A Near Year Draws Near. Command?

A 2011 Draws Near

Happy New Year!

It’s 2011! Flying cars and hoverboards are almost here!

As the calendars get replaced, it’s a natural time to look back at the previous year and forward to the next.

Last year was a good one for me. Intellectually, I’ve known for a long time that I should run my own business full-time if I wanted to be happier and have a chance of doing great work. 2010 was finally the year I felt it and knew it at a stronger level, and I put in my two weeks’ notice in May. By the end of the month, I was no longer relying on corporate welfare.

In June, I moved to a completely different city for the first time in my life. The lower cost of living in Des Moines as compared to Chicago made a huge difference in my burn rate and allowed me to last much longer on my savings.

I got to watch more soccer than I could handle during the World Cup. Maybe I should have hit the ground running instead, but hey, I had the ability to be where I wanted, when I wanted. It was nice not to have to worry about an obligation to a job, and I took advantage of that freedom.

I started my first major project, “Stop That Hero!”, and I learned just how big a difference there is between running a weekend prototype project and finishing a complete game. While it felt discouraging to keep discovering more work for me to do, I can’t imagine how long it would have taken me to do it part-time while working a day job. I wouldn’t have put in nearly as many hours towards this project, and I’d learn at a much slower rate. One of the reasons for quitting the day job was because I was worried I was doing my game development a disservice by putting it at a lower priority than I really wanted it to be.

I learned that a well-structured day does wonders for keeping me on track towards my goals. I also learned that it can be disastrous to stop paying attention to the calendar. After months of making consistent progress in my work, I had a disruption when I moved at the end of November. I wanted to get my new office ready and there were a number of delays. I lost an entire month of productivity without realizing that a month had gone by, and it was partly because I stopped paying attention to the passing of days on my calendar.

Health-wise, I haven’t done as well as I would have liked. I didn’t find a soccer league in Des Moines when I moved, and I consistently wake up later than I would like, so I don’t do much exercise anymore. Somehow I have not gained weight, but I know I wouldn’t be able to jog or walk up a flight of steps without feeling winded. Walking regularly would help with improving my mental clarity, at the least.

Last year I quit my job and moved, pushing myself to run my business full-time. What do I see ahead of me in 2011?

Near the end of the year, I was nominated to run for a position on the board of the Association of Software Professionals. This past January 1st starts my new term as one of the three new Directors, and I’m excited to be in a new leadership position for this great organization. I’ve been the Charter Executive for the ASP Games Special Interest Group for the last couple of years, and I’d like to continue in that role as well.

I intend to spend a lot of my time marketing and selling my soon-to-be-finished game. When I’m not spending development time porting that first game to different platforms such as Mac and mobile devices, I expect to be starting a new, currently-unknown project.

On a basic level, I’d like to get more consistent income. Revenue from ads on this website and writing articles for newsletters isn’t slowing down the burn rate nearly enough.

I’m currently trying to figure out how I can afford to attend my first Game Developers Conference, and I anticipate going to the Software Industry Conference in the summer. Also, can one of my projects get submitted to next year’s IGF? I’d like to see it happen.

What does your 2011 look like?

(Photo: A 2011 Draws Near, using part of the image Standing Guard by London Looks | CC-BY-2.0)

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