A Video Game About Farming is Changing my Methods / The Art of Arting

One of the challenges of creating content on the internet is that excitement can peter out pretty quickly, either from the creator or from the audience. Expectations, time, interruptions, and so on can all derail a project or series that was conceived and initiated with the best of intentions. Personally, one of the most difficult obstacles is in my dedication to long and in-depth projects. I can easily get too ambitious and take too many things on, leading to distractions and broken promises, or at least a lack of a satisfying finish. My days can fill up with a mix of different pursuits, as well as the time I grant myself to decompress from them (which results in a lot of wasted time on the internet), all amounting to a lot of incomplete work.

I recently have been having an experience that is making me reassess my methods a little bit. This might sound weird, but it’s all because of a video game called “Stardew Valley”. The game is about managing daily tasks in order to generate rewards and build up a farm. At the beginning of the game, the player character inherits a plot of land that is overgrown, with zero crops, zero money, zero energy, and a whole lot of potential. Before too long, the days fill up and the skills improve, the land gets cleared and crops get planted, the harvests are reaped and the money is earned, leading to more improvements and a cycle of reward. What starts out as a very overwhelming prospect of renewal turns into a daily ritual of care, generosity, gain, and creativity.

Now there are lots of rabbit holes I could go down when comparing a video game to real life. There are things that don’t cross over perfectly. However, for my purposes, the lesson I would like to implement in my own endeavors is one of routine. I have always struggled with building a routine for myself, either because I try to do too much or I fear that I’m losing certain freedoms. I’m finding it a more attractive premise for the mere fact that with a reasonable routine, tailor-made for me and my preferences, shortcomings, quirks, and desires, freedom will come along with satisfaction. Freedom very rarely leads to satisfaction when there is no work or effort involved. I’ve had my fair share of days that I looked forward to for weeks, where I was going to have the whole day to myself, doing whatever I wanted, saying “yes” to all of the leisure and “no” to all of the constructive routine, all culminating in a day that felt wasted and disappointing. There’s very little more defeating than a day that was meant to be restful and delightful turning into a day of waste that goes by too quickly and agonizingly.

So, I’m building in small daily goals. Slam dunks. Things I can point to and say, “That was satisfying.” That was fun. That will build upon the one I did yesterday. The one I do tomorrow will build upon this one. And so on.

And here’s the first of my goals:

My goal is to post a thought everyday. I will post it here and on my website. If I can do this everyday for a month, I have another aspect that I would like to build into it.

Thank you all for sticking with me as I continue to discover what I have to offer. Honestly, I’m less interested in “creating content” and more interested in doing things that amount to something helpful. The whole “content” thing is getting tiresome. I encourage you to keep finding the things that bring meaning and joy to your life and the lives of those around you.

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