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19 Jun 2014

The Best Ways to Inspire Yourself (and Create New ideas For Your Indie Game)

No matter your field, no matter what type of creativity you are trying to unleash, we all need inspiration from time to time. It seems like you are bone dry of creativity whenever you need it the most too. Have you ever wanted to simply sit down and starting developing a game, yet you had no idea where to begin? How annoying is it to want to create something compelling so badly, yet your mind is simply blank? It’s terrible, but there are ways to fight this plague and starting thinking creatively once again.

We writers call this, “working through writer’s block,” though it isn’t isolated to just writers. It affects all creative individuals – especially indie developers. I supposed the main idea behind this post could be to, “work through indie dev’s block,” so if you’re struggling to come up with a great idea, continue reading. Below are a few tips for inspiring yourself and getting your creative juices flowing.

 

Take a shower

There’s something about taking a shower that really makes the mind wander. I have no idea why this happens either – perhaps it’s because it’s one of the only moments during the day in which we are truly alone. Add to the fact that there is something meditative about taking a shower, and it’s no wonder the mind races and our best thoughts come to us during this brief moment in time.

Try talking to yourself in the shower. You’re not crazy if you do. Think about some of the ideas you want to incorporate into your next indie game and some of the themes, characters, etc. you would like to see star in a future game. Create dialogue for them, describe places, gameplay mechanics, etc. to yourself inside the shower, and you know something? Something awesome will occur: you’ll start thinking creatively again.

Meditative and isolated, a shower is where great ideas happen. Don’t ask me what the science behind it is, just know that it works.

 

Go for a walk

I went for a 30-minute hike by myself a while back to clear my mind, and it was one of the best things I could have done creatively. When I returned home that sunny afternoon, I had ideas for blog posts for probably a week! When I left, my bucket of inspiration could not have been drier, but by stepping out of my comfort zone, clearing my head, and renewing myself, I was able to work creatively without any problems whatsoever.

I urge you to do the same when you are not feeling inspired. Get out of your comfort zone. Go walk on the beach, take a hike in the woods – heck, go walk around the block of your neighborhood. Ride a bike to the grocery store – anything to get out of your ‘funk’ and return to thinking creatively.

There’s a reason writers travel to lake houses or into the mountains to write their next novel. It’s a place that is out of their comfort zone, and they are able to think more creatively than ever. I’m not going to suggest that you pack up your bags, say goodbye to your family, and fly to a remote cabin in Wyoming to develop your next indie game, but if you think it will work? Try it! Just be sure to bring the family along.

 

Listen to music that’s out of your comfort zone

Notice a trend here? Stepping out of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to inspire yourself and think creatively.

I wrote a post a while back regarding which music genres you should listen to in order to increase productivity. The genres in this post will definitely help you to step out of your comfort zone and inspire yourself to think creatively, but I would challenge you to go a step further: listen to music you never usually listen to.

Only listen to rap? Consider classical music. Only listen to rock music? Consider bluegrass. Only listen to classical music? Listen to a few Bob Marley songs on YouTube and let your mind wander. Listening to music that we are unaccustomed to will allow us to experience new ideas for the first time, because let’s face it: when we stay in our comfort zone for far too long, it becomes much harder to be inspired. After all – it’s the basis of this post!

Do the same with films – and of course, video games! Only play endless runners on your mobile device? Try something a little different play a turn-based title on your PC. Try something different, and you’ll benefit from it creatively.

In the end, there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all approach to inspiring yourself to think creatively. Just remember:

  • Keep your mind clear when stepping out of your comfort zone.
  • Let your mind wander.
  • Don’t let your mind hold anything back.

It’s a ‘mind-over-matter’ issue, and by tackling this problem appropriately, you will be able to inspire yourself and think more creatively than ever before going forward.

 

Have any questions or comments for us? Let us know in the comments below!

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