Juggling Projects, Managing Guilt

Sep 17, 2020 · Brittani S Avery


My personal-coding-project kick is still in full swing! Currently, I have been focusing on one project, the lineage database for my digital dragons (Dragon Cave Lineage Database or DCLDB for short). It's actually up and running at dc-lineage-db.vercel.app if you're curious. I recently completed authentication with Swoop and Passport (which I might do a blog about later) as well as the ability to add and view lineages. I'm still working out the kinks on searching, mainly displaying the results. Tables are hard to get right, especially when trying to make a site mobile-friendly.

I'm making good progress on my site, I'm staying motivated to finish it, I'm learning new techniques, and I'm even getting some use of it now despite the work-in-progress status. So why do I feel a huge pang of guilt while working on this project? A recent comic from Chris Hallbeck sums up my feelings perfectly.

The "Not Done" Comic by Chris Hallbeck, originally posted on 14 Sep 2020

In the comic, one guy is working on a small project and a friend comes along and says that it's looking pretty good. But the one working on the project says he could do better. The friend asks, "Are you sure you aren't just using this as an excuse to avoid working on something else?" The question is ignored as the guy keeps working on the small project, saying "Just. A. Few. More. Tweaks," all the while a huge, badly damaged and barely patched-together rock labeled "BIG IMPORTANT PROJECT" looms over him. Upon seeing this comic, I immediately showed it to my sister, telling her that this is how I feel whenever I work on my coding projects instead of working on the sequel of Element Unknown.

Friends and family who are excited to get the sequel have asked me how my book is going and I say that I'm nearly done (which I am), but that it's been tough to stay inspired (which it has). I am about 85% done. Just about every important event is already written and now I'm just going back to add detail or to clean up some awkward sentence structure. I am just as excited to finally see the words "The End" on draft number one. But I feel a sense of overwhelming dread each time I think about opening up the draft on my computer. I just kinda nope out of it and start coding instead. Hence why I have a nearly functioning database in 3.5 months despite not knowing the framework beforehand and only working a few hours each week.

While my desire to type the sequel has basically vanished, my desire to write the sequel remains, albeit in limited quantity. I have written some scenes by hand in a notebook. Just a little here and there. Having the idea of where I want to story to go clearly in mind definitely helps (new pens help too). I can picture the scenes playing out in my head. The words themselves are having difficulty leaving my brain and transferring themselves onto the page.

I originally had the goal of finishing the first draft by the end of this year. At this rate, I have no idea if that will happen. I'm going to keep trucking along in writing the sequel as well as coding my projects. Maybe one creative process with bleed into the other.

How have you all been during these turbulent months? Is your motivation or inspiration zapped? If so, you're not alone and hopefully soon, we'll be able to get out of this blah mood together.


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