere, and one-by-one dropped out, including our friends. One of the bloggers kept it going. And he wasn’t the best writer. His writing, in fact, was bland at best. But he kept at it when the better writers gave up. He is now a professional food critic. His blog was picked up by some publishing company and he is flown across the world to review dishes prepared by some of the best chefs on the planet. Because he did it.
I think a lot of times in life we don’t do something we think we would enjoy because before we even try, we convince ourselves that we won’t be the best, so we won’t risk failure. We believe the lie that something is only worth doing if you’re going to be the best at it. Or the lie that in order to do something, you must first be an expert. In fact, the only real difference between you who isn’t creating a game right now, and Alan R. Moon (creator of Ticket to Ride) is that he did it and you didn’t. Not to downplay hard work, talent, and perfecting a craft, but he is where he is in his career because he started something. You may even be a better game designer than he is, but it doesn’t matter if he does it and you talk yourself out of it.
If you want to be a person who designs games, then design a game! If you want to be a person who reviews games, then review a game. If you want to start a group blog of game makers – don’t, because we already did that.
You will never win a Mensa Award for a game you don’t create. No one will never play that game you thought of that “could be better than Magic” if you don’t make a prototype. People will never see it on store shelves if you don’t call some printers. Instead of allowing the procrastinating self-editor in your mind take over and keep you from accomplishing anything… Just do something! Pursue the craft you enjoy and love. It’s worth the risk.
Just do it!
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4 Readers CommentedJoin discussion
Kelsey, enjoyed your article. Like everyone else I procrastinate; however, most of the time I Just Do It. So, I say Amen to your article.
Good stuff Kelsey. I often have a horrible time moving past getting started. If I have to write something I get stuck in the minutia and distractions:
– write a sentence
– realize I used the same word twice in the sentence and look up a synonym to replace it
– read that the new word has an interesting etymology related to sheep herding
– realize I don’t know why sheep have oddly shaped pupils so look it up in wikipedia
If I would JUST DO IT and get a first draft done and save the editing and polish for later I’d get a lot more done.
“realize I don’t know why sheep have oddly shaped pupils so look it up in wikipedia”
Dammit, Brad, you had me >< this close to googling for "wikipedia sheep pupils". Not how I need to spend my day! 🙂
Great encouraging post. I’ve just recently jumped into board game designing and now meet with a local gaming group of playtesters weekly. It’s a lot of fun and I should have done it sooner but I’m taking the “just do it” attitude you mentioned in your article and running with it.