Starting to Finish
I want to get better at going from IDEA to FINISHED WORK. I imagine I have this in common with pretty much everybody who makes anything, and I’m motivated by the dozens of times over the past months I’ve gotten stuck in that squishy middle WORK IN PROGRESS step. So now I ask myself “Why do I get stuck? And how can I stop getting stuck?”
My first instinct is to say, “Well just suck it up and keep working. Focus on ONE thing.Keep your head down. Develop, test, tinker, repeat. FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED.” And while that would help to some degree, it’s hard to finish something when I know neither how to get to the ending nor even what the ending is! most definitely help.
Lately, I’ve been working on a game that has me looking at the problem from a different angle. It’s encouraging me instead to start what I can finish. And this advice is so damn obvious I may as well write it down.
It’s a little game with a simple premise. I could map out the whole thing including the design of all the levels in twenty minutes. I know how I’d like my work on it to progress and how I’d like the player to progress from start to finish. Sure, this may change as I develop, and that’s great, but I’m starting from a place of “I know what this is and that I can do it.” It’s much more encouraging.
Amorphous, ambitious, undefined games are good in their own right, and I can certainly learn a lot from working on some, but at this point, they’re not going to help me go from IDEA to FINISH LINE no matter how hard I try to force myself to “finish what I’ve started.” By starting something I can finish, I can already see the finish line, and it’s getting closer.