Need to quit my 9-5 job and focus on things that matter. Thoughts?

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Posted by armaan8014 (6307 posts) -

Introduction

As you might have read in my previous blogs, I've been pretty confused about the direction in my life that I should be headed in (career wise) I joined an Architecture college 6 years back, tried to shift to video games mid way (but gave up as there's no game scene in India, and the indie scene wasn't as strong as it is today I think) Along with that, I grew a passion for films - which I did pursue after college (but after experiencing the work process, I found it very dry and realized I didn't enjoy it) I still like making films and music videos of smaller scope. Also, keep in mind that I live in India (and would prefer to move out)

My passions

It's kind of hard to describe, but my life is all about searching for and creating beauty - that's where video games and movies have had such an impact for me. It started with Fable, and went on to include The Witcher 1, TES IV Oblivion, Dragon age origins and Mass Effect. These games moved me and inspired me. I also saw films like The Last Samurai, Into the Wild during that impressionable age of mine and later fell in love with films/ TV such as Memories of Murder and Twin Peaks. I call this feeling "magic"

A picture might describe my feelings better - Images like a monastery on a misty hill, where the hallways are dark and the monks converse in hushed tones get me excited. Imagine that monastery filled with the sounds of Gregorian monks chanting. A village below the hill is filled with rumors, myths, mysteries and legends. There's something beautiful about the unknown. Even in games, I like wandering off to dark forests or just sitting in a village in a peaceful spot. There's much more to what I find beautiful, but upon examination, I have found these kinds of images to be the core of it all.

Fog, mist, hills, evenings, grass, fields, trees, candle-lit stone hallways, medieval villages, myths and mysteries - Those words and images heavily inspire me. I also spend a LOT of time listening to video game soundtracks. Music is a huge inspiration too. This is why things like the Witcher and Dragon age have had such an impact on me (or maybe it's the other way round - they made me fall in love with these feelings/ images)

All of this has caused me to make films that try to capture this visually and through sounds. It has also gotten me into painting, photography and cinematography. I also sometimes blog about the beauty of games and make videos showcasing that. It has also caused me to travel extensively seeking hills, fog, nature, mystery and magic- to places around the Himalayas, and most recently, to beautiful, mysterious Bhutan. Here's a photograph I took in one of the places that looked like a location from the Witcher series -

No Caption Provided

And another one I clicked on a trek in the Himalayas:

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In 2013, I made this painting after spending an hour watching the clouds and sipping tea inspired me. I later composed music for it and animated it as well.

I also have a band with a friend of mine, and we make music videos twice a year. Here's one of them that's about the feeling of mystery and how that fades away as you grow older -

I'm the happiest when I'm sitting in my room at home, with the lights dimmed, some beautiful video game music playing in the background, and me creating something/ painting/ editing a video or just reading about video games on the internet. That's literally the happiest moment of my life - and it comes every weekend.

Current state

This year in June, I joined an Architecture firm after 1 year of experimenting around after graduating. I did this to give myself more time to figure out what I need to/ can/ should do in my life. The plan while joining this was to figure things out in a year or two and transition to that. As expected, I've hated the 9-5 aspect of the job, living from weekend to weekend. I pursue my passions in the evenings and in the weekends, and that is all that I live for. I realized that I shouldn't end up taking too long in this phase either- therefore I've promised myself to earn more than my month's salary through one of my businesses and then transition into that full time. But I'm hoping to do this before June 2017 (one year in the job)

After graduating I tried to understand the concepts of money and entrepreneurship - cause whatever I end up doing, I need to fund myself. That led to me getting into the T shirt design thing, selling stuff on redbubble and the like. I make about 20$ a month on that - not much, but it's something. I've been trying to scale it up but have not had much success yet (I digitally paint footballers and try to sell them to football/ soccer fans) But one thing is for sure - I need to start my own thing and earn off it soon, so that I can focus on my passions.

Also in the pipeline is to make an indie game - an idea that lines up with my passions and my original dream that I had back in college. It's creative and I can make something beautiful. The problem is, my friend that is in with me on this idea lives in another city, and doesn't seem to want to work a little bit on it everyday - we just talk about ideas and get nowhere (he's the programmer, I'm the artist/ story guy) I'm putting a lot of time into it but I barely get any replies from him. The lack of communication is frustrating, and I almost want to just do it myself. Let's see where it will lead. But as an idea itself, I would love to spend all my time working with dedication on a video game. It's been a dream forever.

What should I do next? Getting down to what would be the best for me -

Yesterday, as I grew frustrated by the lack of T shirt sales, I decided to sit and re think everything I was doing and what really matters to me. I wanted to chip off all the extra stone on the block I have to get to the sculpture inside, and get to the core of my motivations (which I did and described it above^) I am focusing right now on starting a business. Why? To earn enough money. Why? So that I have the freedom and not be tied to a job. Why? So that I can do whatever I want whenever I want. What are those things? The passions that I described above. The core of that?

I thought about it, and realized that my biggest inspiration is to move people emotionally. To create things that show them extreme beauty. The world and life is so beautiful, and people and artists have created such amazing things - I wanna be a part of that and completely indulge in that. Most people may find this weird, but I think the Assassin's creed series is exceptionally beautiful. The epic scope, the history, and the tragedy that seems to exist in most of these stories is almost perfect for me. It's not the story, but the way it is told that moves me. Here's the best soundtrack I've ever heard, from ACIII, and it describes everything I said. The bit at 1:26 kills me everytime I hear it-

A possible plan in alignment with these motivations -

If I think about it, maybe starting a blog where I share my thoughts about and explore the "beautiful side of gaming" would be something that fits the core of my motivations. I also have a Youtube channel, which I could focus more seriously on and make videos analyzing the beauty of particular games as a series. I could immerse myself in this magic everyday, and share beautiful game related things (like orchestral performances of certain video game soundtracks) on it.

Thing is, it's difficult to grow these things, and I have mostly failed at it before. It's not really the most lucrative option anymore - the internet is noisy as hell. It's a slog to grow these platforms in the early stages, and can be very disheartening to talk to yourself when you don't have an audience. It's like talking to an empty classroom. But if I know that this is a good idea that people would eventually flock to after years of work, then I would be motivated enough to just keep putting in the work. What do you think, would it work?

Also, I could use this as a platform for my other endeavors - mainly I could gain a following that agrees with my thought process and therefore would be interested in playing the games that I make.

I think since I feel so strongly about all this, I should lean heavily on these passions and focus on it - mainly video games (rather than trying out different business ideas for earning money) I also really feel that I'd be better off in another country - there's not really a scene for all this in India. Of course, the internet makes it easy for me to do this regardless, but I want to live around people with similar passions. This also includes places like Sweden, Germany, Poland and Denmark, (places that have those medieval festivals, that atmosphere that inspires me, and places like Germany seem to make interesting PC RPGs) apart from the US.

Thoughts?

(My brain feels like sludge after typing all that out. Hope I was able to convey my thoughts clearly)

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#1 Posted by izzygraze (947 posts) -

Sorry it was a little tldr but it's interesting so I'll probably come back to it later.

In total I got: you're a talented artist and maybe musician who has a passion for video games. You work in an architecture firm in India. You would like to work on things with your inspirations(landscapes, feelings, etc). You tried film but the process didn't grab you.

You want to try something with your passions but you need to eat and would like to make a career out of your passions. In general you'd like to make money while doing your passions. You would also like to be near other people who are passionate about things you enjoy.

I have no answers for you but here are a few suggestions. You are working a job which I assume helps you make a decent amount of money. I'd suggest you downgrade your lifestyle to a place where you are saving a decent amount of money so you can fund something. Or do a kickstarter/gofundme, if you have an idea.

I think you need to make contacts and meet people. So maybe go to some different countries and go to game jams, meet indie devs, make some art with people. In general make enough money so you can travel and see what's out there. However, this might be difficult since you're from India and I don't know what you'd need to do for visas.

The other idea is to learn unity or something simple to program and make a game that generally just showcases your art. You can then use that to make some contacts.

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#2 Posted by izzygraze (947 posts) -

Some other thoughts. It seems like you already have one but work on getting a portfolio together. Once you have a few things then make a website for yourself. Display your talents, who you are, and have a business email. Maybe get some business cards? This will make it easier to show new people who you are and you can get some freelance work, maybe some freelance work on passion projects too. Maybe host your blog on your own site too if you think it'll help. I'm not on twitter but I've often thought of creating a twitter to make contacts. So having a business twitter would be good too.

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#3 Edited by armaan8014 (6307 posts) -

@izzygraze: Haha, I always end up rambling in my blogs more than I intend to! Well no actually, I'm not making a decent amount of money in my current job. Starting salaries in architecture, at least where I live, are pathetic. I've already downgraded my lifestyle to live on that. I'm kind of okay with it, cause I'll learn how to live on less this way (and after being dependent on parents for most of my life, it's good to be doing stuff on my own)

What I'm saving now is barely anything - therefore all the business ideas. That includes the T shirts thing, game idea and Youtube/ blogs - None of which have taken off yet. Yeah travelling to other countries is a huge challenge here. It costs a lot, and visas are a pain. I have never been to any country except India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Doing this would also require me to earn a lot of money - something which my job can't give me ever (unless I start my own firm, which I was never interested in)

So I guess I should go all in with making a game + youtube and everything. I know that's one of the harder routes to earning money, but that allows me to live my dream while I try to earn enough to live my dream. At the same time I'll keep my eyes open for other business opportunities. Anything that allows me to beat my current salary (about 250 $ per month. That shouldn't be too hard to beat with online businesses right?) and leave this job. That's the first big success. The next step can be to scale it further (leaving the country)

Also, my stuff online has never really got much attention, I seem to have trouble getting audiences - it's always been a problem. Let's see, maybe I could hire someone on fiverr to market it for me? (I've been doing that for my Tshirt designs lately)

Thanks for the input!

Edit: Forgot to mention we got Gamemaker pro during a recent humble bundle sale - that's what we're planning to make a game on. And I'm not really a good musician, the music is mostly made by my bandmate and I do the video and lyrics stuff

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#4 Posted by izzygraze (947 posts) -

@armaan8014: Ok yeah, things are always more difficult in real life. Well if you don't already have a website of your own then I'd still suggest making one. Just to have one place where people can see all of your stuff. And any jobs who will hire you for your artistic skills will want to see a portfolio. So creating a good portfolio is a good start.

I don't really know anything about marketing art. Hopefully some of the artists here can give some helpful hints on where to market your artistic skills online. I'm just thinking graphic designer but I don't know the first thing about that.

I really like your painting though. I thought it was a picture when I first saw it.

For people interested maybe you should link where you sell your t-shirts?

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#5 Posted by an_ancient (306 posts) -

@armaan8014:

Here are my background and opinions on this. My brother has studied architecture for 7 years. He is still struggling to earn his signature. I do not know about India, but in Romania you have to be a resident for 12 months before you yourself can get the right to sign stuff. That has led to a lot of exploitation. Also would like to know, did a lot of people in India or your city pursue this field because of the promise of money? In my town it sure felt like it and I have both my brother, my cousin and a good class-mate who did. The scene itself was also pretty big. They are all talented and my brother also has picked up a lot of other creative hobbies like painting and graphic design. I think he has good ideas and is talented, but it's just not paying out yet.

However here's where you two differ in strategy in feeling. He is still thinking of pursuing architecture and has done lots of side gigs and promotes himself pretty heavily. I think that is clever. He also learned the ropes and know how to get a project going for when he will eventually be doing it independently. I've been on a few of his work days and for him at least if he lands a few projects he will end up having lots of extra time to pursue other things while architecture brings in the base income. Is this also feasible for you? Do you have someone you look up to that has successfully done this? If it's a highly competitive thing you'll have to decide for yourself if it's worth giving up that skill.

Let me also attack going the creative route for a bit. Unless you go solo, you'll have the same struggle as an office job where you have to argue and make decisions. Also for all those people who seem to have an ok living if you look at their patreons, a lot of them rose up from weird video game niches. The internet is a dark place if it goes into comission territory and that crowd comes and goes. I don't think pursuing an art comes with the same work-life balance expectations unless you do it as part of a bigger team. Art is suffering as the saying goes.

My personal background is that of a programmer, but I only got into it because I initially wanted to make 3D movies and games. That was the dream but no colleagues had that, though I did spend a semester abroad doing it, but did learn that of that work is highly competitive. Luckily I did take to programming and here's the thing. My first 4 years in the field I had both a good income and also lots of time to spare in the evenings. Having a 9 to 5 job left me with enough energy and desire to also make something creative and forced me to allocate my time better. I also tried collabing on games with people during that time which was fun but sadly fruitless. As both a coder and someone who could make mediocre art assets, games are tough. I personally would not do it as my sole income, unless I was god-like in it and could churn out a lot without hating myself at the end of it. I currently pine for those days, because I've shifted what I do in more of a decision position and have a lot of responsibilities. Even now as we speak I am working on things to meet deadline. My very personal suggestion is to keep a engineering job to have a good income, but avoid maybe going into managerial positions.

As a counterpoint I'd like to describe to you some very odd career paths. Being a Souls fan I love looking up fanart and also got into speed and challenge runs. This is where I found Lobosjr who I've plugged in a separate thread. What is interesting is that he used to be QA for Bioware in Austin, TX and started streaming challenge runs for him and his friends. For a long time he would stream while still having his 9-to-5 and it worked for a while. He has now since move onto doing it full time since he had built an audience. For him it worked, but he also did not do it haphazardly. Another example I know less about it VaatiVidya. He does have a calm voice and produced some good stuff. His patroen sits at 5K which I think is lucky. I think he takes a bit too long to produce vids for that money though. I like his stuff, but I do not know how sustainable that income is. So I think you can reprofile yourself, but on the net it seems to be very much about appealing to a niece and I think you should be sure.

A 9 to 5 does not exclude art or video game making and I can't remember now, but there are a few successes that did release their game while working a day job. I just can't currently remember. Was one of Brad's Dota friends who recently made a game also working fulltime?

An art friend with whom I tried to collab also did stuff here and there, but it's tough if you are a perfectionist. If you are able to deliver something that's "good enough" without feeling agony, then it is worth considering.

Here's kind of the thing though I've personally felt. Being part of a team, arguing about what to do or not, to be shot down or just seeing certain arguments being only based on ego and income, I do not want that shit when I am trying to produce art or a game. I am glad I get to do that in my job and the lessons I learn there I hope to apply on a future solo or collab project. I've also seen a couple or artist interviews where they talked a bit more casually and saw the same parallels. What I'm trying to badly express is that your love of art will be challenged when you do it to sustain yourself.

Also question what you have to say in your art. I have the dream to someday make something that will get some cool fanart being made and inspire conversations and ideas that I did not think about (i.e. Toby Fox, lucky S.O.B!!!), but I also wonder if what I say is worth hearing/seeing/playing. Respecting your audience is important. A lot of people want to the joy of creating art, but not a lot of people consider it more than self satisfaction. Your dedication for art has/is going to be tested. I always hope that the resolve is tempered after that and not weakened, but not everyone is lucky.

Also to consider and I am a worrywort in this, is what about your family? Maybe you are an orphan, in which case this point is moot, but a lot can be derailed the first time you see a family member in dire health or economic trouble. You don't live for them, but unless they are very financially stable, I personally would not lightly make the decision to not be able to help when the trouble starts. Same thing goes if you ever want to become a provider for yourself. I'm sorry if I'm being presumptuous, but they are thoughts I've wrestled with and not everything will apply.

As far living in Germany, which I currently do. I've studied German since kindergarten so the language barrier is ok. But German isn't that easy, but it can be done if you put your mind to it. I've had colleagues who learned it in 3-5 years. But also good for them was that the company encourage them. But you gotta have a plan. I couldn't tell you about the games market here though. Yeah there are some quirky rpgs coming out, but it is competitive. Southern Germany also has a lot of the wealth and is in need of skilled workers. The thing I would say is that you should not come here and not expect to have to adapt to German work ethic and general conduct.

Anyway sorry I text wall dumped, but these are the discussions and insights I've had. Deciding what to do is hard, deciding where to go is hard and a lot of these questions are the ones that keep you up at night feeling like a dirtbag, but it is important to confront them and come to a conclusion that will leave you happy when you look in the mirror.

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#6 Edited by Asurastrike (2306 posts) -

I think it is interesting that you believe running your own business will give you MORE time to pursue your passions. If you run your own business you will be working/on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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#7 Edited by csl316 (14976 posts) -

I think it is interesting that you believe running your own business will give you MORE time to pursue your passions. If you run your own business you will be working/on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Yep. If you get a chance to listen to the Danswers with Greg Miller, it seems like he's living the dream but he seemed like a wreck since Kinda Funny is so all-encompassing. And making video games can also be fun, but check out any making-of documentary to see if crunch is truly for you.

I dunno, man, there's nothing wrong with a 9-5 and spending your off time making art. I play music, my lady friend loves to draw, but neither of us pursued it as a career because... well, a job is a job and you'll have all the stresses that come along with it, anyway.

Personally, I found an office job that I find fulfilling and intellectually stimulating, and if I need an outlet I have my music afterwards. I have time to go to art shows, see symphonies and metal shows, and go out to appreciate nature without any stresses about deadlines or creating things I might not care about on-demand.

If you feel that strongly about it, go for it. But if you're in a negative mindset about working a regular job, that the greener pastures of working for yourself are the best possible thing, you'll be miserable until you do it.

Just be aware that aside from art, you'll be balancing bank accounts, processing tax returns, spending a great deal of time marketing yourself, and stressing about an inconsistent income stream from month to month.

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#8 Posted by VisariLoyalist (3135 posts) -

Money is great. Get money and retire earlier or be prepared to retire early and work until you are dead. Reality is money is important passions have to take a back seat. Don't believe the lies of the lucky few. This is just my opinion.

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#9 Posted by Gaff (2768 posts) -

This is going to sound blunt and harsh, but... it actually sounds like you need two things most of all: focus and patience (or better, perseverance). And maybe a third: a hefty reality check.

  • You started in June at an architecture firm. Barely six months in, you're probably still in a really minor role, pushing papers, getting coffee for others, that sort of thing. And yes, that's really unfulfilling and pays accordingly. That's not going improve in the short term unless you really work for it. Sadly, even then you probably have to wait a long time before things become "comfortable". That's just how employment is.
  • Between graduating last year, you've started selling T-shirts (which you are getting frustrated with), tried your hand at film making (which you've grown disillusioned with), an indie game (which you're also getting frustrated with), and tried getting better at digital painting. Oh, and started a job. Oh, and you're in a band. That's a lot for one person! Try focusing your energy and time on one thing you like doing (and are less likely to get frustrated with).
  • And building on that last point... While people say that opportunities are a good gateway into a "comfortable" life, they always forget to mention that it is going to take work. A lot of work. And a lot of failure. But the eventual successes persevere. And without that hard work, that perseverance, nothing is going to help. Not printing T-shirts, not moving to another country. You're going to need to put a lot more effort in it than just a year's worth.

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#10 Posted by armaan8014 (6307 posts) -

@an_ancient:

Thanks! Yeah the thing is that I have this drive to live my life in a certain way, and the current situation just doesn't allow that. Meaning I can keep my head down and try to focus on my job and everything, but a week later something within me will stir again to break out of the routine - it always has.

I've never been into architecture really. I knew nothing about it when I joined, and I joined it because I wanted to do something art related. During architecture, I figured myself and my passions out. I still have no interest in architecture but I can do it to bring in income.

I don't mind doing art for commissions, at least for a while, because it allows me to sit and work and manage my time on my own. (Also, I am not a perfectionist!)

I spend my weekends working (art/ videos/ marketing it) for myself, and barely spend any time relaxing/ going out/ on entertainment. The work I do makes me happy, and I can spend 24 hrs poring over my laptop and feel fulfilled - I've spent my free time that way for years now and I love it.

I think I should consider putting out good, planned content, focusing on youtube and a blog, have a patreon and work on video games alongside it. If either one of those can support me, I can then not do my job and concentrate on making games.

What I'm trying to badly express is that your love of art will be challenged when you do it to sustain yourself.

I definitely get tired while working on my art, but it's the process that I enjoy. The sitting in peace and churning out stuff. The artistic inspiration I use for coming up with an idea, and then it's time to slog it out. But I love that part - the focus and flow keeps me going throughout the day.

The provider part is true. But the thing is, I'm 24, I don't have to support my parents but more importantly, I'm unmarried and have no family of mine to look after. I think this is the best time to experiment.

The Germany idea is one of those things where I allow myself to think of something wild I'd like to do and see if it's feasible. If I do move out of my country, it'll be after any of my work starts bringing in a LOT of money. So I think I'll make that part happen first.

Thanks for taking the time out to write all that! I appreciate your thoughts. Good luck with your stuff too :)

I think it is interesting that you believe running your own business will give you MORE time to pursue your passions. If you run your own business you will be working/on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Yeah but that's the thing - that work would be my passion right? As I wrote above^ , I like to sit in my room in the weekends and churn out paintings, videos and then market them. All my waking hours in the weekends are spent on my laptop doing that work. I barely even get an hour to play any game. I just enjoy that slog of sitting on a laptop at home throughout the day.

@csl316 said:

I dunno, man, there's nothing wrong with a 9-5 and spending your off time making art. I play music, my lady friend loves to draw, but neither of us pursued it as a career because... well, a job is a job and you'll have all the stresses that come along with it, anyway.

Personally, I found an office job that I find fulfilling and intellectually stimulating, and if I need an outlet I have my music afterwards. I have time to go to art shows, see symphonies and metal shows, and go out to appreciate nature without any stresses about deadlines or creating things I might not care about on-demand.

If you feel that strongly about it, go for it. But if you're in a negative mindset about working a regular job, that the greener pastures of working for yourself are the best possible thing, you'll be miserable until you do it.

Just be aware that aside from art, you'll be balancing bank accounts, processing tax returns, spending a great deal of time marketing yourself, and stressing about an inconsistent income stream from month to month.

The thing is, I really don't like the lifestyle of having to be at a predefined place at a predefined time. Mornings piss me off because I feel like I'm not in control, have to wake up with a groggy head and be there. On weekends though, I wake up earlier than usual and can't wait to sit on my laptop and spend the whole day working (on either creating stuff or marketing it) Im actually more productive in the weekend than the five working days of the week combined!

I'm that kind of guy who's making lists all the time and setting deadlines even if it's a passion project that I'm not going to share with anyone. It's just that lifestyle of working on my own terms, on my own that fuels me. At work, I slack off. At home I'm suddenly super disciplined and planning my next task. So since I enjoy that whole process, I think the work-from-home-earn-money-online thing would be the best work lifestyle for me. What confuses me is how do I make that happen/ what do I produce (which is where I talked about a blog+youtube thing about video games)

@visariloyalist: I'll keep that in mind

@gaff said:

This is going to sound blunt and harsh, but... it actually sounds like you need two things most of all: focus and patience (or better, perseverance). And maybe a third: a hefty reality check.

  • You started in June at an architecture firm. Barely six months in, you're probably still in a really minor role, pushing papers, getting coffee for others, that sort of thing. And yes, that's really unfulfilling and pays accordingly. That's not going improve in the short term unless you really work for it. Sadly, even then you probably have to wait a long time before things become "comfortable". That's just how employment is.
  • Between graduating last year, you've started selling T-shirts (which you are getting frustrated with), tried your hand at film making (which you've grown disillusioned with), an indie game (which you're also getting frustrated with), and tried getting better at digital painting. Oh, and started a job. Oh, and you're in a band. That's a lot for one person! Try focusing your energy and time on one thing you like doing (and are less likely to get frustrated with).
  • And building on that last point... While people say that opportunities are a good gateway into a "comfortable" life, they always forget to mention that it is going to take work. A lot of work. And a lot of failure. But the eventual successes persevere. And without that hard work, that perseverance, nothing is going to help. Not printing T-shirts, not moving to another country. You're going to need to put a lot more effort in it than just a year's worth.

Hey, that's not really harsh, and I do agree with taking your time and putting in the effort in everyday. Thing is (and this is related to your second point) I'm having trouble deciding the direction in which I should push. Once my mind is settled on that, I don't mind working hard for years on it. Infact, everything I've read in recent years has told me that after you decide to start with something, there's going to be a lot of failures and slow times, and that you have to keep going on despite all that. And I'm ready and also excited to do that. But I do kind of need to sort my head out on choosing what is the best thing for my personality. I want to think and consider all the possibilities so that I don't not try something. That is also my downfall - being split mentally between so many things is what is stopping me from gaining any momentum.

Therefore this blog post - I'm doing all these things but what is that one thing that I should finally focus on?

Also, the firm where I'm working is small - only 5 employees, meaning I get to do a lot of "real" work. So that's not the issue. I just don't like the get up and go to work lifestyle. As I wrote above -

The thing is, I really don't like the lifestyle of having to be at a predefined place at a predefined time. Mornings piss me off because I feel like I'm not in control, have to wake up with a groggy head and be there. On weekends though, I wake up earlier than usual and can't wait to sit on my laptop and spend the whole day working (on either creating stuff or marketing it) Im actually more productive in the weekend than the five working days of the week combined!

I'm that kind of guy who's making lists all the time and setting deadlines even if it's a passion project that I'm not going to share with anyone. It's just that lifestyle of working on my own terms, on my own that fuels me. At work, I slack off. At home I'm suddenly super disciplined and planning my next task.

So this isn't me giving up on anything or changing direction yet again, this is me trying to hurry up the process of finding that one thing so I can finally begin to put in the many years worth of work into it.

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#12 Posted by spilledmilkfactory (2085 posts) -

I'm kind of late to the party on this one, but I enjoyed your post and could relate to it a lot as someone who grew up seeking those 'magical' experiences in a small US town where everyone worked either in government or education. I spent basically my whole life trying to break into games, and it's been a lot slower for me than most people. However, our trajectories sound pretty similar, so here's how I see it.

What is clear immediately is that you have lots of talent in multiple mediums, most of which are pretty relevant for video games. Right now it seems like you are using your talents in ways that sort of suck the beauty from them to pay the bills - Painting football players doesn't quite give the same catharsis as painting a landscape. If you want to break into games, you'll need a portfolio and practice. It's a space full of really cool people, but it's also a really competitive space. If you haven't already, I would go onto reddit's r/gamedevclassifieds and r/INAT (I Need a Team) and post offers to do art or music for indie games. You can also try posting on TigSource as a lot of developers congregate there. Even those communities are pretty busy, so you may need to offer to work for free (it sucks, I know). It can pay off by making you some good connections and adding to your portfolio, though. With regards to moving, I don't have a ton of advice except that I moved across the US and although being in a more tech and art-focused part of the world helps a lot, I still feel disconnected because I'm not as talented as the people here are yet, and especially in code-focused parts of the community that can feel really prohibitive.

I'll give you some examples from my life and how I've been dealing with the same issues (not that I've been doing things perfectly; far from it). I've always loved designing games. When I was younger, I would draw my own Pokemon cards and sketch 2D Mario levels during class. I tried getting into dev, but the programming and math side of things was discouraging, and I didn't know anyone else who shared my interests. Game design majors weren't really a thing at reputable/affordable colleges just yet, so I went with Marketing and Entrepreneurship, which I'm also interested in, conceptually at least. Now, I work at a marketing firm with very demanding hours while designing things on the side. I took the route of designing an indie game too, and while it's good for making talented connections, I wouldn't rely on it to make you a livable salary out of the gate. I began by developing with my roommate, but eventually got some new partners, as he wasn't willing to put work in every day and wasn't serious about the idea. That's the thing about passion projects - You can't rely on everyone to have the same amount or the same type of passion as you. Furthermore, unless you have an incredibly simple, micro-game level idea, you will need to devote too much time, and there is too much market uncertainty, for this to be a viable source of income right away.

I designed an arcade-style puzzle game, and that will have been in development for probably 18+ months before it'll be released. Even then, I'm not relying on it making too much money because the audience is niche. I'm okay with that, because I was doing it mostly for practice and to see if I liked the experience. Side note, but if you have a game idea and are interested in attempting to suss out the potential market size, SteamSpy can be really helpful and I have some tips for using it.

Because video game design is kind of slow and requires lots of external input around the design (art, music, animation, etc) I also started designing a tabletop game. I ended up really liking it, and will probably do a Kickstarter like an above user suggested if I can get it together. Otherwise, I've cut my living down to a bare minimum and have been saving to design full time, but even in that process I'll need to take odd jobs and do a little freelance work here and there. Just having these two uncompleted projects in my portfolio has helped me get some leads at a few companies around me, too.

Anyways this has gotten huge, but that's kind of been my take on a similar experience. If you want, PM me and I can give you more details. Either way, good luck!

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#13 Posted by armaan8014 (6307 posts) -

You're not late at all! I'm still looking for input and guidance. It's always great to meet someone who identifies with these ... unusual feelings, since it's so rare to actually be able to talk about these things with someone.

Yeah, you're quite right about my current situation. I'm focusing heavily on trying to make money out of whatever talents I have, because money is a concern for someone who wants to live a risky/ non-office lifestyle like I hope to live. While pursuing my passions, I'm also trying to get rich and live life my own way. Not an easy task.

About breaking into games, I'm not sure about doing it as a part of a team. As you said, I'm not even half as talented as most of the people out there. I'm not sure how good I would be as a technical part of a team. Rather, my strength probably lies in envisioning something beautiful/ different, and then either expressing that idea by using easy to use tools and sell it as an indie game, or eventually own a small/ big game company of my own and run it in the overall sense, rather than do the details. Knowing my personality, I feel that would be better suited to me. Of course, I'll still try whatever opportunities I come across.

Yeah, the fact that you need to depend on teammates who may or may not be as committed as you is frustrating, and living where I do it's extremely hard/ impossible to find partners for such projects.

I guess the only way to determine if this is going to work for me or not is by giving it a shot. If our game immediately blows up like undertale or some other indie game that made it big (or even half as big), that could prove to me that I can now focus on doing this again and take it further and start scaling it.

Thanks for the tip about steam spy! We do have an idea for which we've been working on, and I'd love to test out the potential market for it. I'll PM you about that.

Unfortunately we can't fund a project through kickstarter from India, but we'll try out other platforms like gofundme etc once we have something to show for our game.

Thanks for sharing everything, and I'll be in touch to discuss more soon!

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#14 Posted by alwaysbebombing (2713 posts) -

Working in a safe office job will give you money and allow you to do all the things you want. Maybe not as many things as you want, but still a lot of the things.

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#15 Posted by armaan8014 (6307 posts) -

@alwaysbebombing: True, but I want to give going all in a shot, especially when I'm just 24.

If I'm 30 and none of my non - safe options have worked for me, then I might settle down with the safer option and take that route of compromise. At the very least, I will have learned a lot through this experience.

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#16 Posted by an_ancient (306 posts) -

I mean I'm 26 and I'm still very worried. One thing which I do not know in India is wether or not HR takes well to gaps in resumes. Back home it'd be a non-issue, but in Germany it's rough. But yeah as @spilledmilkfactory said, if you populate a protfolio during this time is also a great thing to do.

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#17 Posted by armaan8014 (6307 posts) -

@an_ancient: Gaps in resume here, in Architecture at least, is not much of an issue - especially because most of the architects (in the place where I work at least) know each other personally. I had a gap of one year after graduating from college too but I got through all the interviews. Here getting hired depends on personal connections.

That said, doing that wouldn't even be my last resort. But if I was super desperate, then yeah there'd be plenty of options of re-entering this field again.

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#18 Posted by Undeadpool (7032 posts) -

IF you wind up doing this: do yourself a massive favor and set aside however many hours you can five days a week (so a normal work week) to do NOTHING but create. I was unemployed for ~6 months and thought "Oh GOOD, I can get some writing done," but because I had no structure, I wound up like the Immortals in Zardosz: I had unlimited time to create, so I always wound up putting it off til "tomorrow."

KEEP A REGIMENTED SCHEDULE.

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#19 Edited by armaan8014 (6307 posts) -

@undeadpool: Haha, yeah definitely, I'll do that. I was unemployed for about a year after graduating (apart from two months in the middle where I worked at film sets) so I know how it can be. But that is also the time when I started my art/ tshirt thing as a business online, so I think I'll be able to stick to my schedule. I love schedules and to do lists! Even when I was in school, I'd schedule my fun activities in the holidays. Specific time for playing a game, for watching a movie, painting sports etc.

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#20 Posted by novadth (238 posts) -

Fight for your own happiness. Emphasis on fight.

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#21 Posted by dagas (3667 posts) -

I don't think that there are many people who get to work with what they love. I've always hated job but it is something you need to survive. If you can find something you love then great but life is not like in the movies. I am happy as long as I have a job that keeps my family fed. I wasted years of university on philosophy and other things that don't help me at all to get work and now I am forced to take whatever I can. But I enjoy my life because I have a great wife and daughter and I get to play video games and that is all I need. I can stand 8 hours of boring work as long as I have that. I am 30 and I have given up any illusions of working with something that I love. But it is your life and it is up to you.

You write "As expected, I've hated the 9-5 aspect of the job, living from weekend to weekend. I pursue my passions in the evenings and in the weekends, and that is all that I live for." You should be lucky that it is a stable job and you only have to work from 9-5. Many people are forced to work weekends and evenings. Sure it would be nice to not have to work at all but that is not really realistic. Do you think the farmers that worked the fields back when that was the only job people had loved to do that? They did it so they could survive. As far as I know India has a lot of poor people so you seem very lucky to even have had the chance to go to university and get a respectable job like being an architect. I just work with costumer support.

But like I said it is your life and you live it like you want but for be getting a wife and making a family was what gave me purpose in life and if work sucks I think about what it is for. If I was alone I would have given up already but I can make it through a shitty job because of them. Right now I lost my job 2 months ago so I would be grateful for any job. But it seems I will get a job soon but I might be worced to take one that pays even less than before and I was already making 35% less than the varage salary in my country.

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#22 Posted by armaan8014 (6307 posts) -

@dagas: You're right! That's how real life is and therefore I am in a situation that makes sense practically, but one that doesn't make me too happy at the moment - which is why I'm asking around if/ how something different can be done. As you said, everyone has the freedom to try what they want. Your words/ viewpoint will remind me to be careful and be humble as this process of shifting to doing something you love for a living/ loving your work is not easy.

@dagas said:

You should be lucky that it is a stable job and you only have to work from 9-5. Many people are forced to work weekends and evenings.

Yes I do realize that, and that is the reason I specifically applied for jobs that give me both Saturday-Sunday off, and with relaxed timings. I know people work much longer in jobs that don't align with their interests, and I would never want that.

And I am lucky to have gotten a good education that has opened many options for me, which is why I feel it would be a shame if I didn't take advantage of it. I'm in a lucky position, and not everyone gets the chance to try doing what they love for a living.

Btw, which country are you from? Hope you get a new job soon! Good luck :)