I have dreams to make indie games and I could see myself doing it one day full time.
As my story is like the OP let me give you a look into my days-
- I work full time in IT (bad job to have if you don't want to do overtime at all to concentrate on game dev). I go to work for my shift which can be 8:30-5 or 10:30-19:00 for example, Im usually pretty busy at work (this week might be an exception actually) and of course priorities are always work while im there. I detach myself as soon as the clock strikes the ending minute (providing im not having to do overtime)
- I go home and get 30-60 mins excercise done, grab some dinner and then straight onto my books and visual studio. If I am lucky I can put in 2-3 hours every working day and if I am not working at the weekend I can usually dedicate 6 hours on Saturday and Sunday. I am lucky in that I dont have any commitments at the moment, but I am becoming severely detached from friends because of the time I put in.
- I also spend at least 3 hours a week concentrating on doing some branding work for my indie game studio. Now, some people will argue this is time wasted if you arent making games. I look at it as more goals and more incentive to keep working on the books and study. I hear time and time again that networking is very important, as is branding.
I am completely and utterly knackered by the end of the week and I still itch for more. Making games was always a full time job, even the learning part requires several hours of time.
I cannot begin to appreciate how people with kids and other massive commitments do this, massive respect due for those that do. I cannot say this enough, if you are at home still, stay there until your parents literally throw your stuff out on the street. You will need all the cash you can get.
Anyway to bring it back to neometron's suggestion of goals, thats exactly how I do it. Long term goal is by the end of this year I want to be confident with C# and XNA and have created at least one simple game from scratch (like pong, or text based game). Then move onto something else. Short term goals are simple, Im just setting the goals of completing chapters in the resources I am reading.
Anyway, good luck
Neometron is making some good points regarding goals, very important.