Rediscovering a passion for writing

A long, long time ago, I told myself I would never make writing my full time job. Friends, teachers, and acquaintances have complimented my writing my whole life, so I knew I was good at it. But, I knew that as soon as I did that, I would hate it. Monetizing your passion can suck the life out of it. I’d be lying, though, if I said I didn’t just want to write all day, every day. I’d gladly put in more than forty hours a week doing it, too. I think it’s in my blood, though I don’t have any famous or even not-so-famous writers in my family ancestry that I’m aware of.

I don’t even remember the first time I wrote a story, but it had to be very young. I still have a hard copy (printed on a dot matrix printer!) of a “novel” I wrote in third or fourth grade I think. It’s horrible. I don’t want to look at it—let alone read it—and it’s a blatant rip off of Brian Jacques’ Redwall (a series of books I was obssessed with through most of my childhood). But I’ll never throw it away, since it’s a precious artifact of my early creativity.

Despite all that, I haven’t touched a manuscript in fifteen years. That passion just fizzled.

Thoughts on Xenoblade Chronicles

After playing all of the Xenoblade Chronicles games (minus X, left languishing on the Wii U), I wanted to talk about my general impressions. This is by no means a review, it’s just my personal feelings on this franchise. Also, I didn’t play them in order, so this article is laid out in the way I experienced them, which may’ve affected my reception/understanding of them.

Note: This article contains very minor spoilers for all Xenoblade Chronicles titles.

s settlements can be seen in the distance

I am dogless

Content warning: Death, grief, and other heavy emotional topics.

On October 25th, I had to make another tough decision. It was time to say goodbye to my dog, Zoe. Unlike when Wash passed away last year, this was a much harder call to make. Just a few months earlier, she seemed perfectly healthy. But 12 years is a good run for a bigger dog, and it was time.

(Side note: I really did not intend for these 2 posts to end up back-to-back. I really should use my blog more often.)

Zoe on the morning of the 25th

16 years is a long time, yet not long enough

Content warning: Death, grief, and other heavy emotional topics.

The visit to the veterniarian on May 27th was the hardest thing I’ve done in a long, long time. My little baby dog, Wash, had not been doing well for quite some time. Probably too long; I didn’t want to have to face this decision, even though his health had steadily declined over the previous year. I’m still shocked how rapidly he went from a happy, bouncy puppy to an old, cranky dog.

We staved it off as long as we could. Previously the vet prescribed pain meds that at least let him get up and move around again. It only delayed the inevitable.

An older picture from when he still smiled

Ask forgiveness, not permission

Anyone who’s worked with me as a product manager has probably heard me say at one point or another that it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. While that makes for a cliché, easily quotable philosophy, there are important nuances that I want to talk about, since it’s not something that should be applied in every situation without careful consideration.

I recently finished Marty Cagan & Chris Jones’ book Empowered, and a particular quote near the end of the book stood out to me (emphasis mine):

Up to that point, very few of the senior stakeholders had had much (or any) visibility of the work. It was a decision I’d taken deliberately, though not lightly, early on. I’d secured agreement with my technology director and with [editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger], that in order to take advantage of this opportunity, I would need to move unusually quickly. I would have to seek apology later.

This is a quote from Jon Moore, referring to the rapid development of an iPad app for The Guardian, and it made me realize that I’d left out a critical piece of guidance when asking forgiveness.