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Being a Lone Professional

Posted by latent, 19 September 2011 · 181 views

I have a friend who is a full-time author, publishing multiple novels a year. From the outside it would seem he has an inhuman ability to focus - to spend every waking hour at his profession, focusing on a single outcome, writing his novels in irrepressible fits of creativity.
The reality is a little different. He'll spend a certain number of hours each day writing new material for next years book, some time researching the book he's thinking of writing the year after that, a couple of hours editing the book that he's planning on releasing later this year, an hour reading (again) the galleys for the book his publisher wants final approval on. After which he'll be updating social networking sites, blogs, accounts and other business tasks related to his job.

There are abundant similarities to the indie developer - and maybe a little hope, too. If we need a break from the coding, there's always art needing to be done, or music, or sound effects, or web design, or marketing. Maybe we're doing it ourselves (and does 'programmer art' really need to be a pejorative?), or maybe we're incorporating art and services created by a third party, but either way we're forced to switch tracks regularly.

I take a measure of reassurance from the author's approach. Like the author, we find ourselves switching mental tasks - we are analytical, then creative, then critical, then business, then social... To an outsider I suspect it looks like we're suffering a multiple personality disorder. But I beg to disagree - it's simply part of being a professional. And, I gotta admit, it's also a bit of fun.




I agree there are a lot of similarities, but I think the author has it a little easier than the indie developer doing everything themselves as a lone wolf. I'm talking about skillsets here.

The author can teach himself the subject matter taking on board the prerequisite knowledge from multiple sources. He then uses that knowledge for his skill of writing.

With an indie developer you also need to take on board the knowledge, but there isn't just one skill required to produce the final outcome: the game. There's design, programming, art, and then the business side. So I'd argue it's a lot harder for the indie, especially when some of those skills may be out of reach, or at least in a manageable timeframe. I'm talking producing art for someone who really can't draw, or a designer who isn't great at coding. At that point you get help, but then you stop being the lone professional I guess.

I'm in agreement with what you say above, I just think its important to point out the differences in complexity and skills between the two disciplines.
I agree, ukdm. It's just that, as I sat down to the computer one evening after a prolific day at the office and thought 'I really don't have it in me to do any coding tonight', I pulled up my art program and started working through my tasks there. And I just felt it was a bit like that author who switches tracks regularly during his day/week - when one part of the brain is tired it can take a break while the others get their work done :)

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