Break the Block

Hi folks! So last week I posted an update which included my unfortunate realisation that at some point in the last few months I’d hit something all designers dread; Writer’s Block. Now this really sucked, but I was super lucky to have a very supportive family and friends around, in particular my wife who helped me talk through it and take the metaphorical Creative Jackhammer to that Block and crush it to Creative aggregate and spread it on my Creative Zen Garden (too much metaphor? Sorry, aren’t you glad I’m not a writer!).

Blank design
No one wants to stare at this at the design table…

So here’s how I got through this tough time in mini-nutshells of bullet-pointed goodness: – Review your day to day routine: At the time I found this WB, I was the full time carer for my baby daughter plus organising things for Ghostel with the rest of the Tinkerbots, as well as writing for Geek Pride UK and researching new games. I was so busy I missed out on time to actually sit down to design. After realising this, I was able to re-prioritise and magically found an extra half hour a day to get some prototyping done. – Don’t push it: Once I knew the WB was looming in my way, I found myself actively trying to force ideas out. But ideas for me are like stubborn children. If I try to push my brain to produce something, all I get is crossed arms and pouting, without any results. But if I just let the old grey matter to percolate without my interference, it always eventually does what I need. – Don’t give up on other hobbies: Brains need fuel to work to their full potential. A few months ago I found I’d stopped listening to podcasts, reading novels and even playing video games. To compound this, I was playing fewer board games and restricting myself to games I already knew as I was too tired and frazzled to learn any new ones. The result was I wasm’t stimulated enough; without other media, I had no seeds from which to grow new concepts of design. Some people can work in a vacuum, but sadly I’m not one of them.

Make sure you get some game time in!
Make sure you get some game time in!

– Look back at what you have already accomplished: Something I forgot was all the prototypes and notebooks I’d gotten stacked up in my boxes of game design bits and bobs. By looking back, I realised I hadn’t just ‘dried up’ creatively; there was still plenty in the tank, I justed needed to re-tap it. Another plus was finding little nuggets and half-baked concepts and putting them back in my noggin’s melting pot. So how about you?

  • Have you ever suffered the dreaded Block?
  • Do you have any techniques for breaking through and getting the juices flowing again?
  • Have you found any of the suggestions above useful?

Get in contact on twitter, send a tweet to @TinkerbotGames or to me directly at @Zombevan

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