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Article by muddasheep, December 14th 2004, 19:38:44
|I've been asked a few times how I can complete a game, how I can complete whole projects where others get stuck even before they begin. Thus, I write this. I've developed a few methods in the past years on how to motivate myself to work and I'd like to share them with whoever reads this. I know that there are a lot of projects out there that have been a small idea in someone's head and shortly after the first steps they got canceled. I want people to finish their projects because an abandoned project is like an abandoned child.
--~ Reality ~--
First of all, I'm talking about personal projects here. Projects that don't give you money once it is finished. I'm talking about personal goals. The first problem you will encounter when you're about to produce a huge project, is your real life and, more specifically, time. Such projects need a lot of time to get done. You need to sacrifice time with your friends, time with your boy/girlfriends and time with your family. You need to grow a bit egoistic and close the door, quit chatting and playing. People who don't want to invest time will abort their project after a few weeks or even days.
--~ Illusion ~---
No matter what you're creating, is it a book, is it a webcomic, a game or a song. You need to be inside. You need to be inside the world you create, you need to live in there and look around and see what the place needs. If you understand the thing you're creating, it's easily created. You must love your child if you want it to love you. Smile, and it will smile back.
--~ Solution 1 ~--
Plan ahead. The number one reason I heard from people who stopped their project was that they didn't know how to continue. They had exactly one idea, and that was it. If you only have one idea and you really enjoy it, let it wait a bit. Be patient. The more you think of that idea, the more ideas will come. Write it down, make a mind-map of some sort. Write what you're thinking and tell yourself what you want with that idea. Then, go away from it, leave it to rest. A child needs sleep if it wants to grow up healthy. And then, when you at least expect it, another idea will come and get you. That's when you continue writing.
--~ Solution 2 ~--
You have the basic plan, you start with your work. Another reason for people to quit working is that they think it is too huge, it literally smashes them because of all the things their projects need. Well, I say, nothing is too huge. Everything can be done. You have approximately 60 years to work on it. So, take your time. Start small and simple. Don't think of the last part of your story that requires like 30 years to be created. Forget that! Let your sheets with your notes deal with it. You're here to eat the whole pie bit by bit. Start small or you'll choke.
--~ Solution 3 ~--
You're in the middle of the project and you're stuck. You don't know if people will like it, it doesn't seem to pay off, you're about to quit because you see what still lies before you, the giant mountain. And below you all you see is the far away ground. If you quit now you'll fly down there and end up dead. But don't look back in fear, look back for motivation. You've come that far! Isn't it amazing? Do you see all those small hills over there? Those are the projects that haven't even started! And do you see the mountain you're about to climb? That's your project that'll cast its shadow upon them all. Now, go ahead, slowly but steady.
--~ Solution 4 ~--
When working on a project I sometimes sit back and imagine that I was a friend of mine, or even better, someone I don't know and someone who doesn't have any hard feelings saying hard things to me about my work. Then I go through the project and say: "Alright, that sucks, that sucks, that needs improvement, and what the hell is that? Are you kidding?"
Now, I mostly crush my head on the table, but the thing is, if you find something that doesn't fit, remove it. Rewrite it. Redo it. Burn it, and recreate it from its ash.
How? Well, remember being that rude stranger. Now, take a sheet of paper and write down everything you find wrong or displaced. And from now on, each day you'll handle one of that points and you'll see that mostly you're so motivated that you're gonna do even 2 or 3 of them, because it's only 2 or 3, not 50 or 60.
--~ Solution 5 ~--
You asked a friend for criticism and he gave you criticism. Now you're broken. Remember that tastes are different. Ask others what they say to you. Though if they have all the same opinion (especially if you think so too) it'd be better to go over that one thing again as described in Solution 4.
--~ Solution 6 ~--
Laziness? What's that?
You come home after a whole day at the office, you sit back, turn on the TV, or play some games. It's still 7 p.m., so that are approximately 5 hours until you need to go to bed. And you play until 1 a.m. and go to bed, still with your project in your head. Oh, you can't fall asleep because you feel that you cheated on your project? How come?
Honestly, everyone needs a break. But once you start working on your project again you can't stop anymore. You just need to start! Think of the time you'd waste in front of your TV watching silly shows, or think of the senselessness of the game. Don't you want to create something? Be the man/girl behind the curtain? If you don't feel like working at all, you can do something small for your project. Maybe there are some small things like writing a small storyline, or making small pictures, things that do not require a lot of effort can still be very satisfying. And believe me, once you've done a bit for your project you'll fall to bed with a satisfied smile.
--~ Solution 7 ~--
You can force yourself to work on something that's already planned. BUT, don't try to force yourself to get ideas. You CAN'T force ideas to come out. If you don't have anything to work on for your project and it all depends on daily ideas (like a webcomic for example, but even a webcomic can be planned way ahead), TAKE a break. Play games, watch TV, read a book, listen to music, do something silly! When watching TV or playing games or watching nature I've had my best inspirations. And then, after you've taken a few notes for that idea, wait until the idea is ready to be born. Then, work on it.
--~ Solution 8 ~--
I've experienced a major depression when creating music and then listening to professional music, like Nine Inch Nails. I always said to myself, I can't do that. I'm not good at creating music, I'll quit.
But then I thought: Of course I can't do that. It's not my music, it's the music of someone else. If I could do that, I'd just copy it. I'm creating music to make my own world. I don't care if a music does sound better because it's music from the big guys up there. Think of the artists who could sell their pants just because they have a well known name. Don't look up to people. Let them inspire you to create your own things, but don't try to beat them. Beating them would mean to copy them, and even then you couldn't beat them, because you've got a different name. Create your own world and inspire others. Those people you look up to are only people who once were at the same place where you are - at the beginning.
--~ Solution 9 ~--
Screw genres. Screw categories. Screw people who tell you that you're writing a "Thriller", that you're producing "Rock/Industrial". Stop trying to create a "Roleplaying Game Based on the 531ASDF RulesÃ¢â€žÂ¢". Screw norms. Screw rules. This is your project, and it will only fit in one category: Finished Projects.
--~ Solution 10 ~--
Everything can be done if you work on it. There's nothing that can't be achieved. Ignore people who tell you "Dude, that's too big. You're never gonna make it."
You will make it and you're gonna show them your finished project and people will look up to you and show respect with their mouths wide open.
--~ Conclusion ~--
Do you know the feeling if you get a message, open it and it's like 50 pages long? All you say is: "Woah!", scroll through it, shake your head and close it. This is a good example for projects: Don't look at the whole text because it'll crush you like an elephant would crush a mouse. Read it sentence by sentence, page by page. Make yourself some deadlines, like, everyday you'll read AT LEAST one page. Not less. And soon it will become a "habit" and your project will smile and be happy.
So far, my theories about motivation. I hope I could help at least a few people out there. Stay creative and innovative.
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