This last week has been rather challenging for me. I’ve struggled with a lot of projects going on all at the same time, with some insecurities with my writing, changes in both “jobs,” and just plain exhaustion. Sands 3 is basically done now (1st draft), but it required several sleepless nights to get it there and a LOT of time and energy. I don’t say this to garner sympathy or to elicit “the feels.” It is merely so you have context.
One of the projects with which I am involved is a game based off my novel, Sands. Having a game made from something you wrote is awesome. It is almost as cool as having a movie made from it. Almost. However, for a number of reasons, I haven’t been terribly involved in the process of designing the game outside of some art consultation and an initial concept review back in the very early stages of the game. That, in and of itself, is stressful. Don’t get me wrong, the game is superb. It’s awesome. I have complete confidence in the team at Future House who is doing the game development and in the beta testers who are helping work out the bugs. The game hits all the fun aspects of a card/board game hybrid and will be, in my opinion, something that will be enjoyed for many many years into the future. It has met all my expectations and then some.
But, as the creator of the world upon which the game is based and the designer of the peoples, cultures, and ideas in it, I stress and I worry anyway. Will the game do justice to the book? Will people want to read the book because they played the game? Will people who read the book want to play the game? Will the game flop? What if the final art ends up not doing justice to the concept of the world I have in my head? It’s a surreal experience to see others talking about my world and my book as an observer and not as the main contributor to the conversation.
I worry and I stress because that is what I do. My degree and day job is in business and accounting, so my mind works in specifics and details. Detailed communication. Detailed decisions. Details, details, details. When some of those specifics and details aren’t there or aren’t in my control to decide, it stresses me out. Add to this needing to finish the next book in the series, AND balance the day job, AND do marketing, AND create presentations and workshops for conferences, AND worrying about sales, AND trying to figure out how to make a career just out of writing instead of trying to balance multiple jobs, not to mention the normal life of being a parent, provider, and husband – I could go on, but you get the point.
Well, in the middle of all this, I received a message that was able to put some of it back into a better perspective for me. As part of the development process for the game, there are game tests where people not involved in the game making process come and play the game and work out bugs in the system in order to make it better. The first of these was a couple days ago. The second was last night. (again, the game is awesome – if you want to get email updates about the game and the Kickstarter attached to it, sign up HERE).
Anyway, at the first of these game tests two of the participants met, started talking, and are now dating. They seem quite happy together. One of them reached out to me earlier this week to say thank you for making it so she could meet her now boyfriend. I’m not going to lie. I may or may not have teared up a little. Her happiness was real, genuine, and plain to see even in a written form. And I was glad to be a small, very minor part of that happiness.
I was reminded that my writing matters. I was reminded that what I do not only can, but does, make a difference. In some small part, if I hadn’t written the book, these two lovely people may not have met. That, for me, makes the stress worth it and allows me to push some of it back down to where it belongs, in the back of my mind. Writing, books, language, and the things they create bring people together. And that is what makes it all worth it in the end. Do I have all the details and answers? No. And that is still stressful. Do I still have a million things I’m trying to balance at the same time? Yes. And that is still stressful. But life goes on. People come together and the world moves forward. Always.