I’m good at prototyping in the sense of being able to quickly sketch out an idea to get a sense of whether it’s worth continuing with; I’m very, very bad at prototyping in the sense of killing something off once I decide that something else would be a better use of my time.
I’ve got a dozen little projects I’d like to be working on right now: small games, web toys, essays, etc. The problem is, I can’t get started on any of them, because I keep fiddling with the zillion half-finished “practice” projects I’ve got lying around on my computer. Why subject myself to blank canvas syndrome and the stress of starting something new when I could just kill time refactoring old functions, or learning a bit about AS3, or tweaking some parameters on a game that’s already been overworked half to death? Basically, my hard drive has turned into the front yard of a weekend mechanic: lots of half-finished stuff up on blocks, but nothing that you can actually pull out of the driveway and take into town.
It’s starting to look like the only way to move forward will be by forcing myself into a ship-it mentality: get these practice projects to a finished state and out the door as quickly as possible. It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be done. Twagnetic Poetry was the first of these fire-and-forget releases; there are some annoying bugs in it that I’m probably not going to fix, because the whole purpose of putting it out was so that I could work on something else. I should probably feel bad about releasing half-assed work, but life is short, and I’d rather spend my time thinking about things that I’m really excited about than continuing to poke at something that’s only mildly entertaining to mess with.