Rhythm helps you gather momentum, and momentum helps you gather sustained enthusiasm, which gets you through the tough times. Don’t get me wrong – I am massively excited about making a game and have thought about doing it for years, but projects of this magnitude, particularly if you are doing it by yourself, are very difficult and there’s going to come a time where you question yourself. Is it still worth it? Will anyone actually like it? Am I even capable of doing this – why not leave it to people who know what they are doing. Finding a rhythm is hard and I’d encourage you to experiment – often. I am talking about working out things like:
- What time of day works best for you?
- How many hours a day/week should you work on it.
- What if something comes up – do I make up the time or forget about it.
- How can I feel like making progress without burning out?
These are all questions you are going to have to ask yourself and continue to work out by trial and error before you are completely comfortable with tackling such a large project – especially if the project isn’t your ‘day job’.
It’s taken ages for me to find the answer to this. I had originally done most of my experimentation in the after work hour’s period, as I have typically operated on night owl mode. Normally I would have gone to bed say anywhere from 12am-2am… woke up at 7:30am to start my day job at 8:30am. Occasionally I had done some work on my game after 5pm… but I love cooking and down time… so it was hard to regularly tack on some meaningful progress. So most of my progress was typically coming from the weekends, but you and I know that things come up, which meant it was even more of a blow to my headspace on overall progress when a whole day was taken out.
Doing any kind of meaningful work takes time to get your head into the right space to start crunching out progress. So lately I have been experimenting with time before work. I have shifted my 12am-2am bed time to 9:30pm – 11:00pm and now wake up at 6am. I get to work by 7am and put in a good 1.5-2hours of work on my project each day. It works well for me because there are no distractions at all until around 8:45am, which is where I usually wrap up for the day and write some notes about my progress on the Pulsa Games forums. The write up at the end of the session works really well for me because it forces me to reconvey what I have achieved and makes me feel like I have produced something – which is essential! Large projects are intimidating enough, but by making progress in smaller and more achievable ways, I feel like I am getting somewhere and feel less intimidated each day.
I would be interested to know what works for you!?