Courtesy Wizards of the Coast

Remember when the Bard class was included with the basic ruleset for Dungeons & Dragons? Those were the days. When you wanted to be pretty good at just about everything without over-specializing in beating up bad guys or attacking the darkness with magic missile, you chose the Bard. The downside to that choice is why the melee specialists are all carving up the dragons and the spell-casters are teleporting all over the world to blow raspberries at the evil overlord’s close relatives, you still have your songs to offer but that’s about it. It’s an inherent problem with generalization; you’re good at things in general, but you’re not what people would call an expert.

I tend to run in a similar vein. I’m no expert on anything I do, but I do quite a bit with my time.

For example, while I think my writing is overall halfway decent I doubt it’s going to set the world on fire. Part of the reason it takes me a while to produce anything of value is that I know my initial attempts at anything aren’t going to be that good. I used to be of the mindset that a new idea was enough; that as long as I tried something different I could sell the words with no problem. Time and experience have thankfully disproved that notion and I set about writing as part of a larger process, i.e. writing leads to editing leads to rewriting and then, maybe, it’ll be good enough to show to other people. I can write, I simply can’t sit down and bang out a decently marketable work as quickly as some others can.

When it comes to that other occupier of my free time, gaming, I’m again aware of what it would take to be top notch. At times I catch myself leaning into an attitude that I feel is required for improved play and success. However, this is a leisure activity, and playing with my wife or family or close friends reminds me that I should be having fun, not just taking the game seriously in order to win. I may be good at the games I play, but as what only can be described as a ‘casual’ my outright tournament wins will likely be rare.

Both of these aforementioned activities take place when I’m not at the dayjob. I really didn’t think, growing up, that puttering around with computers would yield steady pay. And yet, thanks to what I consider a secondary set of skills, I’m able to sustain my passion and hobbies as well as a roof over my head. I can’t say I’m really a part of the coding community and I still struggle with things from time to time, but I’m good enough at programming to earn my pay.

I may never be a true master in any of these areas, but I’ll keep trying to improve. Who knows? All the effort should yield something eventually, and in the meantime, it’s difficult for me to become truly bored.