Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 18: Looking for Ursula

'Round and 'Round We Go

I've just sent in my design submission for the Round 3 Design Test. I know for sure that I'm not satisfied with what I turned in. At least three cards I can think just made me groan. And that's a bad sign when you, as the designer, do that, let alone the audience (in this case, the judges). If there were ten cards to submit, and I gotta make top 8 of 101 people, that means I'd only have room for one bad card. Maybe. I'm accounting for that extra odd 2% as the Part I of the World. But, hey, the heavier the weight is for Part I, the better of I'll be.

The reason why I turned in work that I'm not satisfied with is because I ran out of time at the end. While I was spending almost all of my free time working on this task, I should have made sure to not let myself spend too much time on one thing or to veer off in territory that didn't matter. If I had just stopped and evaluated where I was on, say, Saturday night, and planned deadlines accordingly, I would've been better off. But, nay, I have this nice spreadsheet I'm...

Sleep break. (Hours later.)


Hey-o, I'm back. Still kinda tired, but a toddler was "calling" from their recent rousing from sleep. Not my toddler, but still, nonetheless, I needed to aid the situation. Some Kix and juice later, and now she's trying to fin a VHS tape and the father's up with the second child. Good to go. At least, enough to get back to this post.

I wonder whether it'd be better to write a short post rather than a long one. I was thinking, "The better I am at writing, the more you'd want to read my stuff." So, if it's short and sweet, you could have a greater tolerance for lesser skill in writing to "enjoy." ...On the other hand, I could just write however many words I like (to the point where a normal-sized article would stop) and let the reader stop reading if they so choose to stop reading. The downside would be that those who stop early would miss the latter parts of what I would say.

O.K., I could just have a strategy, then. I could write about the most important parts first then--

Hold the phone! This is exactly the technique used in newspapers. Er, I believe so. I dunno, I never was a communications major, *cough* Mark Rosewater */cough*

Searching for Voice Fischer

Speaking of Mark Rosewater, I was reading this two-part article interview that Ted Knutson (Am I linking unnecessarily?) gave MaRo, and it made me want to write. I never did fancy myself a writer. I would even tell people specifically that "I'm no writer." However, I want to write because, well, if I write enough, I'll get better. That's provided I find my "voice", among other things.

MaRo mentioned finding your voice. Once you're able to do that, writing becomes easier. But, getting to that voice part is a difficult process. Another thing he mentioned was -- Wait, did I mention that this was for becoming a regular Magic writer? As in, exactly what I'm doing now. Except, others may get paid and write for more prestigious websites (and not just blog). -- Anyway, as I was saying... He mentioned "putting yourself into your writing". I may or may not be paraphrasing. So, that's what I'm doing now. Maybe I'm not doing it enough. This next paragraph will be an attempt at "more" of me.

Look at Me, I'm...

Over the past month and then some, ever since Mark Rosewater's announcement of The Great Designer Search 2 at the end of August, I've been focusing a lot of time and energy on preparing for this competition and actually competing in it. This was my chance to get the internship which would most likely lead to a permanent position of my dream job. I'd be set. So, what the heck am I talking about? I'm not sure. I was about to mention something I imagine is true for so many others. They've also invested their time, energy, and emotion into it.

I guess I could say that, at least, from my end, there was doubt of my abilities as a designer. In the beginning, before the actual article detailing how the contest was going to go down, I was getting more and more of the feeling that I didn't have a chance. The first Great Designer Search had competitors who were software engineers and other such impressive titles. Sure, I had a degree in game programming, but that may have made it worse since I don't actually hold a job related to my degree right now. If I make it as a finalist for GDS2, my title will read "Target employee" or something like that. Which, by now, is fine with me. It'd actually might make people root for me, as I would probably be, seemingly, "the underdog" alongside the other listings of occupation. But, this is a round-about way of saying that it didn't help my doubting to see that I've been floating around jobless up until I just got a job at Target a month ago.

Right. So, while I was preparing for GDS2, I was completing challenges from GDS1. And while I was trying to do these challenges, it felt like it was more difficult for me than it should have been for an aspiring designer. I just stared blankly at the computer screen as I was firing blanks on designing. Perhaps I had some mental locks in my head (speaking of which, of A Whack on the Side of the Head is, as Mark Rosewater put it (at least, I think), the best book on creative thinking. It's O.K. I checked it out. Well, literally. I borrowed it from my library, and it's right next to me as I type this. It's a good one. Anyway, this book talks about mental locks. ...Wait a minute. Does this count as one of those asides that MaRo does every now and then? In that case, maybe I should have made this its own paragraph). Like I was saying, perhaps I had mental locks in my head. Whatever the case was, I wasn't churning out designing. Was I fit for this internship? I felt like I was doomed from the beginning.

But, nonetheless, I should do my best, anyway. The worst that could happen is that I fail. I might be wrong about myself, and I could be a great designer. I mean, I did win a previous design contest held by Bragster and Wizards to "Design Your Own Card". I have to be made of something, right? It also helped that others that have been around me described how creative I am. Though, they haven't seen my work put into action. I didn't make anything creative of note with my degree, but it could just be in the way that I communicate with people. My current roommate does tell me that my line of thinking is different. So, I'm weird. And Weirds are red/blue. And red/blue is associated with creativity. So, maybe that's why (Go, go, illogical logic.).

But, as I progressed through the rounds, I felt more confident. This was a test of my abilities. And I was passing. Well, the first round's test may not have been evaluated just yet and only based on whether each of my essays were between 250 and 350 words. There would be evaluation for sure when it came to Round 3. So, that didn't really tell me whether or not I rocked at Magic design. However, Round 2 came, and I had to pass a multiple-choice test that tested my ability on modern design principles. And I passed. This was where it all turned around for me. I knew what I was doing, for the most part. So, Round 3's design test was the real deal. This is what it's all about. If I passed, then I was just pure awesome.

...And then I let myself run out of time for a quality submission. Frick. I'm so disappointed in myself. I can do better at design, but I ran out of time. I didn't set deadlines for myself properly, even though I was spending all my free time doing the assignment. During the last couple hours, I had to frantically design a few cards on the fly just to meet the requirements of the email I needed to send. I sent it at the last minute, and I just. Could. Have. Done. Better. ...But, Life just happens. If I were to be in the Top 8 of 101 people, every single card needed to rock. But, they don't. I know, because I groan whenever I look at a few of those cards I sent.

...And 'Round and 'Round

And that brings me full circle to why I'm writing in the first place (Did I go in a circle? I'm not sure. It felt more like a rollercoaster ride). I feel like I've got no chance for making it as a finalist. So, what do I do now? Well, I keep trying to get that dream job, regardless of whether or not there's a Great Designer Search 2. One way is to get noticed as a Magic writer writing about Magic in a way that shows my aptitude of being able to be in Magic R&D. In the past, I would have just stopped there. Because I was "no writer." But, now, I feel empowered. I can write if I really want to. I just need to write. And write. And write some more (among other things). The same is true for design.

So, I can just keep pushing along with my Magic designing, anyway. Ddsign sets and playtest them and such. And I could even write about that, too. That's more of a reason for me to write. I could also construct cubes, which could show off my development skills, being able to put together a balanced set, and all (let alone balancing my own designed sets). So, I'll just keep pushing.

...One last thing: This blog post was written with some experimentation. I'm trying to find that voice of mine, and I'm trying out these sectioning my post with headers. Whatever. This is a good thing. Hopefully, I'll keep doing this. It'll feel weird, since I haven't yet accepted that I do write. Some day, though. 

...I'll get that dream job.




  1. You're getting there as a writer, I've seen some improvements. Finding your voice while writing will take some time to do if you haven't written a whole lot. Take a deep breath, and just let the words flow out of your fingers. Sometimes it will be easy, other times your pacing in your room trying to find the next word. Like with anything it's practice.
    And good luck with GDS2. People think it was easy; it wasn't.

  2. Thanks, man. That means a lot. Ah, I'm glad that I wrote this. It only lead to good things. That's more of a reason I should keep writing. Or doing anything of value in general. Good things will happen!

    You, too! It was indeed tough.



  3. Writing is a perfect thing to do, just remember to read what you wrote. Taking a moment to objectively judge your own writing will improve it before exposing it to the judgments of everyone else.

  4. That makes perfect sense. Just as a designer would most likely not craft some perfect designs the first time around, so would a writer not write the first time through without there being some aspects of it that could be improved.

    And maybe you were able to see it, but I did indeed not take the time to read what I wrote for this blog post. I spewed out words then showed them to the world. I only read through it again after a while after posting it. It was interesting.