So, yesterday I had one of those rare, beautiful bursts of inspiration, and I was lucky enough to ride it all the way to a completed prototype.

It’s important, when You are involved in creative work, to (once again) try to strike a healthy balance between inspiration and discipline. Both are important, for different reasons, and relying too much on one or the other is a surefire way (at least in my personal experience) to burn Yourself out, and shoot Yourself in Your burned out foot just for good measure.

I’ll start with the digressive one: discipline. I’ve been working on building up discipline since January 1st, and in the past four months I’ve made great strides in that regard: Eating healthier, working out regularly, and keeping things organized… are all goals that I have largely met and kept up throughout the year.

I just made a post two days ago about how important and helpful keeping work organized can be. But discipline goes further than that: as a musician, it is important that I practice and maintain my instruments regularly. As a self-employed person, I need to set my own time aside for work each day. And as someone running a blog, I have tried my best to remain disciplined and regular since I launched.

We’ve all gone through that period of life where You want to run from responsibility and just do nothing all day. But it is important to be able to curtail that emotion, in life as well as work, because it prevents You from getting things done.

On the flip side, we have inspiration.

As I was working yesterday, I came upon an idea which seemed interesting and worthwhile. Had I not stopped to smell the roses, I simply would have let it fade into the ether… but stop I did, and now I have another complete, ready to play prototype of my newest board game (pre-alpha, of course… gotta see how it plays, which is one of the things I have planned for today).

It took me over an hour to run out of steam and call it done, but I am happy to day it worked out well.

Inspiration is a funny little facet of humanity: There is no telling where it will come from or what might cause it, but everyone is sure that it exists because it can happen to anyone at any time. However, waiting for the inspiration fairy is a silly idea, and most people (especially those in more creative lines of work) recognize that: Sitting around doing nothing all day isn’t going to inspire You to do much.

In a way, Inspiration is often born from Discipline, and should return to Discipline when it has run its course.

My point here, I suppose, is that had I remained disciplined, had I remained rigid, set in a schedule for the day, I would have missed out on something which could benefit me in the future. I would have let the most precious commodity I have, my ideas, just pass by me, noticed but not noted. And that would be a loss I might never feel directly, but would certainly feel a while from now when I had no new material to work with.

But at the same time: Had I not been working in the first place, I may well never have gotten the idea at all! If I had been playing Dark Souls, watching a show, or hanging out with friends, I would most likely have been fully focused on that, and unable to even recognize the idea for what it was.

At best, I might have made myself a note of it, and come back to the idea some 5 weeks from now, once that elusive flame of inspiration had been snuffed completely.

In short, I am glad to say I am beginning to recognize the right time to be disciplined in my life and in my work… and when it is okay to hang out, ride my interests, and go with the flow.

And that is a good thing indeed.

Categories:  games 
Tags:  productivity  process  gamedev  board game