Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bad Family: 100 words a day

The re-writing of Bad Family (*) has been warming up over the last week or so (although it'll have been just over a month, by the time this entry is auto-published).

(*) My game about dysfunctional relationships, family sit-coms, and the struggle to get what you want by the end of the episode before your big sister screws you over.

Really, it feels like the writing is happening at the intersection of seven personal productivity hacks that I've been using for a while:

  1. I've set up the home page of my browser so that the Google Docs page where I'm writing Bad Family is right in my face whenever I go online. Using Google Docs also has the advantage of making it easy to work on it anywhere.
  2. I have started a Seinfeld chain - basically, the idea that if you can see you're making progress every day, you don't want to take a day off (and break the chain). You can see my chain for Bad Family here.
  3. I'm using an idea from Mark Forster called the Current Initiative, which is that you choose one project that you want to make progress on, and make it the very first thing you do each day. So, when I wake up I write on Bad Family for 10 minutes. I also make it the first thing I do when I get home.
  4. After reading 'In Praise of Slow', I'm putting less pressure on myself to complete this game RIGHTNOWASSOONASPOSSIBLE. By taking the pressure off, I'm trying to make it more fun.
  5. I'm writing it with a specific audience in mind. This is a hack suggested by Jonathon Walton - writing it to a particular person gives it a more personal voice. Hopefully it also makes it a more enjoyable read.
  6. I'm making this my main writing project for the next two months (till the end of July). I'm now alternating a period of serious, focused writing with two weeks of playing around with various projects, finding out what's fun.
  7. I'm writing 100 words a day. Again it's a suggestion by Jonathon Walton, in this thread on Story Games.
Basically, I'm looking forward to 'finishing' this thing. Not only will it tie off the last Old Thing I've been working on, but it'll also allow me to release Matt, Karen, and Gino's artwork into the internet.

EDITED TO ADD: I've also been 'gameifying' my writing - finding easy levels (sections) to complete and working on them; gradually I'm working my way up to the harder levels.
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