The Joy of Making
March 9, 2018

I’ve spent a long time stressing about not having enough money. In truth, I have enough to live on — I can pay my bills every month and can even occasionally put a tiny bit into savings — but that’s not quite the same as having enough to feel insulated from unexpected hardships.

This (perhaps unwarranted) stress has, I think, made me forget how to have hobbies, how to want to make things for the sheer joy of making them and for no other reason. Whenever an idea occurs to me nowadays, it must be passed through the filters of “but will anyone like it?” or “but how much money will it make?” or “but do you have the time?” or “but do you have the skills?” It doesn’t matter what the answers to those questions are; the point is that I’ve apparently lost the ability to make things for fun.

I want to regain that ability. But I don’t know quite how to do that. One exercise that always rejuvenates my enthusiasm for hobbies is making games for game jams. When I make a game for a jam, I know that it’s going to be a prototype, that it almost certainly won’t be able to be sold as-is; in other words, I know that it will have no practical value when it’s finished. Nevertheless, I love making games for jams. What other game-jam-like things could help to lift me out of this rut? Maybe writing jams or music composition jams could be fun. Also, is there a specific pattern of thinking that would generally help (besides merely trying to turn off those filters)? Maybe. Well, any advice you could give would be appreciated.