Part-time indie Monday blues
Monday blues isn’t specific to part-time indies that’s no secret. Maybe you don’t like your job, maybe you had a wild weekend or maybe it’s just Garfield messing with your head.
I can however only talk about what I know so here’s how Monday blues feel to me as a part-time indie.
Already one foot out of the door
Not all game developers wish to turn game development into a full-time job but I guess many at least dream of it. To me it’s not a dream but a clear objective for which I take actions (such as working 4 days a week instead of 5, working a lot from home to free more time to work on games in the evening, etc.). This is more than just “I like to make games and it’d be cool to make money out of it” it’s also “I want to run my own business and need that this business is fueled by what I create”.
The side effect is that I sometimes feel like an outsider when it comes to my day job and it’s worse on Monday as I’m just out of almost 3 full days of game development. It’s not that I hate my job it’s just that in my state of mind it’s not where I’ll be in the future. There’s the past, the present and that’s it. It became a temporary position until I’m finally able to not have to rely on it anymore to pay the rent and food.
The reality however is that it’s still my main occupation and I constantly have to battle this feeling of saying otherwise. From Thursday night to Sunday I’m that highly motivated indie dev and on Monday I become again that programmer analyst who doesn’t quite know what he wants to pursue.
If I take out game development what would I want? Where would I take my career? Would I chase a position with more responsibility and higher salary? Would I finally have the money to travel around the world instead of putting it in game projects? Would I be happier?
Game development is a marathon and asking yourself these questions is perfectly normal. The problem is that what seems a proper answer may vary from time to time. Switching from roles does it share of damages on your motivation.
Why stick to part-time then?
Call it the lesser of two evils. That’s still the best way I’m able to work on games and not put myself in a situation I just wouldn’t be able to handle. I got to test that for a few months some time ago and it just didn’t work.
I keep high control over my budget and things were not looking good to me during that period. Even by being careful just having entries in the expense column and nothing in the revenue one until the game was ready was a nightmare. That’s just who I am. It affected badly my ability to work on games so in the end it was worst than having the secure feeling a day job provide.
I can see a hundred reasons why keeping a day job might have a negative impact on my work on games but I probably see twice as much reasons how not having that day job would be even worse. I’m just not built that way so I try to do the best I can with the choices I made.
My day job still answers to some needs I have that game development doesn’t meet at the moment. The first of course is money but there’s also that satisfaction of work well done and being recognized for it. I don’t mean that I need to have people praising my games around the Web. I’ll get my recognition if they just buy them. I sure hope they won’t be saying “what a piece of crap it is” but if I make something that people buys then it means I must have done something right at some point and so far I don’t get that feeling from game development.
So far my strategy is simply to acknowledge that it’s part of the week and to never make any decision on Monday. Avoid to take any action I might regret once I’m back in my “indie role”. It’s not much I know but I seem to still keep going forward that way.
One thing to avoid is probably to deny that you have that weird feeling of being between two worlds. It’s there and won’t go away so maybe there’s something to learn from it. Maybe there are skills to be developed with it. Maybe it’s a necessary moment to put things into perspective.
Half of Monday is already gone now so that’s good news. Dedicating my lunch break for this post should get me through the other half without feeling too bad about it … I guess …