• Create Account

# Where do you fill up the void deep within when you're demotivated by external issues in programming?

Old topic!

Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

13 replies to this topic

### #1tom_mai78101  Members   -  Reputation: 639

Posted 11 June 2011 - 12:20 PM

TL;DR, I know. You may skip on down and read the question underneath the line near the bottom of this post.

For once, it's a rather dull experience I've ever had, something that's totally meaningless in my entire life.

I was told by an experienced programmer residing currently half a world apart, who has seen some dark sides within the gaming industry over there, that I "might as well give up when you're programming at such a pace."

At first, I was doing some programming practices with an alternate library, SDL, and I shared a small bit of my unfinished project to some of my classmates. One of them decided to ask the programmer, who for some reasons had been in contact for some time, and wanted to help me seek some helpful advices from that person.

This programmer, as described by that classmate, is part of the hardware engineering team in Nintendo, which they develop the Nintendo 3DS. The classmate told me in a more direct approach, saying the programmer did gave some advices:

• Programming like this isn't going to take you to far places. (Describing how my project is really small and noticeably useless, which in truth, it is useless.)
• Don't keep reading programming books, learn to read some other books that are not programming related. (Been reading too many programming books that I'm stuck in wrong places.)
• You have not devoted a lot when you're writing this. Especially this rather small and crude project, it looks like you're just following tutorials and not actually learning how to use them. (I always follow in other programmer's footsteps when it comes to learning APIs.)
• If your family is able to afford you higher education, you're best bet is to give up programming for the time being and finish your Master's degree. Then come back. (Don't know if it's encouraging...)

I don't know if I should heed the programmer's advices, as the classmate said his voice on Skype sounds like he doesn't really care about me or my future. I haven't heard how he actually sounds like, but here's where the problem comes in.

After a week or two, the words my classmate told me haunt me. Whenever I turn on my computer, I started thinking about myself for not able to finish what I had started a long time ago (Not about to finish reading a single programming book), and decided to try starting over. The more I read, the more tiring I get. This went on through a holiday season here, with each day not able to force myself to start programming. I was able to finish my programming homework and turn it over on time, I couldn't do anything else outside of the curriculum.

In my current state, whenever I think about Visual Studio, or look at the programming books I used to grab off the shelves and start reading, my guts feel like I couldn't achieve anything and that I have no knowledge about the APIs I was about to learn. And now, with the final exams coming, I couldn't bring myself to do anything productive. Someone described my status as "demotivated", hence the title.

I wanted to know how programmers / developers fill up the hollow void inside of you, how do you get your motivation back up and running, like it was used to a few weeks ago? Since I was affected by the programmer's advices (shown with listed dots), are they all telling the truth?

### #2Servant of the Lord  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 33029

Posted 11 June 2011 - 12:42 PM

It happens occasionally (actually, frequently). You need to have one or two other interests that you can turn to, to fill your time when you aren't motivated to code.
Right now when I can't bring myself to code on my project (which I've been working on for a year, and am four months behind my own schedule on), I start making pixel art for the game, or I go play a video game.
Making pixel art gives me a creative output, and helps further my project content-wise. Once my level editor is working again, level design could be another creative output.
Playing video games (which I rarely do anymore, since I started programming) gets my 'game design' juices flowing, and starts me day-dreaming up all kinds of game, which makes me long to get back into coding... except usually I want to scrap my project and move on to the newest idea. I don't let myself (anymore). I find it hard to focus on things, or to force myself to do things, but after forcing myself to complete my first game, forcing myself to finish my second is becoming slightly easier.
Sometimes, I have to give myself a break from one project, and give myself two or three weeks max to play around with something else. This may be a small tool, or it may be a game development contest like Zer0Wolf's recent 'Community Challenge' here on GameDev.

One thing that helps, is to wrap up the current status of your project, to make sure it compiles fine and runs without crashing, then tell yourself: I am going to pick up that book/game/whatever I've been meaning to get to (or take walks in nature someplace), and I will not allow myself to program again for two weeks. Denying yourself programming makes you want to program more. Hold to the two weeks, and then after it completely finishes, then jump back into it, with a plan and a todo list. Start with small 'todo' objectives; ones that you can finish in a day or two and that you can see visual progress from for extra motivation.

Quitting/giving-up never helps. Putting things on pause sometimes does, though.

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' or 'SotL' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.

All glory be to the Man at the right hand... On David's throne the King will reign, and the Government will rest upon His shoulders. All the earth will see the salvation of God.
Of Stranger Flames -

### #3Tom Sloper  Moderators   -  Reputation: 14684

Posted 11 June 2011 - 01:07 PM

Perhaps this should be in the Lounge.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

### #4Telastyn  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3773

Posted 11 June 2011 - 01:17 PM

Programming like this isn't going to take you to far places. (Describing how my project is really small and noticeably useless, which in truth, it is useless.

Sandbox apps won't. They're little places for you to get experience, play around with something, learn how you need to learn... When you're beginning, nothing is going to take you far. This isn't exactly damning criticism.

Don't keep reading programming books, learn to read some other books that are not programming related. (Been reading too many programming books that I'm stuck in wrong places.)

If you enjoy reading, then read. Reading programming books cover to cover is rarely helpful (especially as a beginner). Skim most of it, read a little, program a bit, re-read as necessary then repeat.

You have not devoted a lot when you're writing this. Especially this rather small and crude project, it looks like you're just following tutorials and not actually learning how to use them. (I always follow in other
programmer's footsteps when it comes to learning APIs.)

You should follow tutorials just far enough to make sure they work. Then you'll need to play with them. Programming in the end is a creative art; be creative. You'll learn the most via experimentation.

If your family is able to afford you higher education, you're best bet is to give up programming for the time being and finish your Master's degree. Then come back. (Don't know if it's encouraging...)

I don't know the situation or context here, but given the option, good higher education is nearly always preferred.

I wanted to know how programmers / developers fill up the hollow void inside of you, how do you get your motivation back up and running, like it was used to a few weeks ago?

Well what's the problem? Is it actual demotivation (nothing is compelling, not enough progress is seen) or is it burnout (doing studies and coding and work and.... just too much) or is it something more serious like actual depression (lethargy, nothing really makes you happy at all, everything sucks, etc)?

If it's depression, then it's a serious medical condition which you're perhaps best served being safe and seeing a professional. Some of the other advice here can help, but...
If it's burnout, then work on your time management. Play some games, hang out with friends, make sure you're getting enough sleep and a good diet (which as dumb as it sounds is quite effective; your brain just doesn't work at 100% on nothing but mountain dew and red vines). Determine what is important and what is not. Gamedev might need to be put on hold a bit until the other things are in order.
If it's demotivation then some of the burnout things apply. Don't force yourself to program. When you feel like it, do it. Set little goals. "At the end of 2 hours, I want to see X working". This helps you set reasonable expectations for yourself and keep everything on track.

### #5Mayple  Members   -  Reputation: 187

Posted 12 June 2011 - 02:59 AM

Ok so this is going to be coming who makes flash games, and also someone that works on websites backends and languages. I in no means this in anyway to be against C++/VB or any other hi end language.

I actually love the fact that I am burnt out personally. Its almost a rewarding experiance if you make it to be. Heres what I like doing. Get some programming friends, ones that love and share the same values as you. Its very simple to pick them up, just start working on small things and start sharing. Eventually you will start to grab a foot hold of people that like to just talk with you, just gotta find that community. When you do find that group of people share your progress with them. It helps even when you do something really small its very useful to have someone say ' oh thats awesome, you made the text dynamically type!'.

When you don't have that motoivation it can kill, but having friends around that understand the complexities or have been there done that appreciate when they see someone else learning. I know personally I struggled alot in PHP understanding Zend Framework. I was working with a few random people I met on a forum when I was asking questions. I couldn't figure out how to do things, and just talked with them showing what I could and couldnt do. Amazingly enough after just talking with them, they helped me understand how thye learned it. I then started to program the way they reccomended and I was able to become Zend Certified.

This is where the real kicker is, those friends I mentioned are the same people who will come to you when they are burned out and need advice or help. I had the same people I talked with about Zend come to me about IonCube. I was a pro at understanding and working with IONLoaders and they just couldnt grasp it. No tutorial in the world was good enough for them, but I showed them how I kept track and how I used call back methods to track, and now they took it with them. One of them works for Facebook now utilizing principles that I taught him at some point. When he gets burned out at work, he jumps on aim and just chats with me.

We talk about coding, computers, girls, etc. However we always end by programming a little something with other people. When you start to work with others, it opens many doors, you learn alot more, and there is alot of information to be had. I would reccomend you pick up a community project or open source project and see what you can contribute. That is a good way to start making project friends, as well as learn and not get burnt out because you can watch as others progress and put in as you need.

Thats what I do at least.

-Mayple

### #14Telastyn  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3773

Posted 13 June 2011 - 06:00 AM

I wouldn't say you put your goals to high, I think its more expectation of yourself. Isn't the point of a goal to reach it through trial and error and issues.

-Mayple

* I do not mean this post as a slander towards what you said, merely seeking clarification on goals vs expectation*

Sure, but you're supposed to set goals slightly beyond what you're capable of. You research, experiment, work at getting yourself so your capabilities slightly extend to achieve it. If your goal is too far out there, you run into this issue; you don't even know where to start.

Old topic!

Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

PARTNERS