Getting Started, Over Again.
Photo by mauro paillex on Unsplash
I realize is time to move
Hi, my name is Johan Acosta a game developer and audiovisual producer based in Barranquila - Colombia. Surely you as a developer and creative person felt stuck in some occasions, if so maybe this article will interest you. If you have problems to start working on your own, or if you feel stuck as developer right now, this article is definitely for you.
But before let me do a little disclaimer im not a psychologist, i will only relating at my personal experience, if after reading this you realize that you need a bit of more help, try visit a profesional. Also there are two kinds of Stucks at least, "Creative Stuck" And "Emotional/mental Stuck", i will be focusing in the Emotional/Mental one.
A creative stuck/blockage is the lack of necessary stimuli for divergent thinking. This refers to the inability to generate new ideas due to lack of motivation. Boredom is not considered a problem of creativity. It is a problem of motivation. If you feel that you have only a creative stuck there are some advice to try to help you:
- Take a long Walk (Even inside your house).
Walking can clear your mind, if because of the pandemic you are in some quarantine situation, you can look to do it inside your house, don't give importance to what others might think/say, after all they probably already think you are bit mad. Let your mind wander, which leads me to my next piece of advice:
- Loose yourself.
don't think about the problem or problems got you stuck in the first place, give yourself a moment to distract yourself, your mind will usually always be bombarding you with scattered ideas, maybe unconnected, just let your mind go.
- Jump to another task/project.
Moving on to something else can give you time for your ideas to settle in, just remember that the next time you change tasks/projects, you can go back to your previous project.
- Try to get away from phone and social networks.
Maybe you're just distracted, try turning off your social networks and before you get started to work try applying some of the above tips, give yourself some time to breathe.
- Seek opinions
On the contrary, maybe what you need to wake up the creative part in you is to listen to other people's ideas, show your work.
- Break the routine.
The change can activate areas in your mind that may have been lethargic by the daily routine, do something new, change your schedule, quit some of your bad habits.
- Write or do scribbles.
Like walk, a mechanical work can let your mind relax and wander off, try to avoid distractions. Cleaning up and washing dishes also works very well.
The Emotional, Mental Stuck
The emotions Stuck, in origin, is a process that aims to protect us from a situation that overwhelms us. In situations with a high emotional load: sudden loss of loved ones, unexpected break-ups, situations of high stress or anxiety. This may affect your motivation, prevent you from using the motivation you have, or worse, lead to depression.
I tried to start a business with my colleagues for 5 years, together we did many fun things, some game demos, applications, mixed reality, even a holographic pyramid. But almost a year ago I felt that most of our projects, with great hours of work and effort, are left in nothing, nobody can see our work, crazy few people understand what we work on, and we didn't get the financing we were looking for, That and family problems broke me. I handled it by taking refuge in reading science fiction books like Isaac Asimov's stories, Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: Space Odyty" and Cixin Liu's "The third body problem". I also spent days playing games like Apex Legend, but I have this feeling, "I want to create incredible stories and fun games by myself" you surely know this feeling by yourself. This creator feeling has followed me for a large part of my life, but I keep getting stuck again and again, with my friends during the venture we managed to finish almost all of our projects. but as solo is definitely harder.
Get out of Confort zone by UpDating yourself
Since changes cannot be made overnight, it is difficult to get out of your comfort zone, even physically speaking you cannot decide to start your day at 5:00 am tomorrow to begin working if you have been falling asleep at 4:00 am for a month or more. you must start step by step, reaching small goals.
Now in Pandemic isolation, this creator feeling reach me again, i want to finish a project. i have some stories and game ideas around my mind that i try to write it. at same time i tryed get distance from playing games, even recently having played Valorant. Wath really help me most was started courses in coursera platform as a way to get out of my confort zone, first trying with 1 one hour courses, even of things i all ready know as Unity and HTML. then i move to courses of 2, 3 and 5 hours. Spend my time to making this courses almost daily for a couples of weeks get me the motivation was i looking for, remaind me some stuff and get me a few new skills.
I highly recommend these "Guided Projects", most of them only last an hour, or a few hours at most. You can start one of these projects and finish it the same day, review some of your known topics, try to solve some doubts and learn some new topics. this guided projects run on a plataform called Rhyme basically they give you a cloud desktops, So, you can really just focus on the learning as they said.
Make a To-do List
after finishing some courses there are other things you can do to help you, clean your work area (even your house), or your own computer, you will realize that there are things to do, maybe other courses, or new ideas that will come to you. The first thing you should do is organize it, give it priorities and write down everything, especially your ideas, for that you can use a to-do list.
another tool i will recommend to you is Millanote https://milanote.com/ if you are familiar with Trello, basically you know wath Millanote goes, but with a important difference, the free to organize your stuff almost as you want !
Things I advise you to add to your to-do list:
- Take a few more courses.
- remember to write down your ideas and take notes.
- clean up your work area (your desk).
- uninstall the distractions.
For the last point "uninstall the distractions" personally i go more deeper, I used the Windows restore system to clean my PC, uninstall games and more. It's similar to the factory reboot of a smartphone. It's easy to do and allows you to boot up better with your new projects. You can do this by keeping all your old files, but the restore will remove all your programs, if you are going to do this I remind you first make a BackUp of all the things you consider are important, including files, installers of some programs and passwords.
Like The Phoenix
Life is a set of problems that we must solve, if life were easy it would surely be boring. what I am trying to say is that we must live considering that surely at some point we will come across limit situations again, it is obvious living in 2020, but when that happens you must remember that even if you fall, even if it takes time, you will get up again, like the Phoenix !
"It probably won't be the last time, but when that happens you must remember that even if you fall, even if it takes time, you will get up again, like the Phoenix !"
I hope that I helped you with my experience, i enjoyed writing this, sharing my thoughts, and helping me to clarify my next steps. I'm working on a small game as solo and will be writing about its development in my upcoming post. Finally, if you have difficulty applying these tips and you have difficulty getting out of bed, if you suffer insomnia and more, I empower you to seek guidance from a specialist, that life is not easy does not mean it should be complete suffering, if you are very young and maybe your parents do not listen or understand you, try talking to school or college counselors, they have psychologists who should be willing to help you. if even this does not work, look for phone lines and/or platforms of help. If you search for it, you´ll find it, remember that we all fall down and get back up many times in our lives, I wish you all success, luck and health for you and yours!