Idea Sharing & Premature Ejaculation
(I will now get a lot of new, interesting search term results for this headline.)
Yesterday, someone on Twitter asked me to post more about Mythender. Right now, I don’t have plans to — not in the “I’ll post every X amount of time’ schedule. I’ll post occasionally, and I’m continuing to work, but here’s the thing: the more I talk to you about an incomplete project, the more likely it will stay incomplete.
Some of you are all “my gods, that’s just insane! tell me more!” or whatever, because you would think that discussion generates interest, and interest generates accountability. But that’s not really true. There are two sides to this equation here:
- The person who is leading the discussion with his or her ideas
- The people listening in
The people listening in are being infovores — which is not a derogatory term, since we’re all infovores. And there’s a feedback loop when we share our ideas to people who like them. I mean, a biochemical feedback loop. Happy chemicals.
But that feedback loop diminishes. The first time we tell a story about something that happened, or share some idea we thought up, we get a huge bit of feedback when sharing. The tenth time? Not so much. Twentieth? Even less. To where we get to the “oh, you want to hear that again?” state.
So I see it as a choice: I can either share an unfinished idea now, or bottle up that urge to share & get the happy reward cycle. When I hold off, I keep working. When I share prematurely — and since I often use sex as metaphor, you now understand the title — then I’ve given away that drive. Now, if this game were somehow paying my bills, it would be different. But it’s something I’m doing on the side that won’t pay anytime soon, if it pays at all. Thus, I need the non-monetary rewards to help me carve out time for it. (From the amount of time I have that isn’t spent trying to pay my rent, dealing with life stuff, or being blissfully unconscious.)
And since I want to actually finally fucking finish Mythender, I have to make my decisions about sharing those ideas with that in mind.
Yeah, sometimes I still need to talk about an idea. I might be overthinking something and need to talk with a friend to help me undo that. I need feedback in different parts of the process. And sometimes I really do just need a pick-me-up because the project has me down, so I share an idea about it with a friend. But that’s something I need to keep in check. You’ll note that a couple times I wrote “a friend” — if I limit who I’m sharing with in those times, I’m hopefully reducing the diminishing returns factor.
This doesn’t just go for game design. It goes, and perhaps more so, for the different forms of story writing, or application development, any case where ideas are your clay.
Do what you can to keep that drive in you. Don’t share too often, or be premature in public sharing. If you can hold back enough, you and your audience will have a satisfying finish.
(Dear sweet merciful Odin, do I love using sex analogies.)
 Alliteration is hot.