We recently launched an exciting and fun art contest, in collaboration with Hiroki Kikuta (you can read more about it here). Although we loved reading your feedback and replies, there were several comments from fans who weren’t going to participate because they felt their art skill wasn’t good enough. That kind of comment leaves me with mixed feelings.
On one hand, I think it’s good to be aware of your limitations and to try not to bite off more than you can chew. But on the other hand, not taking that step to participate means a loss of some great one-time opportunities. And this isn’t confined to contests alone! A lot of developers have a similar attitude when it comes to sharing their games and projects, too.
Putting yourself (and your project) out there for anyone to see and judge can be a rough thing. You could find yourself with a lot of negative feedback, making you think your project is just awful. And, of course, you could also find yourself completely ignored – like you wasted your time and effort on all that development. These aren’t irrational fears, either. We’ve all got at least one Internet experience that left us angry, frustrated or sad.
To think this could be what happens when you share something you worked hard on can be a major block. Some people deal with it by making sure that their project is extra polished – but this can create even more pressure to produce something amazing. And, thus, lead to even more intense feelings when you do put yourself out there – negative feedback is taken harder, being ignored feels more devastating, and so forth.
At this point, a lot of developers burn out. They give up their current project and start something new. Maybe a smaller project, this time – something that you can finish making. And in theory, that’s the perfect solution. A smaller scale means a better chance to get things just right, plus it doesn’t give your dev reputation a hit (like that lame, hurried game release might).
But if your attitude hasn’t changed – if you’re still trying to only produce and share the best game ever while comparing it to AAA games on the market, the solution won’t work. You’ll probably still find yourself with the same fears, the same frustrations and the same challenges as before. Only, this time you might be even harder on yourself when things go wrong.
So, maybe it’s time to challenge that attitude and do something different!
Putting yourself out there is terrifying, but it gets heck-of-a-lot easier with experience. Whether you’re left with a feeling that it wasn’t so bad, or you got the worst feedback ever, you’ve got the opportunity to learn and grow. Sharing something you do care about down the line will be easier.
Don’t let yourself and your attitude stand in the way of success. Hold your breath, close your eyes and just jump in.