I haven't figured out what that middle ground is just yet, but I'm making progress. 😅
I've sorted all my half-baked side-project ideas into OmniFocus and set them to "On Hold", except for one. Realistically speaking, with a dayjob and kids, I have only time for one project at a time, so that's what I'm doing now. Working on one project to see where it's going.
Once I spent the time to actually think about what that one project should be, how I would spend that little time I have in the evenings, things fell into place. What was the blurry outline of a bunch of fuzzy feelings and ideas before became a sharp image of a story. One single story. Not a connected universe, not a playground for mechanics, a story. I feel comfortable telling a story. I feel excited every time I get to move a little piece into place and for the first time in years I feel like there's a tangible goal in sight, because either I tell that story or I don't. There's no "well, maybe this should also be about…", there's no "but I should also add…". Everything has to feed into the story; everything that doesn't gets put on a list for later. This won't be my last project, after all.
My new goal is to have a demo ready by the end of January. The HauntedPS1 people are doing another demo disc and I would like to have something to submit. Now, I don't assume it'll be included, but it's a goal to shoot for. External deadlines are a great motivator for me.
Right, back to it then.