There’s one thing that concerns me with a lot of indie developers, filmmakers, inventors and artists, especially when they first start out. They have a great idea, a REALLY great idea, and know that once they make it real, they will be rich and famous.
I certainly didn’t have such high expectations for my first indie game, which was good. I expect many people, if they ever do finish out their ideas, reach a similar state. Even for the really good ideas, many of them never see the success they deserve.
So what do you do? Simple: never rely on a single idea, and go back to the book.
A couple years ago, I started keeping all of my ideas, concept art, gameplay mechanics, digital files, business files, and more in a large ringed-binder, which I call The Big Book of Ideas. Here, I keep hundreds of pages not just on things I’ve created, but on ideas I’ve come up with for projects yet to come. I currently have 10 game ideas, 9 not including my first finished project, most of which are built of ideas that trace back almost ten years ago, and a few of which I am confident will stack up against the best indie titles you’ve ever seen… IF they are made well. And that’s a big if. But I let these ideas sit and stir, take my time, and when I know I’m ready, I go back to this book to decide what to do next.
I’ve given a few good tips for indie artists, and this one is probably the most important: When you start getting serious, back up and save all of your notes, drawings and ideas. It helps organize yourself later on. And should you ever need it, it’s great for you and would-be fans to one day look back on. If you don’t have one yet, get a binder at your nearest store and start one. And get the biggest binder you can… it fills up fast!