Saturday, 29 December 2012

2013: The Year of Reality

I am the Warden!!

That's right, kids. It's time for yet another blog to recognize the end of 2012 and talk about everything he wants to accomplish in 2013, AKA New Year's resolutions. My mind is flooded with them at the moment and, as I always do in times of uncertainty, I turn to my blog for guidance like a purse snatching victim turns to Batman as the scumbag runs away with her bag.

As much as I could spend time going over the good and bad of 2012 (with much of it awesome, despite the numerous difficulties still going on in my personal life), my focus remains on the coming year. There's great doom ahead; I can feel it. Based on how certain events have closed out this year, I can tell the early months of 2013 will be incredibly challenging and what kicks me in the balls hardest is that I can't talk about them in any detail online or in any public forum. Hell, even being vague is probably not a smart move, but a writer expresses himself through his craft because he knows no other way. The ongoing lawsuit for my accident makes it incredibly difficult and unwise to freely share my views and comments on such matters because it's incredibly easy for such posts to be taken out of context. Don't believe me? There's a giant stack of papers bound in volumes as thick as Senate committee reports for my online posts alone, including my Kickstarter project for Killshot, my Twitter account, Facebook, and everything else. So while I would love nothing more than to include these details as part of my own healing process, it's not a smart thing to do right now. As always, you'll just have to trust me on a few matters and allow the topic to move on without explanation.

That being said, there are still many concerns in my personal life I want to address and tackle in the coming year, as well as my professional life. While I have bounced back and forth on my goal to become a full-time game designer/publisher, it has become a determined goal strengthened with every passing month in 2012. The intensity of my determination has varied from time to time and grown as my work continues to grow, particularly with the release of Killshot this past year. The only question is how I'm going to reach it. No matter the path, I have set a limit: if I haven't made any significant achievements by the end of 2017, I will seriously reconsider my efforts. But that's incredibly vague and open to interpretation, so let's get down to specifics, shall we?

Online Courses

Last year, one of the matters addressed by the accident was the need for a new career and while my heart is set on game design, it's not entirely feasible to simply walk right in and make a living from it. I need something a bit more open and possible that can work hand-in-hand with game design and game publishing, which is why I'm looking to take online courses for graphic design. It's a career I'm vaguely familiar with on account of my previous career and training (graphic technician/press operator) and will allow me to work with my disabilities (see Coping With Disabilities below) rather than struggle with them.

I've had my eye on one in particular that offers a diploma upon completion instead of just certification. It will allow me opportunity to continue adapting to a work-from-home environment and provide my CV with some much needed credentials for either freelance or full-time employment, all while leaving the door open and available to continue working on my true passion.

Pushing the Optional Envelope 

Those of you who've been here before know I have big plans for two major projects in 2013. Killshot: Reloaded and Optional Core, to be precise. My office is scattered with notes tacked to the bulletin board, saved in files, and scattered throughout my addled brain waiting for the chance to make it down on paper. I have a plan of attack in mind, though the specifics will fluctuate based on whether or not these other goals come to life or fizzle.

Add to that my work on Killshot Files (the first full issue will release in a couple of weeks) and I'm knee deep in Optional System, baby.

Pushing the Freelance Envelope

A successful career means getting your name out there to create a demand for your work. Hence the freelance projects. At the moment, I've picked up some paid work with Adventure Games Guild (the Adventurer RPG) and Mystical Throne Entertainment (an upcoming Savage Worlds race article) along with some free material (particularly Under the Hood) and will continue to do so.

Coping With Disabilities

A year ago, I would have said I've come to terms with my limitations and found a way to deal with them. Now, I'm not so certain. As I'm personally no better off than I was a year ago and the cognitive issues have taken top spot in the "What's Wrong With Me Today" list, I find myself continuing to struggle with the one thing that can topple all these other goals singlehandedly.

For the past year, I've been pushing myself to overcome these obstacles. Physically, I feel it's worked out quite well. Mentally, I think I'm doing more harm than good. By pushing myself cognitively, I think I've made things worse emotionally. I've posted my work schedule, set crazy deadlines for myself, and tried to make myself an asskicker on par with professionals who have been doing so for years. Looking back at what I've accomplished in 2012, I should feel inspired and rewarded, but all I think about is how little it is compared to what I could have done before the accident. It's that comparison that threatens to break me and I need to learn that old me is dead. I'm a different person now with new limitations and obstacles to overcome on a daily basis, but that does not mean I'm less of a person than I was before. If anything, I should feel pride at my accomplishments because of my new limitations, not shame.

You want to know the ironic part of this goal? The most difficult part is the lawsuit itself. Every action, decision, and desire I have is scrutinized and analyzed by strangers behind a curtain. There's nothing I can do without having to explain why I did it to a complete stranger, followed by the same stranger making recommendations on what I should do instead. Everyone's got an opinion and the only one that doesn't seem to matter is mine. It's holding me back. I'm trying to move on with my life, yet someone's always pulling me back and asking me to relive the experience all over again. "No, that's OK, I'm moving on with my life now," I try and explain, but these strangers insist I recall the events over and over and over again.

What I need to accept and understand is that my limitations are here to stay. I won't know what the day will be like until I wake up and discover what pain I'm in or how foggy my brain is. There's no going around it. Pushing myself to overcome these limitations when they're front and centre will only make things worse and I need to accept that and choose to work with it rather than fight it. From there, I can truly find a means to work within this limitations to produce the kind of work I want to create with pride and dignity.

Which brings us to my final goal of 2013...

Taking Control of My Life

I haven't had it in nearly two-and-a-half years. As I mentioned above, everything I do has been dictated and noted by others who have to look at a file to know my name. As a man who has pushed himself and made great pains to avoid relying on others to get by, it's been incredibly difficult. I need to take my life back and put it solely in my hands. 'Nuff said.

This goal has the bizarre distinction of being in tune with every other goal. As I work towards these other objectives, I begin taking back some of that control. At the same time, I'll never truly have it back until it's simply given to me, regardless of what I do otherwise. When I stop and think about it, this is what has affected me the most throughout this entire process: I'm only along for the ride and no one cares to ask if I want to get off or stay on.

For example, taking an online graphic design course of what I want and I'm eager to handle the challenge, but the decision to actually take the course is not up to me. It's up to whoever can provide the cash to allow it and everyone seems to have their own conditions and qualifiers, not the least of which is why should I take that course above all others? It's the penultimate definition of this most difficult of goals.

When it comes down it to all, this goal is no different than anyone else's in life. We're all fighting for control of our destinies and take different routes to reach our own destinations. All I'm asking for is the chance to grab hold of the wheel and drive this bus once more.

Happy New Year!!

Hmm, seems once again I've drafted up a rather grim and depressing post, doesn't it? Perhaps, but these posts allow me to hone my thoughts into a concrete list and pinpoint where I need to go from here. That's why this blog is here: to facilitate the chaos in my head and sort it out in the hopes of making those important choices. It's merely a bonus if others read and a reward if it helps others bring their own troubles into perspective. (When all this crap is done and over with, the missus wants me to write a book on my experiences so I can finally talk about all these matters in the hope of cleansing my spirit and offering support and guidance to others going through the same bullshit.)

So let's end this post on a happy note, shall we? I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope everyone grabs their life by the balls and gives it a twist.