The Blank Page Problem

Working creatively is very different from working manually for example. The problem with creative work is that you will waste a lot of time. Most of that time you spend doing nothing. For me I fond this is often because of the Blank Page Problem.

You might be familiar with the situation. You know you need to do something. But you never even get started because there is nothing there yet. So it’s difficult to figure out what to do first. There are too many possibilities and it’s difficult to decide what to do. On top of that, the sheer amount of work in front of you is discouraging. So you start dancing around the problem. You start doing simpler tasks, which may or may not have anything to do with you actual project. You might clean up you desk instead. Or clean up your mail in-box. And if you don’t play attention you end up doing what you fear most: PROCRASTINATING.

When I already started a project, it is much simpler. I arrive at an unfinished piece. I can start by checking out the stuff I have so far. I will immediately see the parts I want to work on. And suddenly I forget the huge amount of work in front of me and lose myself in the task at hand.

I had big trouble getting back into TRAUMA development specifically because of the Blank Page Problem. The game was at a point where figuring out the next step was difficult. I had a big break since the last time I worked on it so I lost my train of thought. And there was always other things to take care of too.

My solution was to reserve an entire day to jump start development. If I have anything planned on a day, especially in-between, there is a good chance that I won’t get anything done. I often arrive at a point where it seems like it makes no sense to continue because I would have to quit soon. Actually, it’s quite like in the video above.

However, if I have an entire day there are no excuses. And indeed, I successfully returned to developing TRAUMA.

The trick now will be to keep working on it regularly. At least an hour a day. I don’t want to lose my train of thought again and arrive at a Blank Page situation. I need to finish this.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

One response to “The Blank Page Problem”

  1. sirleto

    kommt mir schwer bekannt vor :-)
    drücke dir die daumen!


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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