It feels a little weird to use my blog in this way, but it is my blog, and this is something important to me, something that affects me on a fundamental level, something I want.
I am for hire. I don’t just mean that I’m for hire on a freelance basis (though I am); what I mean is that I’m looking for a full-time job.
I don’t want just any full-time job though. My current job is pretty good, and I like the people I work with, so a lateral move isn’t something I’m interested in. What I want is my dream job, a job I’ll love.
I am, at heart, a writer and game designer. The work that satisfies me more than anything else is designing games and writing about made-up stuff. Turns out, this is also the thing I’m best at. That makes me happy, but I’m also cognizant that work for such people is rare like some magical flower growing on a forbidden mountaintop.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t try.
So here’s why I’m writing this: this is a job application. If you are someone who is in the position to hire a creative individual for a writing or game design position, we should talk. I live near Philadelphia, but I’m willing to move for my dream job. Email me at engard (at) gmail (dot) com.
If you’re reading this but not in a position to hire me, share this post. This blog doesn’t get huge circulation under normal circumstances, but I know that I have followers on Twitter who have a much greater reach than I do. If you’re one of those people, please share this post. Heck, if you’re not, please share this post. You never know.
For those of you who think you might want to work with me, here’s the stuff you should know about me:
We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.
This is a thing I’ve been thinking about lately. It’s an evolution of the comfort zone mechanic that I came up with a little while ago, but altered to work with a cyberpunk corporate espionage game I’m working on called Wetwork.
The idea is that your character sheet is a Venn diagram. You write things inside each of the sections of the Venn diagram, and those things inform what you’re good at doing. There’s a lot of overlap and bleed between the different sections, which is what you’d expect from a Venn diagram.
Things inside the Venn diagram are your comfort zone; these are the things you’re good at, the things that make you a badass corporate operative. Stuff gets written outside of your comfort zone too, and these are the things that you can do, but you fail at least as often as you succeed.
You grow more when you call upon things outside your comfort zone, but you’re more likely to succeed when you stick to things inside your comfort zone. Throughout play, things move from section to section, and each section has its own implications. Trust, for example, is potentially very powerful when called upon, but it’s also dangerous to trust people because they can betray you to greater effect.
I don’t often spend much time reading my spam comments; I just skim them and flag them. Every once in a while one catches my eye, and one did recently. I don’t have the text to post (I’ve lost it), but most of the text isn’t relevant. What is relevant is the last sentence of the comment: “Handle it up!”
I noticed it because I thought it was funny and awkward and goofy, but the more I think about it the more I think it represents a way of thinking. I’m cognizant that that wasn’t the commenter’s intent, but I’m injecting my own meaning into the phrase because I like it, and because I like what I’ve decided it represents, to me at least.
Handle it up! It’s a phrase that sounds upbeat and positive, instilling the idea that not just that you should do something, but that you can. It’s a way to snap yourself out of a funk, to tackle what seems like an insurmountable obstacle, to tear down those roadblocks you keep putting in front of yourself. Boss not listening to you at work? Handle it up! Got a deadline looming? Handle it up! It’s gumption, a can-do attitude.
It’s also goofy, and that’s part of why I like it. It sounds like something from an Internet meme; it’s a way to encourage while also being a little silly, a little tongue in cheek.
I got the opportunity to use this phrase on myself recently. I’ve been waiting to hear about a big freelance job, one that would have meant clearing out a big chunk of my debt and consequently getting me closer to doing this freelance thing full-time. It fell through, and I was crushed. I moped around for a while; I even caught myself thinking, “Well of course it fell through; things like that don’t happen to me.”
Fuck that, that kind of thinking is toxic and draining and creates a feedback loop of self-pity that does zero good to anyone. Handle it up, self.
Are you ready? Sure you are! Go out there and tackle those obstacles, scale those mountains, meet those deadlines, slay those dragons.
Handle it up, people.
Something I’ve been noodling with today.
The things inside the circle represent your comfort zone; the things outside of the circle are things that are outside of your comfort zone. In this case we’ve got a lawyer who’s been forced to do some less-than-legal things lately; maybe she’s on the run from the law after being falsely accused of something.
The idea is that, when you perform actions with the things inside your comfort zone, you’re likelihood of success is very high. Maybe you even auto-succeed; I’m not sure yet. However, the only way your character grows and gains new skills is by trying things outside her comfort zone, things she’ll more than likely fail at when she attempts them. You get a high chance of success or you get growth; you never get both.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m prone to depression and anxiety. One of the ways this manifests is in waiting for the bottom to drop out. I have this constant nagging fear that good things are going to end in a bad way, and it takes me a while to overcome that fear for any given good thing.
I’m a game designer. I’ve been designing games for ten or so years, and I’ve found a lot of success in the last two years. I’ve gotten a decent amount of attention for this success, and that attention has resulted in more work being thrown my way, and in the confidence to pursue more of my ideas.
Great, right? Yeah, it is. The thing is, I’m still waiting for the bottom to drop out. Every time I say something stupid on Twitter, every time it looks like I might miss a deadline – hell, every time I hand in work — I think, “This is it. This is the thing that ends this roller-coaster ride of awesome. It was nice while it lasted.”
The fact that I keep being wrong about that, and the fact that all evidence points to this particular good thing not ending, is irrelevant. Somewhere in my brain chemistry some little neuro-imp is telling me, “You’re faking it. You’re going to be found out, and when you are this’ll all be over.”
I’m not posting this because I want sympathy; this is my demon to deal with and I’ll keep doing so to the best of my ability. I’m posting this because, if you’re anything like me, there’s a good chance you have this problem too. There’s a good chance that it’s getting in the way of your success; it may even be preventing you from trying in the first place.
Don’t let it. I know, that’s easier said than done. Believe me, I know. But you can do it. Ignoring the imp is a lot like walking up a steep hill: it looks hard and your body just doesn’t want to do it, but once you get started, once you start putting one foot in front of another, it starts to get a little easier. You gain momentum, you think that maybe it’s not as big a hill as you thought it was. Pretty soon you look behind you and find that it’s easier just to get to the top of the hill than to go back the way you came. You can do it.
Will the imp ever go away? No, probably not. You’ll still second guess yourself, you’ll still worry that good things are about to crash down around your ears. You’re probably stuck with that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ignore those thoughts and succeed anyway. Part of it is surrounding yourself, as I have, with awesome supportive people who don’t see you through the filter of potential failures that you see yourself through. Don’t surround yourself with cheerleaders and yes-men, but people who will tell you when you’re being silly and worrying too much, people who form the basis for a support system, are invaluable.
The other part is recognizing that they’re just thoughts, they don’t represent truth. Repeat that to yourself like a mantra. It’ll seem silly at first, but it does help. Those thoughts will never go away, but at least you can learn to recognize them for what they are.
I got some art from my artist, Christopher H. Barley, last night. Thought I’d share some of it with you fine folks. This is the chapter header for the first chapter in the book.
So I have this idea for something I might want to make at some point. I’m going to assume for the sake of this post that you’re familiar with Wild Blue, my Fate Core setting. The idea I have in mind is a game I’m currently calling Into the Blue; it’s a game about what happens when the Powers first manifest.
So you have a few very powerful individuals, individuals who can shape the course of history, and a budding empire that doesn’t quite know what to do with them.
The mechanic that made me think of this is a tweak on a damage system: namely that the environment is what takes “damage”, not the characters. Damage is probably the wrong word, because it’s not limited to negative or violent effects. The Powers are potent individuals, individuals with the capacity to affect great change. The game represents this by allowing the Powers (and their enemies) to alter their environment, placing tags on the city, the army they’re fighting, the situation, the world; whatever makes sense. It’s not a fully fleshed-out idea yet, but it’s one that I think has potential.
The Becoming Kickstarter is fast approaching, and I thought I’d share the preliminary reward tiers with you. These aren’t final; the wording will change, the prices may chance, they’ll get names, and so forth. This should give you an idea of what to expect though. Also note that I haven’t figured out what exactly I mean by “tokens” yet, and I haven’t contacted Dragon Chow about the dice bag yet (surprise Lyndsay, you may have work coming your way!). Feedback is welcome!
$1: Pre-layout, pre-art PDF. Everyone gets this.
$10: Final PDF when it’s done. Everyone above this tier gets this.
$25: Physical book. Depending on the book’s actual price, this may change.
$35: Signed book. Same type deal.
$50: Retailer tier, 4 copies of the book. May have to fiddle with the price depending on our cost.
$50: Signed book, plus some tokens.
$100: SIgned book, tokens, Dragon Chow bag.
$300: Art commission of 3 black & white character/monster designs of your choice, drawn & inked, on 11×17 comic paper, plus the signed book. Limit 10.
$500: A commissioned color design of a character/monster of your choice, drawn & inked on 11×17 comic paper, plus the signed book. Limit 10.
$1000: A black & white illustration of whatever you want, inked, on 11×17 comic paper, plus the signed book, plus I’ll run a game for you on G+ or at GenCon (your choice). Limit 5
$2000: A painted scene or portrait, in acrylics, on 16×20 canvas, plus the signed book, plus I’ll design a custom Quest for you, which you’ll get in PDF (with art). Limit 2.