To Create? [Musings]

I’ve been plagued for roughly my entire youth and adult life with the desire to create. I found out quick I’m definitely not good at drawing or any like form, I’m decent at playing guitar and singing but I’ve never had the poetic streak to write halfway decent lyrics, I don’t really have an eye for photography, I haven’t tried my hand at motion film but I just don’t get the vibe, I can sorta write but not in a compelling way that will get you to read past page 10, and … hmm I think I ran out of art forms. Well what I’m mostly good at is taking a problem given an innumerable amount of variables, and perceiving the solution, then executing it. So what is that? It feels like creating, it’s not an art form I guess, but sometimes it feels that way. But what really is it, and how can I channel this creative bug I have through it?

From an early age I knew that what I was good at was something like what I now refer to as Sherlock-Holmes-Skills. And also early on I realized that the most logical career path for those skills was either software, mechanical, or electrical design. I mean, they have the word “design” in it, that should assuage my creative urge, right? But when you look up “List of artistic mediums” in wikipedia none of those things really fit. So I dabbled over the years in all those things I listed before. I was met with, not what I would call success, but barely something you would “put up on the fridge”. Early in my adult life I kind of “fell” into the website development industry. I didn’t wake up one day and say “I’m going to build websites!”, it just happened over the course of a couple years. I never finished school, mostly as a casualty of my successful career, so I effectively never gave myself the chance to really find that perfect niche for me.

I think though most people don’t find that niche. And if it seems like I loathe my job, I certainly don’t. I get to go into work every day and effectively put puzzles together. It’s quite enjoyable. But more often than not at the end of the day, as accomplished as I might feel, I often don’t feel like I’ve created something.

So, that’s a lot of words to say: I haven’t found that medium for myself yet. As crazy as websites get, I don’t think they’ll ever fulfill that creative need completely. A lot of me is saying it’s video games, to be a cog in the creative process of making games. If you asked me 6 years ago, I would have said “yes oh yes”. Ask me today, and I’m not so sure. I’ve got friends in the industry, and it seems like they worked so hard to get into that one company, or that one job, and now it’s all about making more money or working at a more plush company. Not many of them still have that passion. They complain about all the things I complain about in that it seems like my job is the same as their job.

Don’t get me wrong I really want to be part of that game-creation-machine. If I wasn’t so happily married to my current company, I would be taking pay cuts, going back to school, and even possibly moving my family, to land that first job at a game developer. But what I don’t know anymore is if video game development would really 100% satisfy that itch I have to create. I don’t know if it would be all that I think it would be. But maybe it is.

5 thoughts on “To Create? [Musings]

  1. I totally understand where you are coming from. I need to find my creative niche. I felt so fulfilled in creating as a teacher, and now as a mom, I still have opportunities to be creative, but I don’t feel satisfied. Now I want to try my hand at more creative domestic ventures such as sewing, cooking, baking, and home decor crafting. I am also interested in developing educational toddler activities for Abby. I still really think I would love to learn to play the guitar. My musical side is dying right now. I miss that part of my life and singing Wiggles songs and nursery rhymes is not cutting it. 🙂 Hmm. Thanks for the blog post. It’s got me thinking about starting some projects.

  2. Well I really hope you’re successful with that. I have trouble getting deep into anything serious in my free time that isn’t directly benefiting me monetarily. I have countless barely started an unfinished projects. Kind of sad.

  3. There’s always just creating a game in your off-hours. Look at the studio that made the game Frozen Synapse, it’s a full 3 people. I recently listened to a podcast with one of them on it and it sounded like they _really_ are enjoying their work. If you were to go the video game route/or try it, go for it. The success of Frozen Synapse for just being in beta is so overwhelming they keep having to upgrade their servers. It doesn’t mean all “indie” game studios are going to be successful like these guys but that shouldn’t stop you from trying it. Jumping into a giant game studio in my opinion not a great direction. Got to start small and grow.

  4. Couple thoughts come to mind…

    1) Who says you have to be “good” at what you create? The act of creation is just as valid as the result. Is it about the expression or the validation of that expression?

    2) I can sing, but can’t play guitar. I can write lyrics, but not music. So, I found myself a partner you played really well and who I discovered I wrote songs with really well.

    Why not collaborate? Again, it’s the doing, not the doing well. And doing it with people you like. Gee, that sounds familiar. 😉

  5. The same thing happened to me. Was going to school, but had to leave after getting my design job. I really like it and I always feel fulfilled at the end of my work day, but I wonder if there’s anything I would enjoy more. It almost feels like a risk to go back for fear of not having the connections I do now.

    I agree with Peter. Maybe trying some free time game design would be good for you to do.

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