Keeping the dreams alive

There’s slow time and fast time.

Fast time gives you quick results. That’s when you focus your efforts to achieve a deadline. Those deadlines are artificial and beneficial. Itch.io jams and IF community competitions. Collimated creativity.

There is also slow time, and I seem to be in it right now. That’s when all the brutal lessons of fast time are internalised and consolidated.

I’m finding it hard to measure slow time. I have six unfinished projects right now and I have deliberately not
touched any of them for weeks. Can that be progress? In slow time, I think yes that can be progress.

It feels like there will be an answer soon, as surely as a click-to-buy results in a knock-on-the-door.

But how do we talk about slow time? What vocabulary is there to describe this cookery?

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Is there a time between slow time and fast time?

When I have short term goals I tend to work on things at a fast pace as you mention.

However, when I don’t have specific goals sometimes I get so slow I have to re-learn some of what I have already done. I am trying to learn “slow steady”.

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Huh. I’m in the process of selling my house and everything. Things won’t move forward at all until it’s done. I don’t even know if it will work afterwards. Going minimalist is tough after a lifetime of collecting.

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For me, yes. I sometimes have to let a project lie fallow for a while and pick up another one. There was one I left for a year because I needed one more puzzle and couldn’t think of one. The right idea finally came when I was sitting on the lavatory on Christmas Day. Not the most convenient moment, but the idea was perfect.

Five or six WIPs seems about right to me, because at any given time I’m bound to be in the mood to work on one of them. Each one takes me between two and ten years, but every couple of years one of them will be ready for release, perhaps leaving people with the impression that they take less.

I tend not to enter game jams because it means mentally dropping whatever I’m in the middle of and trying to think of something new. Game jams are like the small child who interrupts your train of thought to ask you a completely unrelated question, and leaves you struggling to remember where you were afterwards.

When I think about my own mortality, which having now entered my fifties I frequently do, one of my biggest fears is that I won’t live to complete all my projects, which should give you an idea of the inflated level of importance I attach to them.

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I’m in my seventies. I hope I outlive my new tube of toothpaste. :wink:

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Sounds a little bit like “Hammock Driven Development” as described by Rick Hickey in this talk.

Even if this isn’t the exact answer, it’s a good talk to watch regardless.

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Stay strong, @ramstrong . Hope this change brings you good things. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Also, I call TODOs that require work effort and tighter timelines “gottados” and TODOs that require play effort and looser timelines “wannados”. Too many gottados stress me out and too many wannados make me feel lazy and unproductive. So, I try to keep them balanced every day.

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Yes, J.J. and I have had more discussions about how unproductive we are and “stuck” creative ideas than probably any other topic. I think it’s just innate to the creative process. Feeling like I should be doing something but not exactly knowing what the “something” is exactly.

And, yeah, clicking on that Amazon button is probably going to make you feel more alive than receiving the product, but that moment is fleeting.

Bathrooms are a good place to have epiphanies for some reason. I usually get mine in the shower. I think it’s because my subconscious is working on an idea while I sleep and delivers the solution while my conscious mind is waking up. I call that moment a “shower epiphany”, which sound a bit dirty for some reason, but it works. Before I go to a-slumberin’ I sez to my subconscious mind “Subby?” I sez, “How am I going to get rid of a cyborg troll guard with nothing but a golden toothpick, a banana peel and a handful of raw chicken thighs”? And I almost always get an answer the next day. Might not be a great answer, but I get an answer.

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Remember that scene in “The Jerk” where Steve Martin is so excited because “The new phone book is here!”? That’s me. I am always really excited to get and open a package, even if I know it’s just the dog’s meds. I’m really easily pleased, which my husband loves because it makes me such a cheap date.

I am 50 years old, and I have a million unfinished projects because they are all still in my head, since it was only this year that I decided that I could probably write an IF game if I really wanted to. The fact that I actually did it and today have a finished, playable (hopefully) game in IFComp makes all the other projects feel more urgent. A kind of psychological constipation.

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^ This! Explicitly asking your subconscious to work on a problem really does the trick, for some reason. I sometimes get the answers to particularly knotty problems in the form of dreams.

Stopping what I’m doing and going for a walk also helps. My local bit of Epping Forest is full of places where I can’t help but be reminded, this is where I had that idea…

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When working on large projects, I find it helpful to appreciate the journey as in itself a purpose, knowing that no destination will be more fulfilling than the road, knowing that there is no end to the dreaming but only to us. Releasing a project, even with the provisional safeguards of a promise to return to it and polish it later, isn’t a zenith but more of an exercise in letting go and accepting the limitations of reality and ourselves. I find it incredibly serene to finally disattach myself from the specters of perfection and just admit that the work I’ve released is simply what I was able to accomplish in the time that I had. Really, every single artwork is another person making this same admission time and time again. That we love so many artworks, that their flawed humanities fill us with the sublime, generates the poignant hope that maybe transcendent meaning outlasts our inability to achieve it.

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Yes, it’s called doing things half fast.

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Dah dum dump. :wink:

Releasing a project, even with the provisional safeguards of a promise to return to it and polish it later, isn’t a zenith but more of an exercise in letting go and accepting the limitations of reality and ourselves. I find it incredibly serene to finally disattach myself from the specters of perfection and just admit that the work I’ve released is simply what I was able to accomplish in the time that I had.

This is such a succinct way of putting it, and something I had to make peace with a while ago.

A game I played that had a very profound effect on me is The Beginner’s Guide a game from the creator of The Stanley Parable about the process of making games, and art in general.

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That sounds like something I’d love to get a look at.

As for me … slow time is tough to navigate! Sometimes i try to force things, and it doesn’t work. But maybe I needed to force them to take a step back. I can’t say for sure. But I want to take those chances and ask those questions.

I like to think of slow time as rolling a 1d20 until you get a 20. If you do it enough, you’ll get that 20. But you need patience. And, of course, you need to load the dice in your own favor. I find having a weekly writing file I can organize–and eventually sort important ideas to specific notes files–helps a lot

And I think my habits of blocking out certain things that don’t help (social media, timewasters I don’t enjoy) gives me a greater chance to find That Idea. I could do better, but I do well enough.

I also think when I get that good idea I’ve been wondering about for a while, I worry if I deserved it, if it’s too good to be true, etc. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. Maybe I won’t do everything I can. But I gave myself a good chance to think of it. And I know when reading over old notes, I see “Oh, that’s that idea I was glad to have and I didn’t act on it right away.”

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