Where to Go - Confession 68

2016.10.05 20:57:54

Well, here we are. Here we are again. About three weeks ago another semester of university began for me. Since then I've been feeling a lack of interest and motivation in most things. None of the projects that are open right now seem inviting or exciting to me, and I don't know what to do.

As I've written about plenty of times before, this is not something unique– it has happened before, plenty at that. Still, every time it does my perceived productivity takes a dive and I inevitably start spiralling down into the pit of self-loathing and depression. There's several things that can trigger this phase, but the most sure-fire way to do it is to put me into an environment where I feel like I've been severely stripped of my freedom to do as I please. The “shock” of that manifests itself strongly in my desire to work, which then leads to a rapidly tightening feedback loop.

I'm not sure if there's anything else that I could write about this that I haven't written about over and over again before. It just sucks. It sucks major dick. There isn't anything I know to remedy it except to somehow find a way to work on things despite everything, while at the same time being able to juggle the additional responsibility put onto me by my university duties.

Therefore the first task seems to be figuring out what I should be working on. Given that every possibility I could think of so far hasn't been one that I actively want to work on, this isn't such an easy task. I suppose it might be worthwhile iterating the potential work areas though– maybe, hopefully, this will give me some kind of spark of inspiration and my decision will be made once I'm done writing this.

So let's see. I'll be listing things as they occur to me, in no particular order of preference or urgency.

  • Markless is a project that has been in the works on and off for a few years now. The intended goal is to have a fully standardised ASCII text markup language that is fast to parse, intuitive to write, and extensible by implementations. I'm close to done with this and have been trying to get a JS implementation going, but I haven't been having much fun with that at all.
  • Maiden is my penultimate attempt at writing a chat bot framework. It is probably one of the most cleanly designed things I've done so far, and I've been meaning to replace the running Colleen instance with it for a long time. However, there's still some important features missing that I need to implement and test properly before I can really do that.
  • Trial is the game engine Shirakumo has been using for the previous two Ludum Dare entries. I've been meaning to move it to OpenGL Core, but that requires a lot of very fundamental changes to how things work and I haven't been enjoying the attempts I've made so far at all. It all seems incredibly tedious and unrewarding.
  • Autobuild is a Continuous Integration system that is being used to build Clasp. There are several outstanding issues that should be fixed, but whenever I think about working on it I immediately get put off. I'm not sure why.
  • Parasol is yet another old, old project. Intended on being a useful digital painting application at some point it has been stalled for months and months so many times. Mostly because every time I start to work on it I immediately get into trouble trying to figure out the necessary base architecture to make things extensible and dynamic.
  • Radiance is my web application environment that actually offers some features that I have never seen anywhere else before. However, it is in severe need of cleanup, documentation, and rethinking in several areas. It also needs a lot more modules that implement generally useful functionality.
  • Portacle is the portable common lisp development environment. Before I can release it for good though there are a few problems that need to be fixed, most notably automatic upgrading and testing on OS X. All of this is always a huge pain though, so I've been very reluctant.
  • Introduction to Programming is a very long and ambitious writing project idea that I've been having for a while. Portacle is a prerequisite for that. The idea is that it would be a series of lengthy article that should be usable for people wanting to pick up programming or lisp for the first time. I don't know if I'm capable of it though.
  • 式神の物語 was a somewhat lengthy story of mine that I wrote about a year ago. I wanted to put it into comic form and got started drawing a storyboard for it, but never completed that, nor any full pages beyond the cover.

As you can probably tell, most of these projects are long, or even old ones. I am horrible at keeping to long-term projects. I inevitably lose interest, or get disgusted with myself for all the mistakes that I've made. And so they all end up unfinished, maybe indefinitely so.

But I don't want to leave them unfinished. Knowing that I have started journeys that I have never managed to complete bothers me a lot. It feels like an unfulfilled promise, as if I've somehow betrayed everyone– let everyone down.

Even after writing this I don't know what to do next. Everything still seems as unpleasant as before. What's worse, I've now incited my brain to think up countless of prior examples of projects that I've abandoned or never even started in the first place, increasing my feeling of guilt ever more.

Writing this entry was a mistake.

There's a first for everything, I suppose.

Written by shinmera