You need to help yourself get through the tough spots and slow patches of game design and a great way to do that is by doing the little things on a regular (daily) basis.
Using brainstorming as an example, if you spend a little bit of time each day thinking of new ideas, you will have a portfolio of ideas to access down the road when you need a new project to work on. The 10 minutes you spend everyday thinking of new ideas are going to add up over the course of time. Even over the course of your current project, you could put in 20 hours of brainstorming in 10 minute increments assuming you are working on you project for 6 months. The idea you can generate in that time will be plentiful and if you spend time refining old ideas, you will have quality ideas as well.
Creating a Backlog
Lets assume you have two or three main projects right now. If you find a way to work on secondary projects in small ways on a regular basis, you can piece together secondary projects to prepare them for the time when they become the main focus. For a concrete example, I have been collecting and creating prototype pieces for a baseball game we plan to work on in 2015. I don’t spend more than 5 minutes to place an order, or look for potential pieces when I am out an about but I am building the pieces I need. Then we get to a point where our current projects are onto production, we will have all we need hit the ground running with our new projects. Take this example and apply that to the number of projects we have waiting to be worked on, we have created a backlog for ourselves that is staged and already prepped. The minutes I spend doing these little things for secondary games saves us hours getting re-familiarized with the game and doesn’t kill the momentum we are building from completing main projects.
This is by far the easiest little thing you can do on a daily basis. Meet and talk to the people that are part of this hobby. We are lucky enough to be able to live on twitter during the day. When we started we had a couple interactions with people on a weekly basis. Now that we have been on Twitter for 9 months, we get to talk to new people almost on a daily basis. The conversation might be a 4 tweet exchange, but that little exchange could turn into a regular game friendship 6 months from now.
Time is a Pain and an Asset
The fact that games take so long to design makes being a designer very difficult. Designers need the drive, focus, and energy to keep going. The asset side of the time it takes to design games is the fact that there is huge opportunity to get the little things done on a regular basis.
If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.