a question about motivation

Okay, I’m new to this so don’t make fun of me. :stuck_out_tongue:

What do you do after you spent hours working on a story one day and then the weekend comes along or something fun like that and when you try to start again on your story you just don’t feel like working on it anymore? I don’t mean I ran out of ideas, or writers block, but I mean I just look at what I did and I’m all like, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… lots of black on white blurring to grey…and then the TV starts to get interesting even though its only the History channel :astonished: or I’m like texting my friends to come get me and lets go do something. :sunglasses:

I thought this would be so easy, but sometimes I feel like I’m at school and my Dad gets all excited and gives me Inform 7 homework… Geeez! :open_mouth:

I was so into it last week and I didn’t do anything this weekend and my story seems boring now and I haven’t really started writing it yet. Prolly why I’m writing this huh. Maybe I’ll delete it now… Hmmmmmmm… Nah. :wink:

Seriously though. What do you do for motivation? Please tell me somethign helpful!!! Thanks.

Well, it’s better to work out that your story’s boring early on, rather than after you’ve put a ton of work into it. The first things that people write in IF do tend to come out pretty boring: we call those My Apartment games, because often the first thing people implement is their boring apartment or dorm-room. Lots of people have done this, so you shouldn’t worry too much about it; you can always start again on a project that interests you more.

If you think that there really is some good stuff in your project and you’re just tired, there are various things you can do. You can take a break from the project; when you come back to it you’ll be better able to judge whether it’s worth keeping up with. If it’s in a reasonably playable state, you can send it out for alpha-testing and get second opinions about what needs to be done, although it doesn’t sound as if you’re at that stage yet. You can steal the parts of the game that you like and put them in a new piece.

Or, if you’re pretty sure that you’ve got something worth working on and you’re just demotivated, you can tough it out and grind through it. (This is a lot easier to do if you have a good idea of how much work remains on a project.) Sometimes this is necessary; sometimes it’s a total waste of time. Writing IF is pretty hard; you need to develop a lot of different skills. But it can be really rewarding.

The other thing that’s good for motivation, I find, is to play (or think about, or write about) some good IF.

(Also, grain of salt; I’m the last person qualified to give advice about motivation. I’ve abandoned countless projects, and only finished small ones.)

Well, I personally do the worst thing one can do when it comes to efficiency: I’m working on six games simultanously. Used to be three, but I had these good ideas for decent plots and wrote done some summaries on paper and it it turned out one could indeed make a game out of it and I started to program just one single room and now… I’m always working on whichever game I want to work on most, which makes working on it seem less like work. Makes it unlikely I’ll ever finish one, but I’m doing it coz I enjoy making up stories and putting them into code, not coz I desperately need to enter a competition over the next few weeks.

Further more, finding someone to give my game stubs a look motivates me further. People actually running through my creations.

And when the sun is shining, I’m going to beach clubs with my friends. It’s raining so often here I still find enough time for programming :wink: Especially since I rate programming (or writing on a plot, which is part of it) to have a higher entertainment value than watching TV. So if I’m alone at home instead of partying with friends, I’m programming.

That’s just me, of course.

I think some people try to do a certain amount of work each day, even if that means forcing themselves to do so. For me, that doesn’t work too well. If I reach a point where I just don’t have the drive to continue, I’ll take a break for a few days or maybe a week. Then, I’ll try to come to the work with a clearer head and, hopefully, will be able to make more progress than if I’d tried to force it. Bottom line is you’ve got to find the approach that works for you.

Robert Rothman

Wow guys, I’m so flattered that you wrote so much good advice, I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously. You make me want to do well. :slight_smile:

(whats game stubs? I googled it and only got confused…)

Games with four rooms, no described items and one autistic NPC which are supposed to be extended into masterpieces of interactive fiction over the next five years.

lol Got it. :slight_smile:

I have exactly one game stub then. No, two, if you count the homework Dad made me do. :wink:

One of the main things I do to help me finish projects is to do really small projects. I know that sounds practically tautological, but, seriously, having some “so easy you can finish it in under a day” projects is good for the soul, and will help motivate you to work on the harder and longer-term projects in turn.

The problem, of course, is that projects always seem really easy when you’re coming up with them and you see all the pieces fitting together in your mind all perfectly. So an important skill to develop is to recognize what kinds of things are actually quick yet satisfying. Personally, I keep a text file of silly one-off ideas, that might not be enough to actually write a game around, but could be fun to try to implement. You might also find inspiration in past Speed-IF prompts.

Honestly, I’m motivated most often by games written by others that didn’t quite live up to their potential. I become filled with a need to show them how it could have been done :wink:

That sounds more like whats possible for me at this point. I’ll read up on Speed-IF.
Of course, everything is a big project to me right now.

That’s interesting. So far I’ve played some good ones. I’m in one where I’m a baby boy on the floor and I’m trying to get my favorite toy. I’m totally stuck, but it’s still really fun! (Oh, it’s called Childs Play by Graham Nelson maybe you could google it.) :slight_smile:

I haven’t played the game, but I would guess that ultimately there is a way to get your favorite toy. That is one of the respects in which IF is better than real life. There are others (such as the fact that real life doesn’t have an “undo” command). Not to mention the fact that in IF, if you do manage to get yourself into an unwinnable situation, you can always restart. Alas.


Child’s Play is by Stephen Granade, not Graham Nelson.

Oops! :blush:

I opened the game to see how I made the mistake: The first line of credits says:

I was in such a hurry to get the information that I skimmed that line and then went back to fill it in. And I thought I was being so mature to give the authors name when I suggested it. :blush: This time I couldn’t find his name either until I went to the screen called TINY PRINT, where it has his name by the copyright thingy. Oh well. Lesson learned. Move on. Nothing to see here folks. :wink: :blush:

Not a big deal – easy mistake to make. No praise; no blame.

If you want to check the publication details of a game and you can’t find them on the first screen, it’s often easiest to look it up on http://www.ifdb.org or http://www.ifwiki.org/ instead.

One of the things I do is to give myself a deadline. It could be a comp or it could be a personal deadline of some kind. Once I’ve got it, then I figure out why I want playtests by, and then I litter my Google calendar with reminders to make sure I hit the deadlines.

Another thing that worked really well for motivation was to have a coauthor. On One Eye Open, Colin Sandel and I kept each other motivated until the very end. (We were exhausted wrecks at that point, but still.)

Well, I haven’t written any IF myself yet, but when it comes to my other hobbies like music or programming, the same problem arises and sometimes you just have to force yourself to sit down and start working on it. After about 5 or 10 minutes you’ll find that you’re getting into it and the creative forces start flowing again. It’s always just that initial hump that can sometimes be difficult to get over.

Yes, the initial hump. Though I have found that for me at least IF has far less of an initial hump than writing non-interactive fiction, because it is so easy to get started with programming. “Let me just fix that one little bug” is all you need to think, you do it, have a feeling of success, and before you know it you have spent hours more on your project. Somehow, “Let me just write one good sentence for this novel” doesn’t motivate in the same way.

This is a little weirder in IF than in linear fiction, but when I was writing a lot of stories, I would prime the pump each day by rereading what I’d written the day before. This still sometimes works for IF – play through yesterday’s work, then go on from there, either revising the last bit or writing the next bit.

In some ways, this may be even more useful for IF than for traditional writing. Playing through yesterday’s work in IF allows you not only to get back into the swing of the story, but also to discover technical problems that you may have missed. Some days you might feel like spending time on fixing the technical glitches; other days, you might feel more creative and want to move ahead with the story line. Either one is progress.

Robert Rothman

Another tip is to divide and conquer. Some days you might be more in the mood for programming, some days you might be more in the mood for editing your text, some days might be better for just sitting with a pencil and paper and jotting notes.