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Following My Motivation

posted on 5th Mar 2015

Motivation is a funny thing. It’s wonderful when you have it. It will lead you on and cause you to start projects. It keeps you going even when it may seem logical to stop. But it can just as easily abandon you, leaving you with a project (possibly several) that you feel compelled to continue simply because you’ve put so much effort in already.

I experienced this with my apps. I started contracting several years ago, and after years of struggling to make my apps produce enough income to live off, I was finally making real money. My motivation to work on my apps had been waning for some time, but this put the nail in the coffin.

I could have left them there and had a clean break but I’d spent so much time on these apps, put so much of my life in to them, that I felt I couldn’t. And so they hung over my like a dark cloud as they fell into neglect. I felt like I should update them, but couldn’t bring myself to do it.

The Fall of the Book

The same has happened with The Auto Layout Guide, a book I was writing to help people learn Auto Layout. I started it with so much eagerness, seeing it as an ideal tool to teach others about something I knew quite a bit about. It was also a means of getting my name out there more to hopefully attract clients. It was a welcome distraction from those pesky apps. Something that would help the part of my business that was actually making money. There was even a chance it could bring some extra money in itself.

Unfortunately, it has fallen prey to the same problem. The few times I’m motivated enough to work on the book I don’t have the time, and when I do have the time I’m simply not motivated. I got to the point with my apps where I got rid of them. I’ve finally come to the realisation that the same has to happen with the book. As of now I’m officially ending work on The Auto Layout Guide. But it’s not all bad news…

The Rise of the Blog

Where one door closes, several others can open. I’ve been somewhat neglecting this blog the past few years. I’ve written just 5 posts in the past 24 months. I’d like to change that by writing more and have it better reflect my interests. I'll also finally get round to fixing the problems with it, both for me writing posts and for others reading them.

Part of the change will be publishing parts of The Auto Layout Guide as blog posts. Writing a book takes a lot more time and creates a much larger commitment than posting to a blog. It also need to be much more comprehensive, rather than focusing only on the interesting and less well known parts. I’m hoping I can achieve the same goals I had with the book, but without all the baggage a book entails (with the added benefit for you of getting it for free!). I'll also be updating autolayoutguide.com to point to all the Auto Layout related posts on my blog.

But it will be about more than Auto Layout (and other Cocoa stuff). When I sold my apps I started looking into games. Creating games is what got me into this industry in the first place, and despite a detour through a Computer Science degree and being an app developer, it seems natural that I’d want to go back to them. I now have the skills to be able to create the games I imagined when I was younger. I’ll still have a lot to learn and discover, but I want to write about that somewhere, sharing my ideas and what I learn.

I also have several hobbies, the biggest of which is a love of miniature wargaming. I love building and painting miniatures, making army lists and fielding them against my friends. I’d like to write more about that and share what I create.

I’ve been putting off so much in the past few years, telling myself “you can do the stuff you’re motivated to do after you’ve finished the book”. It’s a shame it’s taken me so long to realise I was never going to finish the book, just as it took me too long to realise I was never going to work on my apps. I've rectified that now, so I can focus on what I want to work on. Hopefully in future I can prevent myself from being stuck in this situation again and simply learn to follow my motivation wherever it takes me.

If you would like to send me a comment on this post, send an email to pilky@mcubedsw.com. Alternatively send a tweet to @pilky.