There are a lot of thing you have to bear as an indie developer. Not least of them is the loneliness you may take on. At first it's quite the luxury to get on with whatever you want, undisturbed and ungoverned. Then you start to miss the human contact. Then you start to wonder what the point of it all is. And then find it hard to get out of bed, because the dried tears make you stick to the sheets.
Tommy and I work separate from one another, purely because we can't currently afford a place of our own. As a result, our only communication is through instant messenger and the occasional phone call. Technically, this hasn't been an issue - text is condusive to code-talk because you can be copy-pasting bits of code across to each other, linking website sources, and generally disambiguating your sentances more. IMing is second nature to us because we've grown up with the IM culture.
We have close to no social lives (probably why we're so good at Instant Messages), and a real lack of human contact outside our families (who we live with and leech off). It can get us down quite often.
Mainly, I think it's a sense of appreciation that we lack most. We don't tell anyone about our game publically because we're really not ready to show anything, so we have very little feedback on how others think the game is going. Ofcourse, this emptiness is caused completely by vanity, but vanity is a human need none the less.
My parents aren't exactly versed in videogames (especially my Mum, who yesterday recoiled at the absolutely jaw dropping new* Bioshock walkthrough), and can only give me moral support while asking when I'm going to get a "proper job". They can't tell us "This game will be great", because they simply don't know enough about games to give me an honest opinion.
Tommy's parents are much nicer about what we do, so Tommy often finds himself having to boost my confidence by showing me pictures of electric supercars which can fly and how we'll be driving them around in outer space, this time next year (Rodney).
When vanity gets the better of us we'll make videos of our progress and send them to trusted friends if only for some short term appreciation. But we're showing them real work-in-progress stuff (which, incedentally, you should never, ever show to publishers - hit them with something polished). Thus, the people who are enthusiastic about it are the ones who see past the placeholder graphics, unfinished features and questionable stability, and appreciate the promise of the game. And God bless 'em, because they put the proverbial wind in our sails.
I mention all this because if there's one thing never lacking in a bigger studio, it's someone with an opinion. Even if it's a really negative opinion, at least you're surrounded with people who are interested enough to comment. When you don't have that, there's a real struggle to keep yourself motivated, despite even the most creatively stimulating concepts. You have to find a way to knuckle down and plough through these dark patches. Maybe just take a little break? Go visit a friend. Play some other games. Try rather too hard to make people on internet forums like you.
One excercise I've been doing to help my motivation is keeping a secret diary (complete with secret thoughts) where I write out what I'm going to do today, or the next day, and also what I've achieved since the last post. It's accessible to a tiny number of incredibly trusted individuals. In writing it, I'm forced to focus on what my goals are, and how to achieve them - a sort of mini design session which sets me up for the day. By letting others see it, I feel my vanity bar is filled (even though it's now so boring that I doubt any of them bother reading it).
Maybe you have your own ways to pep yourself up? I'd love to hear them. God knows I need them.
*I say "new" - this version of the game was from a behind closed doors demo at X06 last year, so it's what... 4-5 months old? Check out how easy to use the Telekenisis is, and how much of a step up the particle effects have taken since the previous demo.