I like a good project to get stuck into. I’m always looking for opportunities to immerse myself into something new, whether a new building or landscaping endeavour, revamping the content of my inworld gallery, or getting involved in a community event – having a project filling my SL time is something that I find incredibly therapeutic and enjoyable.
The same is true of the real world too. My whole life has been one long round of project type activities. For years I was deeply immersed in the theatre, and to a lesser extent, film making – both requiring an ability to contribute to and play a part in a variety of self-contained projects in order to achieve an end result.
My work life has also revolved around a number of projects over the years, ultimately culminating in where I am today – which has come as something of a surprise and certainly isn’t where I saw my career going – programme and project management!
I think part of the reason I can relate so well to this style of getting things done is that projects have a number of very clearly defined facets in what is otherwise – I’m sorry to say – a rather ill-defined and random lifestyle. A good project will have specific outcomes, clear resources, inputs and parameters; it will have fixed milestones, strategies, targets and goals, and – hopefully – some sort of timeline and an eventual conclusion, with tangible benefits realised. This is in stark contrast to my life generally – here I tend to bumble from one thing to another, I have few set goals, with little idea of where I want to be or how I’m going to get there. Ask me what my ambitions are, or where I hope to find myself in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time, and I’m likely to shrug non-commitally and give a sheepish grin… Such is the way I tackle life when I have nothing in particular to motivate, challenge and direct me. Hence the projects.
The same is true for me in SL. My interest in the virtual world would probably have waned some time ago if I’d not had the encouragement of inworld projects to retain my interest and keep me on my toes. Without that subtle guiding influence, I tend to stagnate somewhat – my SL becomes one long round of doing the same thing over and over again and becoming disappointed when the allure of following that repetitive pattern fades. Even virtual shopping can become a bore when it’s all you ever find yourself doing. Like my real life, there is no Grand Plan when it comes to SL: You won’t find me aspiring to become virtually famous, rich or influential; I have no long term plan to conquer the virtual world; and, just like RL, much of the time I spend aimlessly bumbling around, bumping into interesting people and finding myself in unexpected situations, but this has the down side that when interesting people and unexpected situations are in short supply, I really can find myself at a loose end.
That’s when the urge for a new project begins to assert itself. The creative juices start to flow and my fingers itch to do something new – something with a definite outcome, within a specified timescale and subject to the various constraints and dependencies that time, space and virtual bank balance might impose. What tends to follow is a flurry of frenetic activity – full immersion into whatever is required to attain my goal, accompanied by a determination to get there, no matter what the challenge. It’s good fun, and good for me – but, just like any journey, it all starts with a single step, and that can be the most difficult part of all.
I don’t know how all the amazing designers, artists and creators we have in SL manage to churn out so much incredible stuff, time after time, after time – where on earth do they find their inspiration? Because, having decided I need a project to get me back on my feet, I then suffer agonies of indecision, impatience and soul-searching simply trying to come up with an idea, a concept, a plan for what I what to do… Will it be a build, remodelling the land, learning a new skill, or what? And even once I have that sorted, I generally have little or no idea of what exactly it is I want to achieve. I suppose one of the benefits of getting involved with projects in the real world is that they’re usually not self-directed: You’re not the sponsor, and it’s other people, organsisations and circumstances that are in the driving seat and set the desired outcomes, so it’s somewhat easier – at least to my mind.
And that’s where I find myself at the present… Feeling the need to do something, but at a loss as to what it should be.
Oh well, something will turn up!
And that man comes on the radio
And he’s tellin’ me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination
Otis Redding – I Can’t Get No Satisfaction