Dealing with Lack of Motivation

Dealing with Lack of MotivationI’m losing my will to write. I’m losing my will to design. In fact, I’m losing my will.

And I should have seen it coming.

I’ve learned some things about myself, things that I can’t seem to change. First off, I’m a carrot type of guy. I work best when I’m motivated by positive feelings. Negative motivation, stress, and pushes don’t work for me. And I know that I’m not alone. (more…)

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Clutter desk inspiration quote

Clutter desk inspiration quoteI lied to you. Well, if you’re a recurring reader that is.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how a messy desk is creative. The gist of the story is that having a limited amount of mess on your desk lets you see unexpected stuff and make new neural connections, i.e. generate ideas.

Oh, and I said that smart people have their desks more cluttered.

That last part’s true. The first part is true but there’s a better way. (more…)

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Perfection in Art quote

Perfection in Art quoteThere’s no such thing as the perfect novel. Perfection in art is unequivocally subjective. What one reader hails as perfection, another will throw across the room in disgust. As readers, our preferred reading experiences span the gamut from cuddly, reaffirming romances to gritty, life-challenging noir. And that’s awesome. A world without variety would leave authors with very little of interest to write about.
Because the perfect novel will never exist, authors have lots of room in which to play around and find their niches. Therefore the question isn’t so much “how to write the perfect novel” as it is “how to write your perfect novel”.

– K.M. Weiland

There is no such thing as a perfect game. No matter what genre, what theme, what mechanics you choose to limit yourself to, there is no such thing as a perfect game. No matter how good your game is there will always be someone who doesn’t like it, someone who thinks it’s stupid, or slow, or boring or just plain bad.

This is great news.

Because if there is no such thing as a perfect game there is no such thing as a universally terrible game. No matter what weird mixture of genre, theme and mechanics you choose to brew, someone will always find it fun, challenging and inspiring. Someone will always be willing to play it. There is no such thing as a universally terrible game.

Your job as a designer isn’t to create the perfect game. Your job is to create a game you are satisfied with and then find the audience who likes it. Just don’t expect anyone to like it. And don’t expect anyone to hate it. (more…)

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Stop self-doubt quote

Stop self-doubt quote I come home. Sometimes I’m so tired I just want to sleep. Other times I have chores to do, things that can’t be put off. Or I get into an argument or stuff myself with potato chips. Either way I don’t have the energy to create anything. No writing, not designing, forget that half-finished prototype.

I know that it doesn’t have to be this way.

There are ways to get started and keep going, ways that let me come home with enough time and energy to actually sit down and create something. Trouble is, they’re the small, easy to set aside things that fall away from my daily schedule when I’m stressed.

Bad idea. Bad, bad, idea.

The more stressed I am, the less I do of my Good Life Actions, the more stressed I become. Negative spiral. I know that I have trouble breaking negative spirals in my life so I created crutches. I wrote down the key points that keep me happy, motivated and able to create. These are the peripheral things that don’t directly pertain to creativity but which tend to govern it anyhow. These are the things that make me happy. I hope they’ll work for you as well. (more…)

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A messy desk is more creative

A messy desk is more creativeI love productivity tips. Reading them makes me feel supercharged, ready to take on the world. If only I’d work out for fifteen minutes each morning, if only I’d wake up earlier or always wear the same type of shirt or talk in clear, action oriented sentence.

If only I’d kept my desk spotless.

That’s one of the classic ones: keep your desk ordered and you’ll be productive. Then I look at my own desk I see, right now: a pile of papers, a half-empty 20 ounce/0.6 liter thermos tea cup, a “world’s best dad” teddy bear, a tipped over picture, an entrance pass to a conference I attended half a year ago, an entrance pass to a party I attended a month ago, another pile of papers, an ergonomic wrist support, a mouse mat stacked on top of a pile of printer paper to get it to the right height, a note with an out-of-date password to an account that was shut down months ago, another pile of scribbled papers.

Yet, somehow, I manage to write. Imagine how productive I’d be if my desk was spotless.

Except that I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work. Here’s why. (more…)

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Trigger-Habit chain

Trigger-Habit chainTake a look at what happens when you wake up in the morning. I’m pretty sure that you do most of visiting the toilet, washing your hands, brushing your teeth, dressing, making breakfast. It may not be exactly this but I’m going to make you a bet: no matter what you do in the morning you do the same things in the same order every day.

That’s because your morning routine is a ritual.

I don’t mean a chanting, dancing and sacrificing small animals type of ritual. I mean a habitual ritual, something that, once triggered, leads to a series of actions in an unchanging sequence. (more…)

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Sad face

Sad faceDon’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing… I rewrote the first part of A Farewell to Arms at least fifty times… The first draft of anything is shit.
– Ernest Hemingway

All accolades to the master and all that but Hemingway is quite wrong. The first draft of anything is glorious.

That’s because the first draft isn’t the one you set down on paper. It’s the one you see in your head.

The first paper draft of anything is shit, but the first glimpse of your idea, the first vision, is amazing. (more…)

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Inspiration Idea

Inspiration IdeaRemember that great idea you had? The one that felt so fresh, so clean, so bleeding marvelous that it sprouted tiny butterflies and the cast of Disney on Ice came by to sing the theme?

The one you put off until you finished whatever you were doing? The one that you tried getting back to, only to discover that it was marvelous – a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away?

Inspiration has a best before date. Pass it and it’s gone, burnt out on imagining instead of doing. You can still see your idea, but you can no longer feel it the same way. (more…)

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ReWork Cover ImageSome books give you knowledge. Some books give you energy. Rework is firmly in the energy category.

Rework is written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson and is culled from their (and their coworkers’ ) blog at Fried and Heinemeier are the men behind Basecamp, the collaborative platform, and several other lean productivity products and while I haven’t personally used Basecamp but I’ve heard good things about it.

Rework is a condensed version of their blog, so if you’ve been following that I’m guessing that you’ll recognize quite a lot. But if you haven’t read the blog, well, Rework puts the common, dinosaur, assumptions about running a company on their collective heads. (more…)

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FireI’ve been putting off writing. Not general writing mind you, I’ve written some 10 000 words of fiction these weeks, but writing this blog. And I think I understand why.

See, when I started here I did so because it felt fun to write. I had lots of stuff to say and I say them better in print than verbally (I tend to yak around when I talk). I had fun writing Playtesting. But then something shifted. After about a year of writing I started thinking that “hey, I’ve been doing this for a long time now, I’m good at it, perhaps I should take it to the next level”. Sounds good, right?

Except, what is the next level? (more…)

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