Managing your Creativity as an Indie Developer
September has officially come to a close and we now welcome the harmonious Libra season of October! Hopefully, you enjoy the rampant smell of pumpkin spice during your daily errands!
Working in the gaming industry regardless of your position or job will almost always require creativity. In fact, even outside of the gaming industry creativity is often needed but the majority of ideas thought up are rarely put into action or even written down. Chances are you’ve had a task that has stumped you with a creative block where you couldn’t complete any work for hours at a time until you figured out that first idea. Many people, including ourselves have experienced this and it can be frustrating.
Here are a couple of tips throughout our careers that we personally found the most helpful in managing our own creative thinking and ensuring it translated into our content.
It doesn’t matter where you start as long as you just start. Even if the work you produce is not beneficial, this acts as an exercise to relax your brain which makes it easier to tap into your creative center.
This could be as simple as creating bullet points, doodling or even just opening the programs you need to work with.
Try to schedule in 5 minutes at the beginning of every work session to just experiment and play around with your equipment.
Use a framework.
Sometimes the most intimidating thing is staring at a blank screen. It’s incredibly easy to lose motivation and then surf the web meaninglessly for numerous hours.
To combat the blank screen, use a framework of categories, lists and notes then work within the confines of that framework to draw inspiration. Utilize all of the information you’ve added to the framework to produce new ideas, form connections between ideas and expand your current ideas.
Be forgiving and don’t over criticize.
It makes sense to critique your work to improve and produce a polished version but it doesn’t make sense to criticize your ideas before they even get a chance to flourish.
Give yourself space to experiment randomly with no judgement of what you produce.
Be open minded.
Similar to the previous point of not overthinking and criticizing yourself. Don’t be too judgmental of the world around you. Instead, open your mind, consider new perspectives and be like a sponge soaking up the information surrounding you. New ideas can come from anywhere so long as you give it the opportunity to reach you.
Whether you are working or not, always keep a notebook handy to journal and write down thoughts, ideas, and just about anything that pops into your head. You’ll be surprised at some of the ideas that get lost in thoughtful banter or learn interesting thinking patterns that you can utilize for a better understanding of yourself.
This notebook also acts as a practice for mindfulness and organizing your thoughts to revisit at a later time in your life. It can both inspire a new idea or help remove your creative block.
This sounds counterintuitive and problematic to trash all of your hard work especially if you’re on a tight deadline but hear me out. Sometimes implementing a new idea requires a new foundation. Starting from scratch provides an open space to work with your idea without the cluster of the previous project. Take care to not literally trash your previous work but instead store it away so that you can start on a blank slate. In addition, you’re able to recycle components of your previous idea to add to your current one if it makes sense.
Lastly, remind and permit yourself to take a break from work. This is an important one that many of us tend to forget about when you’re caught in the pace of work. However, breaks are instrumental for our brains to recuperate and maintain a healthy flow of work.
We hope that these tips and tricks have provided some form of insight or managed to help you out of a creative block. If you’re struggling on coming up with ideas, it doesn’t mean that you’re not creative. Just know that you’re not alone when it comes to getting stuck in your own head.
Best of luck in your future creative endeavors!