Game design is very important to me. It tickles both the creative and structure parts of my brain at the same time. Creating these structures invigorates and satisfies me. When my brain is churning on a game idea my wife has to endure my ramblings (she does so graciously) and I have to be careful not to become annoying.

Designing board games is my #2 hobby. Playing board games is my #1. However, both of these are still just hobbies – things that fill in the free moments I have when life priorities allow. I have my faith, family, friends, and work that make up my top life priorities. Then my hobbies fill in the gaps. So what happens when these life priorities don’t allow any extra time to devote to hobbies, specifically game designs?

First, you need to know why you design games in the first place. For me, it is to satisfy my creativity while working on something that I love. Sure, I would love to publish a game someday. I plan to. But if I make that the reason I design games during this season of my life I will be frustrated.

Next, remember not to be discouraged. It is perfectly normal and healthy for life priorities to take up all my time and leave very little for my hobbies. That is what it means to be an adult. My life is not these games that I play or design. Life is all about ebbs and flows. Sometimes I have lots of free time to devote to my hobbies; sometimes very little or none.

Last, keep at it, even if it is in really, really small pieces. Keep designing. For me, that sometimes means that I just keep throwing out ideas into Evernote. I know an idea isn’t worth very much on its own without execution but when that’s all I have time for ideas become very valuable to me.

Know why you design. Don’t be discouraged if you are in the ebbs. The flows will come again. Keep at it. Those small pieces will pay off someday.

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