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Don't quit your day job: Wohlwend's cautionary post on going indie


Greg Wohlwend has been a full-time independent developer for six years, working on games such as Solipskier, Puzzlejuice, Hundreds, Ridiculous Fishing, and doing the art for Indie Game: The Movie. He enjoys his work and "wouldn't trade it for anything," but it's not an easy ride, and it's not for everyone, he writes on his blog.

The post is called "Don't quit your day job," and it offers candid advice for anyone considering the jump from part-time to full-time indie development. He notes that full-time indies are so close because they understand each other's struggles, how tiring a job it actually is. It's not always a glamorous rockstar lifestyle, he argues.

"'I could be Indie Game: The Movie!'" Wohlwend imagines a part-timer saying. "You could and that's awesome. But also, that's a movie. A movie can't really get at the dejected-forehead-on-desk-praying-it'll-be-over-soon feeling that lies within. Depression that won't let you fix anything in your life other than your game. An immortal solitude that's safe yet destructive. The constant worry that the game isn't fun enough. It's not ready to show yet. You'll convince yourself that what you're doing is all for the good of the game. It's all necessary. These chest pains that won't let you sleep will someday be worth it. It's not good enough (even though it's great). It's really good (even though it's shit)."

Having a part-time job, something that gives your mind a break and forces social interaction, can be a cleansing thing, he says.

"Going Indie is amazing," Wohlwend writes. "I want way more of us to do so. But it's a serious life decision and not always the best way to make more games."

A few independent developers share Wohlwend's perspective, and they offer their own input on Twitter, in response to his blog post. See a few pulled tweets below, and take a deep breath before you take the indie plunge.

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