I've always found a blank canvas to be completely overwhelming. What should I create? What if I make a mistake and ruin it? What if I create something that isn't any good?
This is something I'm running into again, but in a slightly different way.
I recently discovered agtools, a framework for building ST game prototypes. I grew up creating software for the ST, but I never had the ability to make what was in my head. I feel like I've learnt a few tricks since then, so I was excited to try out building something new.
But I still don't have the ability to make what's in my head.
Instead of being scared of this huge blank canvas, my mind is racing with the possibilities of what I could fill it with. But that first brush stroke ultimately leads to disappointment, and what I create looks nothing like I wanted.
When I was younger I loved buying sketchbooks and artist's pencils. They always had fantastic illustrations on the front, so surely if I bought them I'd be able to do the same. Alas, these supplies did not come with any spare talent.
Sometimes I worry that I'm cursed with Philip J Fry's stupid fingers.
But the truth is that I'm trying to run before I can walk. I would never try to lift heavy weights without working up to it, but for some reason I think I can pick up a set of tools and bust out a new game without trying something small first.
I think this is the perfect use-case for deliberate practice. My mind always goes straight to creating something ridiculously large instead of focusing on something small and attainable. I'll get the idea for a game, and before long it's mutated into an epic 12 part adventure that I could never realistically create.
So in the end nothing gets done. The idea remains a collection of thoughts floating in the ether.
But if I focused on creating something small - and I do mean small - I could actually finish it. Framing it as a practice project gives it the structure it needs without the pressure to create something great. Not every idea will be a winner, and that's fine.
It's okay to fill the empty page with scribbles.