Motivating the Muse: Listen to Lizard Brain
You’ve got to do what scares you.
Listen to your body. When you feel your throat constrict and your heart start to pound and your breath comes in short sharp gasps you know you’ve found it, the thing that truly terrifies you.
And that thing is the key to making real progress towards your dream of going indie and making a living doing what you love.
Fear is there to tell you to protect yourself. This brilliant evolutionary signal kicks in to help us prepare for the unknown.
When you feel fear you know you’re on the threshold of adventure!
You’re about to leave your comfort zone and do something you’ve never done before and that fear is there to keep you alert. To give you the adrenaline and the focus you need to survive and thrive in the new world you’re constructing for yourself.
This fear evolved to give us a fighting chance as we moved into new territories; helping us survive the risks we needed to take to evolve as a species. Then as now, it is the key to progress.
As I experienced two weeks ago.
From my diary:
I started indieBits because I knew I wanted to help people make great games and earn a living doing what they love. That drive has built in me for years, ever since the first conversation I had with my Dad about the experiences he would create if he could quit working for big publishers and go indie.
A year ago I decided it was time to start doing what I couldn’t stop thinking of doing and actually start a business. I knew I was going to need an online space to share information and resources and connect with developers to work out a better way of making games.
So I registered indieBits, bought the domain name, started building the website and got the ball rolling by running events for local developers to share business tips and playtest games.
It’s been a year now and as I sit at the dining room table in my jammies, heart beating a million miles a minute, I finally know why I feel like I haven’t gotten anywhere at all. I started a business with the sole purpose of providing great content on how people can go indie, live well and make great games – and I have no content.
At this time of writing my website still has the same test article I posted to help me learn how to build a website with WordPress.
Why? Because that’s what I’ve been most afraid of. Writing content. Putting myself and my words out there for the world to see.
I’ve convinced myself I needed so much more before I could start writing.
Surely I needed forums, a place where indies could exchange ideas and support each other!
I would need tools to help them collaborate remotely on projects!
That means I’d definitely need pages where they could advertise and recruit for their projects!
The website needs so much more work! I can’t possibly sit down and write today when I have so much WordPress work to do!
See what I did there? I built a solid wall of defense against the unknown. All of that would need so much time, so much research, so much trial and error before I got it JUST right…
And figuring out how stuff works and finding better ways of working is something I can do well. It comes with easy personal wins, and lets me justify putting off the stuff that scares me.
I was working hard in all the wrong places instead of learning how to do what I really needed to do for indiebits to get off the ground. I needed to learn how to write great content.
Forums are great to have, and I want to implement them eventually, but there are plenty of other great forums on the interwebs already.
Collaboration tools are critical to getting projects done. How great is it that so many are available for little to no cost?
A space to advertise and recruit people for projects is going to help immensely. I’ve used Elance for that for years and the service is amazing. That’s also why I created and started running Bits & Pieces in Sydney and will continue to do so. I’ll even write-up a guide for how to run similar events for indies in other cities!
I don’t need to recreate all those services, which are already so widely available, to help people go indie and create great games.
What I do need is to start sharing what it’s taken me years to learn and understand about working with people, getting stuff done and building a community. I need to find and connect with successful indies who want to help other developers make a living creating great games.
I need to trust myself, my experience and start writing. Because the only way I’m going to learn how to create great content is by doing it.
Listen to your body and think carefully about what you haven’t been doing. About what you’ve pushed back and putting off because you’re not ready for it yet. When you feel your skin start to crawl and those brilliant evolutionary signals going off you know you’ve found it.
That’s the thing you need to do before you can leave the comfortable world of your old life and start a new chapter as the hero of your own story.
What is Lizard Brain telling you to do?
- Google Apps for Business: Mail, documents, calenders, project management, bug tracking, contact databases, invoices, etc. All through my Google account for $50 a year. Beautiful.
- Elance: I’ve hired all my outsourced talent through freelance. Post jobs, manage the project and process invoices all through the same site.
- Indiegamer Developer Discussion: The most frequented indie game developer forums I’ve found. Chat with other developers about most aspects of indie life.
- Last night’s IGDA Sydney Bits & Pieces: Thank you Tamara Van Zal for your wonderful post! Can’t wait to see some of your flash games at future Bits & Pieces events!