Hello all! With kids and work and all sorts of life responsibilities, I've had a really tough time keeping up any serious practice with magic, even though I've been seriously interested in it for 15 years now. I find I always come up against the same mental block: I'm no longer interested in just doing random tricks for friends and family. I actually want to put together a short performance routine that has some sort of substance to it beyond the simple amazement of the effects themselves. The problem is that, when I try to fit together a few of the effects I know (or could learn without too much trouble), I have a hard time finding a theme or story that ties them all together into something that fits my sensibilities. On the other hand, when I think about the kind of stories I want to tell, I find myself out in the weeds with elaborate or difficult effects that I'm just not ready for. Because of this block, I find myself practicing a few effects here and there, or running through a bunch of sleights, but never getting down to serious practice because I feel directionless. So my question is: how do you go about creating your first routines, as a beginner, using simple effects you can achieve but fitting them to your own storytelling sensibilities? Maybe it's an unanswerable question, but I thought I would give all you smart people a stab at it. Thanks!