Money and Motivation

It’s clear that I’m going to need to get a full time developer job once we’re back from India. My husband is talking about wanting to buy a house and wants to go on vacations and travel, we will probably be ready for a kid in a few years, and I still have student loans to pay off. January is my only “free month”, then I’ll be busy for all of February, and then I have to go back to being a real adult.

It kind of kills my motivation.

It’s great – I get a whole month to just think about this one game. But I wish it were my job. I wish I could look forward to months of being able to work on a game, hustle to find people or schools to pitch it to, learning more about marketing and experimenting and growing. But I know it won’t be my full-time job, ever. And I’ve carried that weight my entire adult life.

I watch GDC talks where indie guys work full time on their games and “support their families” and I’m envious. We need two incomes. And I know that I’m always going to have to pursue my game development as the “side thing”, mustering whatever energy is left to me at the end of a workday, while also balancing family, friends, and eventually a kid. I don’t have it in me, and possibly don’t even have the privilege

If I keep working at it – 30 minutes to a few hours of development each day – I can make things. I can publish them. I can spend a bit of free time to try to get the word out. But I’m not going to be able to make it my job.

And so, if I’m always going to have to steal bits of time away here and there to work on games that way, what’s the point of stressing myself out in January to get something done? It’s not like I’m going to finish my math board game for Android and magically make, oh, at least $10,000 in sales this year. This isn’t my Final Fantasy, my swan song, last ditch effort to “make it”. I’m not going to “make it” in a month. You can’t get successful from one month of work.

More than anything, I want to be like the developers I had idolized in the 90s, working for themselves on their own work. I want to build a company. But I don’t have the luxury of taking off enough time to build products, find licensing agreements, or find investors.

I’ve been beating myself up about this for over a decade, and I don’t see it becoming any less raw.

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