No Replacement For Doing

As I take a momentary break from working on Mythender, after hitting a couple of epiphanies about presentation & content, I am reminded of something that, frankly, I could use more reminding of: there is no replacement for just doing the work.[1]

Thinking about the work will help you answer questions you know, so it’s good to chill and think outside of the actual moment of working. But in doing the work, writing or designing or whatever, something interesting happens: you discover questions you didn’t expect, and — more importantly — you discover answers you didn’t expect.

I’m changing Mythender’s character creation up a bit, to make it faster for convention play. If you’ve seen the character creation from before, you’ll see that there are different questions for your Heart and for your History (now called Past). They were open-ended questions. Some people dug them. Some people stalled. So I decided to just have three stock answers to chose from for each.[2]

Which, by the way, is a fuckton of content to make up.

The other thing you had to make up before, which I’m now putting on as choices, are what your Weapons are. I wasn’t sure how to do that; a couple months of mild thinking about this didn’t answer the question, and since I’m running this in a couple days, I had to just sit down and do it wrong just to have it done.

In doing that, the solution presented itself: the Weapons you choose come from the choices you pick for those questions. Now, that seems obvious, but it wasn’t obvious when I wasn’t sitting down and actually doing the work.

(Why I wasn’t doing the work? Making up 108 answers felt daunting, even though I know the way I should have done it is to do a little at a time. Sometimes, I’m a damned moron. :)

I’ve felt that way project after project, and if I need reminding of it, I’m sure others do to. So, if you’re stuck, and taking a moment hasn’t unstuck you, sit down and just be willing to do it wrong. You’ll discover unexpected answers in that path.

– Ryan

[1] I stumbled upon this old post recently, which I never followed up on with Part II. Or my blog is an ongoing Part II. I’ll go with the latter.

[2] For those who liked filling in the blank, that still exists. It’s now called “Advanced Character Creation,” and the text for that is pretty much “The questions are there. Pick your own answers & Weapons.”


3 Responses to No Replacement For Doing

  1. Kit says:

    This is something I learned in math classes in grade school. I could follow along with any explanation, and be quite convinced that I understood it and it made sense. But when I sat down to do it, I would find the lacunae in my understanding, all the things that I had glossed over without realizing I had glossed over.

    Then I realized that applied in all kinds of things, but in math I couldn’t bullshit my way past it.

    So, what I’m saying is yes. When you actually write down each part of the model in your head, you find the bits that you hadn’t realized you’d missed.

  2. manda(rific) says:

    Man, I was just feeling like this / talking to someone about it earlier today. All the work I have lined up feels so overwhelming until I actually sit down to do it. Once I’m working, it’s like…hey. This isn’t that hard. Just doing the work actually…works.

    Glad to know I’m headed in the right direction – and I REALLY can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on for Mythender.

  3. Rasmus says:

    I needed to hear this today. So, thanks!