Inspiration is for Amateurs

It’s an amazing feeling when you’re inspired. You have a rush of motivation, you love your ideas, everything seems to fit together perfectly. Anyone can create great work when they’re inspired.

What do you do the rest of the time?

One of the biggest issues isn’t just how to solve a particular problem in a game, but rather what to do when you don’t feel like you have any motivation to work on your game in the first place. The same goes for stories and other creative works.  I try to use the same tricks people use to get themselves to the gym. Here are three major ones I’ve picked up.

1) Nothing motivates better than an upcoming playtest. Schedule a playtest for your game NOW and you’ll find yourself working like hell to get it ready for the test. And force yourself to go through with the playtest, no matter how broken things are. It’ll make you really want to get stuff done and should reveal some good info even so.

2) Make plans to meet (or skype call) with someone else to work on the game with them. This involves no longer being a lone genius, but it’s much easier to stay focused and motivated when you’ve got someone else in the room working with you and you’ve both decided to work right now. Same as going to the gym with a friend.

3) Set aside a scheduled time, the same time each night if possible, to work on the game. Do a 5 minute chunk of work. Tell yourself you’re going to work on it, and only it, for 5 minutes (turning on some music that has the same feel your game is trying to create helps too). This kickstarts your motivation and tends to snowball into more. And even if it doesn’t, you did 5 minutes more than you did previously. That’s +35 each week.

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