Simon J McDonnell

Creating cool stuff

Creating stuff is hard


I played The Beginners Guide today.

I won’t give the story away, but let’s just say it’s a walking simulator about creation and how creation is experienced, from a couple of different perspectives.

It got me thinking about how much I create, which is none. It made me feel kind of bad about it, but also not so bad? A mix of emotions. Some of the levels presented in the game are pretty fragmentary, some are broken, but some are small and focused and finished. This made me think of my worries when I open up Unity or fire up Visual Studio. I’m so scared of how people might perceive the stuff I make. In my mind when I complete something it has to be great! It has to be something that other people can look at and feel admiration at. I don’t think this is a healthy attitude to have, but it’s a hard one to shake.

Creating stuff is easy

It’s very easy to bring up a blank page and fill it with lines. It’s easy to record yourself shouting in a mic. It’s easy to make a game where you do nothing. Creation itself is really easy. Creating something that you’re proud of is hard. How do we measure our pride at something? Well it’s just something we feel when we’re done maybe. For me a lot of the time it’s when other people see it. I apparently need a lot of external validation for the things I do. This isn’t the most wonderful thing ever.

I like to see myself as a hermit. Myself and Laurel often contrast ourselves like that. She’s the extroverted social one, I’m the one that’s fine with just being alone for extended periods of time. In some ways it’s true. I like to be alone with my thoughts. But in a very important way I need people, I need them to approve of what I am and what I do. It might be healthier to be another way, but I’m not sure how you get to that point. Do I ever want to get to the point where I don’t care what people think? Probably not, but it’d be nice to get to the point where I care more about what the people close to me think, instead of just everyone.


I’m not depressed, which I realise is something that depressed people say, but bear with me. I’m just struggling to be creative right now, because I feel like I’m in a funk, and I like to think of myself as someone who creates. Or rather, I would like to be someone who creates, I don’t really think of myself like that, but I would like to.

Something The Beginners Guide showed me is that it’s okay to create small things. Everything doesn’t have to be the best and biggest thing. Every work does not have to be your magnum opus. You don’t even have to show anyone the things you make, they can be just for you. Just for you.

So I might make some small things, that might be nice.

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