It’s a new year! How time flies.
I want to give a little update on what I’ve been working on since the last blog, talk about how the game is doing, and briefly, very briefly (because I did long YouTube videos on a lot of this), talk about my goals for 2022.
October - December of 2021
Last September my partner, Tyler, had a death in his family which shook up our lives in a number of ways. One of the bigger ways is that he ended up inheriting a house that was basically dilapidated.
It needed an obscene amount of hands-on repairs and even though my partner did a lot of the repairs himself, it was very expensive. The house also had a significant amount of unpaid property taxes, which was... absolutely horrific.
Tyler was gone for 2 full months, I was alone at the house working and taking care of our many pets by myself, and it obliterated our finances.
So, that was the bad.
But there was a lot of good, too!
I participated in National Novel Writing Month in November, and I did meet my goal of writing 50,000 words on a novel. It was based on an old story—the story that I worked on for NaNoWriMo in 2019—but I started it completely over and I rewrote a lot of the plot points.
Really, only the setting and characters were the same. I don’t hate it. I don’t hate it, but I definitely see the gap between a story that I’ve written and a story that I would call... good. I had a lot of fun, regardless, and I'm glad that I did it.
In November, I also painted almost all the walls in my house, so I no longer have to face down the brown, yellow, orange, or darker yellow walls. Everything is now either a blue, or grey, or a pale purple and it is so freeing.
It’s like a weight has been lifted right off of my soul. I love the new walls, and it was worth the days of grueling effort that it took to get everything painted.
In December I participated in Vlogmas, kind of. I published a video on YouTube every single day, though not all of them were vlogs. The goal I had going into this was that I wanted to figure out what I could bring to videos that was uniquely “me”. I wanted to get some more data to determine which of my videos people really liked, and I wanted to experiment a lot more.
Ultimately I ended up losing a significant number of subscribers, but I think I did learn a few things about my own strengths (and weaknesses).
Game Dev: Project Caribou
Though I did have a bit of a game development slump through November and December (primarily because I was so busy doing other things), I did manage to finish a game that was technically playable ON DECEMBER 31ST.
If you remember my goals for 2021, that was the big one. Technically playable was the key phrase here.
I can put down units on a board, cycle through planning phases and action phases, and the game has an end. From there, I can start a new game! See? Technically playable.
That being said, there’s still a lot left to do. I’ll get into that when I talk about my 2022 goals.
In the end, 2021 was a wild year for me. In many ways, it was even more wild than 2020. We got hit with a lot more personal obstacles than ever before, and my poor financial goals were destroyed.
It will take a very long time to recover from all the expenses we incurred in October and onward. It’s also encouraged me to look into some more “side hustle” kind of projects to try and bring in more income. I don’t have anything concrete planned out yet, but there’s a wide internet of possibilities out there.
I am feeling optimistic.
I’m both thrilled and terrified that my game has come so far. I’m excited because it’s getting close to done, but I’m also afraid because it’s getting close to done. I’ll need to figure out what the publishing process looks like, and make a plan for release and all the support that it will need after release.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
2021 was pretty good. Now it’s time for 2022.
A Change of Pace
The big change I’m making in 2022 is that I’m planning my goals on a quarterly time frame rather than a yearly one. A year is just such a long time. Things change, as we saw very clearly demonstrated in both 2020 and 2021.
Planning on a shorter timeframe also creates a sense of focus and urgency.
My process is loosely based around the process described in the 12 Week Year, a book by Brian Moran. I will plan out 12 weeks of work, track my progress each week, and then I’ll take the 13th week of each quarter as a rest week to plan for the next 12 weeks. Rinse and repeat.
As I write this, it’s been almost 4 weeks of this process and I’m still feeling really good about it. I have done a few videos on YouTube around the set up process for this first quarter, and I’ll also do a wrap-up at the end, so be sure to Subscribe there if you want to be notified when that goes live.
Another change in my planning is not really a change. This is something I’ve tried to do before, but I have a renewed commitment to this way of thinking:
I want to focus on my actions, the effort I put into my work, rather than the results that I get out of it. The businessy, technically term for these are “Lead Indicators” and “Lag Indicators”.
I wrote about this over on Medium, but the gist is that Lead Indicators are metrics that measure the input of a given system (emails sent out, videos posted, etc.). Lag Indicators are metrics that measure the output of a system (successful sales, video views, etc.).
By focusing on Lead Indicators as a measure of how “good” I’m doing, I am directly rewarding myself for progress that I have made.
If I were to focus on Lag Indicators like social media metrics or any external “success”, I would be letting the random, chaotic forces of the universe interfere with my sense of progress and value.
To put this into action, I have made sure that all of my weekly “scores” are based on things that I have the power to do (or not do). There’s no chance that an internet algorithm will cause me to do poorly, or that a dip in viewer interest will lower my scores.
The lagging metrics are still valuable, but they are analyzed later, and most importantly, they will be analyzed separately from my goal review process.
My Goal Initiatives
Instead of setting yearly goals, I have defined a few “initiatives” that I want to improve on this year.
Since software engineering is the one thing that I am an actual, bonafide expert in, and it makes me feel fulfilled and excited and curious, this is my top priority for the year. Goals in this initiative are designed to support my learning about software, completing software projects, and using my unique skills to create things that other people can use and enjoy.
For Quarter 1, these goals are all centered around finishing my game and releasing it.
I really like how dramatic this one sounds. This initiative is all about supporting my health, and caring for the one body I have on this mortal coil.
My Quarter One goals here are to cut down my sugar intake dramatically and build muscle with regular strength training.
This initiative is a combination of increasing wealth and also simplifying my life. I have always thought these goals went hand-in-hand. Practicing minimalism reduces the strain on my mind and on my budget.
I need less space if I have fewer things, and it costs less money to maintain those things. The Simple Wealth initiative is all about balancing what I have with what I want.
Quarter One goals for this might seem kind of off-topic: I want to reduce my yarn stash by completing knitting projects, and recently I added a goal to publish another Skillshare course to try and strengthen that income stream.
This is just what it sounds like: I want to build a community through media and content creation. Writing this very blog is part of this initiative!
The objective here is to use media (and the internet) to build community with other people, viewers, fellow creatives. It’s fairly open-ended but some of the goals I have for Quarter One are to add to my Twitch emotes so my subscribers can have more options to express themselves with, and to work on some thoughtful, well-crafted videos and blog posts.
The final initiative isn’t really an initiative—I just needed a place for things that didn’t quite fit anywhere else. Realistically I should probably just not commit to goals that don’t fit into my main Initiatives, but you know me. I am terrible at specializing. I want to do everything.
That’s the Update
We’re all caught up now! Where do we go from here?
I’m still deciding if I want to properly reactivate my email list. I briefly opened an email list with the intention to send out updates there, but I was never consistent with it, so I took off all the sign-up boxes and put it on the back burner.
I think I’ll give this blog a few weeks, at least, to see if I can keep it updated, keep it fresh. Then, we’ll think about the email list.
For now, farewell. I hope you are doing well and I’ll see you next time.