Most projects suffer from the unending cycle of hype and burnout. Uncountable games, software, machines, ideas, and things go into the burnout scrapyard. Even more get canned from problems that can't be solved by their creators. And then there's projects that consume the life of their creators like a succubus.
Lately, I've been suffering from not only a bit of burnout, but prioritization of health vs obligations for the past few months. My life balance. The days fly by faster and faster, and before I knew it Arms of War had sat dormant on my laptop for over a month. It wasn't that I lacked motivation, or ideas, or that I had come across a particularly difficult area to program (although rebuilding the UI from scratch is getting old). The reason for my sedentary development was that I had absolutely no energy at the end of the day, and it was getting worse.
With a 1.5 year old daughter, she runs me absolutely ragged. And when she has any amount of downtime, I have taken to doing normal day-to-day chores and maintaining my house. What's disturbing, and something I was taken completely off guard by, was that this consumes 100% of my energy for the day. 9:30 pm comes around, the offspring goes to sleep, and I have just nothing left so I go to sleep as well. #dadlife
The act of creation takes an absolute incredible amount of energy to perform. When creating literally anything, the input required is immense, and why so few people even care to do it at all. As software developers, we are used to doing this for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. This can take a serious toll on mental and physical health. Some career developers I know don't really touch a computer outside of work.
If you're going to take on a project, especially one that is going to take a long time, understand that you need to maintain your physical and mental health at higher expectations than for people who don't. My recent resurgence back into developing my side projects has come from an understanding of how to get proper sleep, actually drinking 2 liters of water a day, exercising, and taking care of my back & neck properly. This gives me a ton of extra energy that I was slowly losing over time and the ability to conquer the ABCs as well as the web socket restructure.
Work / life balance is a hard thing to nail down, especially when your work and life are in constant flux. But work / life / side project balance is like juggling light sabers blindfolded. A lot of other developers will talk about motivation and burnout, and these topics are insanely important to understand about yourself. Balancing all of your obligations – whether that's to a 1.5 year old monster or digital monsters – is where you can really hit that long-term maintainer mindset.
Your mental health takes precedence over everything else, the players will cope.