During times of collaboration, especially when working on the same document, Anne and I throw out ideas and they mesh, they work, it’s great. I’m sure you’ve had that feeling during a team meeting – the energy feels contagious. Everybody’s in the same groove and each idea adds upon the other. Soon, you’re all ready to go to work and produce the vision of the game you all see in your heads.
But what about those times when you’re tired and the inspiration just won’t come?
Julia Cameron, author of the The Artist’s Way, tells creatives to “fill the well” and go out on “artist dates” to prevent inspirational dry spells. By this, she means, go out and do something interesting. Go to a movie, an art show, maybe inspiration will hit you. Or you can call this research. As Tim Schafer once said at GDC, research is something you do until you figure out what you’re going to do with your game.
Shigeru Miyamoto said in his 2007 GDC Keynote that he found inspiration for his game designs in everyday activities, such as walking his dog and gardening. Think about Claude Monet… he painted his water garden for 30 years! I too have found that inspiration can come from anyplace, anytime, but mostly, I think it has to do with my finding a quiet center. I write in noisy hotel lobbies but I also write in public gardens with only the sounds of water and buzzing bees reaching my ears.
It helps to recall how you felt when you were in a meditative space. Maybe it was at the Rothko Chapel. Maybe you were riding solitary on your motorbike. Meditative spaces can be found everywhere.
Most recently, I recall an experience at last year’s Come Out and Play Festival in New York City. Across from the hubbub, I sat in a darkened multimedia installation, watching synthetic meteors hit New York City. It repeated over and over. It was quiet except for the supposed sound of impact on cityscape. I felt calmness. I was quiet.
Meditative spaces are different for each person. What I described works for me, but it may not work for you. What method do you use to recharge your inspiration?