Avoiding the spiral of doubt and shame


I was directed towards this post on gamasutra – http://gamasutra.com/blogs/EthanLevy/20140320/213611/Escaping_the_Indie_Shame_Spiral.php – which has some really interesting things to say on motivation and  how to start to avoid the “shame spiral” that I think anyone who sets themselves goals and struggles to achieve them will be familiar with.

It goes something like this:

Start something with excitement, ambition and impossible goals. Fail to meet impossible goals. Beat self up about not meeting them, think work done so far is rubbish and you’d be better off anywhere but here.

Sounds familiar! There’s usually a stage in a project when you think everything you’ve written or created should simply go in the bin after all, or when you’re trying to lose weight, and don’t meet your target so go out and get a doughnut to make you feel better!

Reading the post and some of the comments is a great idea. There’s some really interesting points in it, like:

  • Allocate ‘points’ to projects which represent time. nothing should have more than 3 points, which is half a week. It’ll help you be more realistic about what you can do in the time you have – so you won’t set impossible goals.
  • Allocate points to personal tasks too, so you don’t get a false sense of achievement when you’ve balanced your cheque book and emptied the laundry!
  • Track what went well and what didn’t. No judgement, just hard data.

I also really like the idea of a commitment device – basically, promise to deliver something publicly and then doing so. If you’re trying to get in shape, make it a sponsored run, if you’re writing a novel, post on Wattpad regularly. I’ve been trying to do that more on this blog, making sure I post more often, and would like to extend that to writing fiction for both it and perhaps Wattpad as well. Short story competitions are also great – but remember not to set the impossible deadlines!

What would your ideal commitment device be?




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