Eh, I’m tired. It’s hard to focus, hard to create. It’s hard to be the person that makes things.

I don’t know if it’s like this for everyone, but for me part of the process of creativity is the process of meta-creativity. In order to produce art, I first must shape myself into the kind of person who produces art. An artist, I suppose. At one point in my life, I thought of this, inasmuch as I thought of it at all, as a singular act of creation, or of becoming; that I would take the classes, get the practice in, and become That Guy Who Makes Games.

I was simultaneously overcomplicating and oversimplifying with that perspective. At the core of things, becoming That Guy Who Makes Games really only requires making games: Accumulating some preconceived set of skills was largely an excuse to defer the labor of making the games themselves, so in that sense I made things more complicated in an effort to avoid work that was difficult and confusing. I still find myself doing this. I still find myself preparing instead of working towards a goal in a more concrete way. Sometimes it is, in fact, necessary – so there’s no simple answer, there. All you can do is pay attention to when preparation works for you and when it doesn’t, observe when trying to learn how to do something is a step towards doing that thing or a cognitive obstacle to going right ahead and doing it now.

I was also oversimplifying things in my belief that That Guy Who Makes Games is a cogent and singular identity. In fact, there is a different guy who makes each and every game, and bits of who that person is fall away and grow back and that’s what makes each game different. Being and becoming is an endless task, and hard work. To cease that effort, though, is to succumb to decline and decay; if not necessarily literal death, then at least death as an artist.

So right now it feels like a little piece of me has fallen away. And in a little while maybe I’ll pick that piece up and continue on, or perhaps I’ll find another suitable piece to fit in its place. The line blurs again and again between he who creates and he who is created

As long as I keep my eyes open I’ll find what I need.

  1. When I feel lost, I often find myself in what I do and the things I create – and especially the people around me. I hope you find that missing “piece” of you soon.

  2. Do you find ‘getting into character’ helps you create?

    • Hmm. I don’t think it’s exactly getting into character, since once you construct an identity it becomes who you are, so there’s not really that shift — but it’s helpful to kind of have the same sort of external understanding you would have of a character, to be able to think with a bit of clarity and distance about what you want and why. It’s helpful to ask what your motivation is.

  3. Rich1UP said:

    This post really resonated with me. Thank you, for offering some guidance (even if unintentional) on this perplexing process of being creative. I will try to keep my eyes open for this cognitive obstacle too.

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