RPharazon asks, “Programming work, a Gmod comic, a video LP, a normal LP, a weekly column, a healthy family. HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME?”
I’ll add to that list the fact that feeding the blog, Stolen Pixels, and Shamus Plays requires an overhead of gaming time each week.
So… how do I find the time?
1. I work from home
Apparently people average an hour and a half a day driving to and from work. (That figure might include other bits of driving, I’m not sure.) People also end up wasting their lunch hour at work. I have all of that time to use as I please. So I probably have two more hours a day than the average person.
Yes, I do realize I’m lucky.
2. I don’t watch TV
I guess this is becoming more and more common. But a lot of people still watch “a little” TV or “a few shows” without realizing how many hours that really is. Or how much could be accomplished in that time. That’s fine. I’m not one of those people that sneers at TV watching. It’s relaxation and entertainment time. I’m just lucky in that for me, banging out 1,000 words on the thematic and plotting shortcomings of Mass Effect 2 works as “entertainment”.
3. Everyone stays home
My wife is home all day, and the same goes for our kids. She paints as a hobby-job, and educates our kids. That makes it pretty easy to get family time in whenever it fits. I know it’s murder trying to spend time together when mom and dad both have jobs and the kids have school and soccer practice. We don’t have to look for spots where everyone’s schedules line up like a slot machine and we can spend time together.
Again, I realize this is a fortunate setup.
4. Day job doesn’t take all day
I’ve had this job for the last 16 years. I don’t want to talk too much about the details, but recently I’ve been working fewer hours. The LOTRO series is the result of my taking those extra hours and trying to put them to productive use. (Please don’t ask for more details about this.)
There is a clear rhythm to each week, which lets me keep track of projects. Sunday morning is for recording Spoiler Warning. The rest of the day goes to the blog and Tuesday’s comic. Monday is for Shamus Plays. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night go into the column and Friday’s comic. Saturday is NO WORK DAY. This is important. I spend a full 24 hours NOT WRITING or producing content. It lets me decompress and avoid burnout. I spend the day playing games I want to play and hanging out with the family.
If I miss a day, I cut some content instead of pushing everything else back. Otherwise the problem would just snowball. (Like last weekend we didn’t get any posts because Other Stuff ate those hours.) So this blog is basically the safety valve.
6. I enjoy it
I don’t think I’d be able to keep up this pace if this wasn’t fun. I’d probably be doing a lot of this even if nobody read it. (Except for the comics. I couldn’t imagine taking the time to make comics if I thought nobody would read them.) This blog began with me slamming out a few thousand words a week, back when nobody even knew about it.
I had another blog before this one, back around 1999-2002 or so. All hand-crafted HTML. It was called “Pixel Factory”. Nobody read it. No internet archive has any memory of it. It was a hole into which I dumped vanishing words. So while having an audience is certainly rewarding, I’d still be doing this even if there wasn’t one.
Some people pour hundreds of hours into their model trains. Or a garden. Or a classic car. Or music. “Creating stuff as entertainment” is pretty common, it’s just in my case I happen to want to create something that can be read by thousands of people.
7. Having said all that…
I’m pretty much red-lining at this point, which is bad. I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been taking bites out of the blog. We used to get 4 full posts a week, and now we’re down to two. (And yes, this one is one of those two.) I don’t have time for tabletop gaming.
Thanks for reading.
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