Friday, 24 December 2010

Dissertation: It's Christmas Eve...

... And I'm attempting to work on my Dissertation.

What I seem to be having the most trouble with - just like last time - is choosing what to focus on and write about. I don't have anything in particular to do with games that is deeply and academically interesting me in a positive way at the moment. Instead, the thoughts that are weighing most heavily in my mind are:

1. Oh, this dissertation malarky is hard.
2. What am I going to do for a living next year after Uni?
3. [And everything else I wouldn't be thinking if I were a robot, including "I'm hungry and my feet are cold"]

The result is that I'm spending even more time rejecting the games design scene, probably due to a lack of confidence in myself to succeed, and am instead focusing on things that are less difficult for me... like binding books. When I stand back from how I feel, I can see that some things aren't that hard to do - I can do them, and the only reason I haven't done them is not because I can't but because I've talked my mind out of wanting to do them. It's a bit of actual cognitive dissonance in action.

This blog is a prime example. I used to write lots of stuff. Sure, they weren't particularly academic posts, but they were words and they were posted often. The last post on this blog mentioning any work to do with my course was over a month ago. I've just been writing things down on paper now and then, but most of the time I've just been stewing inside my own head, changing my mind about what to write about - totally at the mercy of whatever I feel is being most pressing - until I gave up a short while ago and spent some days not touching any coursework at all. With a few weeks to go until I have to hand in the first draft, the awareness of the deadline being right after the Christmas holidays has prodded grumpy little me sharply in the back of my skull.

My desire to escape from all things computer gamey revived in me the ideas of pursuing handicrafting. Unfortunately, it's not something I can picture myself writing about academically. I tried, but it got out of hand like watered down PVA glue and ended up being all over the place.

I just want to make stuff.

From what happened with the last essay I wrote, I can see where this is going to end up. I'm going to take the essay I wrote about writing essays and work from that and how I'm feeling about writing the dissertation and end up writing about the difficulties students can face when writing dissertations. As you can see in the picture above, I've already started. Who knows when I'll finish.

And then after I graduate, I will start to feel less pressure from the whole game thing, and I'll start to return again. I will play with all the free software I learned about, and I will make little games, and write up ideas for bigger games, and think about stories for narrative games and come up with mechanics for seriously simple but fun games. This won't happen all at once; it will happen slowly over time, mingled in with numerous other things I like to do and tend to return to, like playing things on guitar and reading about history and magic and learning about science and love and art and me.

This is what I'm hoping. Life was much better when I wasn't worrying about how long I would be able to keep going. I mean dude, I'm not even 21 yet!

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