Maintaining Forward Momentum

Sometimes it’s difficult to do the things you love. Obstacles sap you of your momentum and threaten to put your plans on hold.

The biggest obstacle for me right now is my full time job. I appreciate employment and the ability to support myself, my girlfriend/partner, and my budding business. And while my job does supply me with plenty of motivation to start my own company, it’s very difficult to come home after an 8+ hour shift and immediately jump into job number two for the remainder of the day.

So far, building my company and game has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I’m excited at the hopes of joining Colleen and doing this full time someday. But just like with anything, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Making a game is a lot of hard work and being a company comprised of only one and a half people, we have to wear many hats. It’s great having complete control over the tiniest details that go into your game, but at the same time, some hats fit better than others. The ones that don’t fit particularly well can cause frustration and make for a miserable project.

Procrastination, laziness, and distractions are all evils I face everyday. An initial abundance of time given for a project allows me to feel safe and so I wait until the last minute to get things done. I have a job that pays our bills and feeds us. That allows me the luxury to have the mindset that there is no real urgency to complete our games and get our business off the ground. Someone else’s game just came out and I’m a huge fan, so there goes a week or two of productivity. I’m about to get started on a project, but first let me see what’s going on in my favorite chat room. There goes my whole day.

Sometimes we’re not as strong as we would like others to think we are. For every game and music idea that flows through my head, for every inspiration, there is a doubt that shadows it. “Will all this be a waste of time?” “Are we just kidding ourselves?” “Are our ideas and dreams silly to others?” “How many more projects can we sustain on a single income budget?”

We small indies are the new starving artists. Only there is usually a lot more involved with our craft. Just like many people all over, I’m living in a world of overwork, sacrifice, uncertainty, and an incredible amount of stress. Only I’m causing it all for myself.

But despite my fears, I’m a firm believer in perseverance and hard work. I believe that talent is rewarded and that people genuinely want us to succeed. Every task complete in a project is a victory which brings a great feeling of confidence and satisfaction. The deeper I get into my own projects, the less compelled I feel to procrastinate or spend all day playing online.

I look forward to the fun parts of being creative and that helps push me through the rough areas, the “work”. Keeping my game and company on my mind throughout the day gets me eager to work on it when I get home. Doing things like this blog and reading other developer’s blogs inspire me.

I’m very fortunate to have such a beautiful and talented life and business partner. We’re like Yin and Yang with our skill sets. She programs and paints, while I compose and animate. The two of us alone cover the spectrum of what we need for the types of games we make.

Social media sites give us exposure we could only dream of otherwise. The creator of one of my favorite games since I was a kid expressed interest in playing our game once it’s finished. It could have just been causal chat, who knows, but that was a huge morale boost for me, personally.

But definitely, the biggest motivation of all is that although we have shown very little of our game so far, we are already receiving encouraging emails from random people looking forward to playing it. So from that, I’m swollen with confidence. When I think of those emails, I feel like a super sonic fighter jet with unlimited momentum, locked, loaded, eager to give them our best and grow into something that I can truly say is real.