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Age, Leisure Work and Motivation
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Author:  Torco [ Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:42 am ]
Post subject:  Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

Well, I'm 31. I was like 17 when I started making conlangs, and back then life was simple and leisurely: I had three months free every year, plus basically no responsibilities outside school, and school is stupidly easy. University wasn't hard either. But, as it turns out, being as old as I am right now means basically having very little leisure time indeed. I remember back in the day I would fill pages and pages of random notes, doodles and whatnot for conlangs, cultural notes about the development of philosophy in the bronze age of one conworld or other. It was super fun and I loved it. Frankly, I miss it. Now I just can't get invested in this sort of leisure work (cause, in a way, conlanging is work, in the sense that its only pleasant and rewarding if you put in time and intentioned exertion of various faculties into it). As I've become older and busier, fantasy seems to have become less and less of my life, to the point that I don't think I've seriously done any conworlding or conlanging in years. I keep getting ideas, like, I'll play Crusader Kings 2, say, and I'll think "man, this feudalism thing is a whole system of international relations! in a way, feudal christendom was itself sort of a big integrated system even though it wasn't one unified empire. it's interesting how this works, I wonder if I could integrate this idea into this age in this conworld, except instead of personal relationships, with tribes, and instead of the main class being warriors (...)" or, "hell, wouldn't it be cool to make a logogram? yeah, for a language with a bunch of tones, but with complicated syllables, kinda like old chinese but agglutinating instead of isolating. yeah! and all straight lines, like to write into clay tablets." And its not like I don't have leisure, don't get me wrong, I've learned to play the piano, I've gotten some ways into chinese, I bike up the hill near my apartment... but conworlding and conlanging, its like I've lost that loving feeling for it, and I kinda miss it.

Maybe this has happened to the rest of the board: after all, we're all aging at (barring one of you being an astronaut for some secret near-luminal mission) the same rate. has it? how have you dealt with this?

Author:  hwhatting [ Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

Similar. Up to some point in my twenties, I spent hours on conlanging or making up conhistories. That was also helped by having a sequence of roleplaying worlds together with my brother, which gave me inspiration to create languages and histories. Right now, I'm dealing with the lack of time mostly by concentrating on Tarra and its languages, and even then I get around to work on the Tautisca bible translation only every couple of weeks. I also try to post in the conlang fluency and in the lexicon development thread not too unfrequently, in order to keep building the lexicon. But it's slow going. I still sometimes get ideas for new conlangs, but I mostly let them fall by the wayside.

Author:  Vijay [ Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

I'm not sure how relevant or helpful any of this is, but I was never much into conlanging, to be honest, and started doing it literally only because my dad wanted me to. I am, however, very much into studying (natural) languages. Of course, at times when I also have a job, this can be difficult or even impossible, so I just do however much of it I can when I do get some spare time. I try not to have regrets about not being able to do as much as I used to be able to do because I know there is value in what I am doing, too, and it's not like I'm deliberately curtailing my own leisure time. I necessarily have less leisure time when I have a job, and I have to have a job in order to make a living.

Author:  Dewrad [ Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

Yep, I totally feel you there man. Nine-ish years ago, I was twenty-five, at university and employed in what can only be called a casual manner. Back then, I managed to pull Proto-Western out of my ass over the course of about 24 hours, while stoned to fuck.

Now, I have a "career", I'm thirty-four* and frankly I have no time for anything at involves any kind of serious intellectual engagement at the moment. I started translating North Wind and the Sun into Tagorese a few days ago. I've managed the first line. Fourteen years ago (ish), I literally fucking translated half of Beowulf into a conlang over the course of a day in order to win a bet.

We are no longer young.

*I had to work that out. Seriously. I used a fucking website and entered my date of birth. I couldn't remember whether I was 33, 34 or 35. FML.

Author:  Travis B. [ Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

I go through phases of being very motivated to work on something and not being motivated much at all to work on anything at all outside of work. Earlier this year I was very motivated to work on two separate projects in Haskell, and got quite far with both of them, with both of them being usable when I finally got tired of working on them. Then I started working on a conlang of mine, Old Laqar, again, writing a number of translations of different texts into it, specifically the Lord's Prayer, the Seven Kill Stele, the Ring Poem, the Babel Text, and the North Wind and the Sun. Now I've receded to just saying occasional things in the conlang fluency thread and like, no longer being that motivated. Eventually I will become sufficiently motivated again to work some more on my programming projects or to delve deeply into conlanging again.

Author:  alynnidalar [ Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

College was great for conlanging for me--a lot of time spent sitting in boring classes, needing something to occupy myself. (in retrospect, I would've saved myself a lot of grief if I hadn't been such a goody-two-shoes who never skipped class. Would've read a lot less Mass Effect fanfiction, though...) My internship during college was great too, because I almost never had actual work to do! "Oh, go read this documentation." Yeah, sure, that'll occupy me for six months.

Unfortunately, after getting a job where I have actual duties and am expected to do things, my conlanging time has seriously decreased. :P

Author:  linguoboy [ Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

I have more leisure time now than I've had in ages, but much less motivation. I'm not really sure how much of this is aging, how much of this is a gradual change in my interests, and how much can be ascribed to a change in my circumstances.

A lot of my inspiration comes from role-playing and conditions there have really changed over the years. I used to play with a group led by an award-winning game designer whose games tended to feature complex settings and tightly-scripted scenarios. He would often ask me for help with the linguistic aspects (and sometimes for the game products he was working on as well), which would lead to me doing waaaaaay more research than was actually required. Now I'm still playing weekly, but it's a very different crowd. We just sketch in as much setting as we need for a given scenario, which is mostly improvised. I like how this spread the collaboration around, but it also means it's not good to invest as much time in my contributions because they could end up completely unnecessary if the group decides to go off in a different direction.

Author:  hwhatting [ Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

Dewrad wrote:
Fourteen years ago (ish), I literally fucking translated half of Beowulf into a conlang over the course of a day in order to win a bet.

Wow, that's quite a feat!

Author:  Vijay [ Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

I have to admit, I'm in a convenient position for now because I'm currently unemployed and living with my parents. We're not dirt-poor or anything, and I apparently don't eat much at least by my dad's standards. (I did spend over $200 just buying books a few weeks ago for the first time in many years, though). I'm going back to work soon, though, which will definitely kill a lot of time I'd otherwise spend on language-learning. This is also part of the reason why my motivation to look for a full-time job is weak.

Author:  So Haleza Grise [ Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

I thought having a baby would mean that I have less time to conlang, but I'm surprised how much I do get time to do (you just have to sit there sometimes!). I haven't played video games in weeks though.

Really what's impeding my progress, even more than work or family commitments, is the inability to stay focused and "work" on just one thing.

I haven't "finished" a conlang since I started doing this way back in my early teens, but I have had a lot of fun along the way.

Author:  hwhatting [ Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

So Haleza Grise wrote:
I haven't "finished" a conlang since I started doing this way back in my early teens, but I have had a lot of fun along the way.

What is this "finished conlang" thing you're talking about?

Author:  Nortaneous [ Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

I've been conlanging more than I used to, but it's a huge time sink and I've been trying to spend less time on it and more time on things that aren't completely unproductive.

Eventually I'll get a job that doesn't give me ridiculously long weekends [and lets me both make rent and eat] so I should be like, writing code

Author:  alice [ Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

hwhatting wrote:
So Haleza Grise wrote:
I haven't "finished" a conlang since I started doing this way back in my early teens, but I have had a lot of fun along the way.

What is this "finished conlang" thing you're talking about?


Do tell. I always thought finishing a conlang was like the proverbial irresistible force proverbially meeting the proverbial immovable object.

Author:  So Haleza Grise [ Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

alice wrote:
hwhatting wrote:
So Haleza Grise wrote:
I haven't "finished" a conlang since I started doing this way back in my early teens, but I have had a lot of fun along the way.

What is this "finished conlang" thing you're talking about?


Do tell. I always thought finishing a conlang was like the proverbial irresistible force proverbially meeting the proverbial immovable object.


I know they are never "finished" but I've never managed to get a grammar, much less a lexicon, into a state where I'd be willing to share it publicly. Either I lose all my files on it (that has happened more than once!) or I decide I don't like the direction it's going in and start again from scratch. But who knows, maybe I am finally getting closer now.

Author:  Risla [ Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

I've never been a prolific conlanger, and the same applies now as it used to. For me, there's a conundrum of conlang inspiration: I need to be fairly happy with how life is going to feel inspired to conlang, but in order to feel happy, I need to be relatively busy, at which point I don't really have time to conlang.

Author:  alice [ Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

Deplorable backsliders, the lot of you. I've conlanged for at least three hours a day, every day, since I was ten years old.

Seriously, though, I've noticed it too, and it's just part of growing up. Ask anyone who's every been in a band for several years, for example.

Author:  Salmoneus [ Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

Surprisingly, I've gotten more into a posteriori conlanging.

Writing up grammars for a priori languages has become more wearying, but several of the things involvd in a posteriori work - reading articles about languages, and mindlessly applying sound changes to words - are actually things I find relaxing.

Author:  linguoboy [ Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

Salmoneus wrote:
Writing up grammars for a priori languages has become more wearying, but several of the things involvd in a posteriori work - reading articles about languages, and mindlessly applying sound changes to words - are actually things I find relaxing.

+1.

Actually, almost all my conlanging has been a posteriori. It's kind of a substitute for not being able to work as a full-time linguist.

Author:  Ketumak [ Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

I've felt a lot of the problems people mention, too: focus, finding the time etc. I'd also add another to the list which is rising standards. As you learn more about linguistics, you want to put more into your conlanging. If your knowledge grows quickly you might even experience a paradox of doing more, doing it better (than before) yet feeling more like a failure because you'd like to go better still.

I very much get what So Haleza Grise says about how having a family gives you more time for conlanging. You're stuck in the house and need to fill time. I think conlanging also helps with a family because it's cheap. You no longer have money to spend on yourself and conlanging only really requires pens and paper, IMHO. It also provides a welcome return to intellectual puzzles after a spell of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, peekaboo etc. Those can all be great fun, but you need the balance.

Author:  Soap [ Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

Conlanging fills in the gaps between my thoughts ... whether Im working 40 hours a week or zero, I have about the same amount of ideas to work with. Right now Im doing a bit more than average because Ive sidelined all of my other hobbies, and therefore have been getting back to reviving projects I havent touched for more than 10 years ... but there's always, always, always more.

Author:  Torco [ Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

hmmm... I've always been an apriorist, but perhaps its a young man's game (?)

Its good to know that kids afford, rather than obliterate, opportunities to do leisure work: it's ever been my impression, probably irrational, that people have kids and their entire lifes get totally subsumed under parental responsibilities till they're 50.

Author:  Curlyjimsam [ Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

It's not the most precise measure of productivity, but in 2004-2008 (my last few years at secondary school) I created an average of 199 new files each year on my world and its languages. By 2013-2017 that figure had fallen to an annual average of just 35.

I've been doing more of other stuff, though, e.g. fiction writing, which isn't always totally divorced from conworlding-type stuff.

Author:  finlay [ Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

I used to conlang a lot in high school, laid off it for a while when I was in university, and came back to it when I had that uncertain gap year between university and coming to Japan - basically when I suddenly had a lot of free time. Since i started working again I've barely had time for it. I probably could devote a bit of time to it, but I have other stuff I want to do.

Author:  Qwynegold [ Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

I have time, because I'm unemployed, but I have no energy. And it's not just conlanging, there's a lot of stuff that I want to want to do, but I just don't feel like doing it. :(

Author:  Vardelm [ Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age, Leisure Work and Motivation

I've had a 40+ hour per week job since well before I started conlanging in 2008, aside from going back to get my bachelors in 2009-11. Although I still go slow, the past couple years have been more productive just because I have a better idea of what I want to create. The past 6 months have been slow due to lots of work, and then studying & taking the GRE to go back to grad school. When that happens, I'm sure my productivity will take a hit. However, I found university really benefited my creative energy, and I think that may be the same during grad school.

To me, the key is to come up with some longer term project you want to work on, so that it's not just a matter of cranking out a nifty conlang as fast as you can and then move on to the next thing. If you have that, then finding a little time to do a little bit fairly often works better for a working schedule. Of course, it helps to be on a computer full time at work so you can jot down ideas as they come to you during work!

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