Today marks the start of the third week of our winter break, and yesterday some collaborators and I submitted to the Foundations of Digital Games conference.  In writing the paper we came across some other questions we wanted to answer about our data set, but we didn’t have room for the analysis in the existing paper.  Since the conference deadline was extended at the last minute, we considered writing another paper for submission to the same conference.  We had a round of e-mails last night discussing approaches to the new paper that would make it sufficiently different from the existing one, and I think we’ve found a good idea.  We’re exploring things today with a goal of having an outline and a division of labor by tomorrow morning.

Launching yourself into answering a new set of questions, particularly with a relatively short deadline, is always invigorating.  But what struck me last night is that the excitement isn’t limited to the project that generated it.  I felt unmotivated about starting a paper that I planned to submit to the ITiCSE conference.  After our e-mail exchanges last night, I’m excited about starting the ITiCSE submission.  The two papers have nothing in common, except that I’m a co-author on both, but the excitement from the first project is turning out to be contagious.

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