I was having a conversation with one of my friends last night about our shared fears, misconceptions and trepidation with regard to RPs. We commiserated on how much we missed the way things used to be when they were exciting and new but also simple. We wondered if that would ever be true again.
While sharing our opinions on different forums and forums structures I started thinking more broadly about sharing our work and trying our best to do what we love. I have been coding MyBB for over a decade which overall seems like a long time (it is) but if you look at the number of projects I have undertaken over the course of this decade, there are perhaps a dozen – give or take a few. That is very little considering how long I’ve been at this. On the one hand, it shows how much I can grow and evolve rapidly over the course of a few projects (my work is vastly different in design and execution than it was before), but on the other
It stands to reason that I would be led to wonder why I even try if so few people care about my work. For instance, I posted Montenegro my first pre-coded skin, months ago and it hasn’t been sold once. Do I find this disappointing? Yes. Am I going to stop making pre-coded skins because of it? No. Of course, it means that any of my future pre-coded skins might be similarly fated; it’s possible that no one will ever buy them.
I’m still going to make them.
It takes hours and weeks of often complicated work to design and implement a forum skin. There are so many things to consider when you are coding – you can’t just write it so it looks nice and to hell with how you manage the back end. You have to use the existing foundation of MyBB cleverly and make sure things are easy to edit for those that may eventually use your skins. All this takes time and effort.
I pour my heart into my designs because I love what I do and I want other people to love what they see when they visit a site they want to join. I want it to be beautiful and functional, but also unique. Sometimes I wonder after all these hours and all this concern over details if it matters. Is my work good enough? Am I doing enough? The problem with these kinds of thoughts is that you can quickly spiral into a dark place – where your work is pointless and no one cares.
I reminded myself and my friend that you have to keep doing the thing that you love regardless of the impact or the audience. The audience doesn’t matter and the impact is immediate; you made this thing. Even if whatever it is is horrendous and awful – you made it.