Idea : Top down action shooter with a scrolling field.
How far it went : I completed !!!
Evolved : It was like i wondered.
Lessons : soo many to point it out.
How it would be now : Like the game but with more stuff. And probably isometric.
Last year i was in the same place you are right now. Almost the same skillset that you have, and no idea how to program or something. (in case you are wondering im 29 atm) After 1 year of hard work and all, im pretty happy atm with the work. Learning programing IS hard if u dont have a background in it, and no one to help you out. Cant stress this enough. Sure theres a ton of tutorials about everything, but when you start you dont even know how to ask the questions in a "programatic" way in order to get the response you want. And you will have a LOT of questions.
Many many ppl cant put themselfs in a "noob" place in order to understand why you cant understand something. Like teaching, no matter what the subject it is, teaching is hard.
That beeing said, 6-9 hours week to learn how to program...if you dont have anyone to help you, im sry but it will take a LONG time. And more specifically more time to learn game programing, and all its subtopics in order to make a game. (from graphics, to collision, to ai...).
When you understand how the inner workings of programing works you start to like it more and more. You wont like it at first, cause u will hit ur head into a wall EVERYDAY, and everytime you try to do something.
About the bussiness side of things, and the indie gaming: Sure its cool to think that you can make it on the indie side of things, but it is HARD. After you make your game, you need to sell it. To sell it, you need market, you need to know ppl. Look at angry birds...and all the AAA´s atm in the market. Like you said "I've grown tired of a lot of what comes out now.", theres a reason why they keep doing it. Because the marketing and publishing side of things work. When you dont have a huge budget, making it by yourself is MAD hard. And im talking truth about doing it indie, you need to pay bills, raise your family and all that. I have to disagree with Acharis on some of the points he made. Money IS important. Thats a final. Sure graphics, design (in all the levels of it), expressing yourself in your art, developing some crazy programing algorithm, optimizing, music, sound fx and all that makes for a healthy development, but money is part of it also. The half part of what he said holds tho, you will probably earn less than what you can in other jobs.
Apart from the cold shower here, it is mad fun, and can be extremely rewarding in diferent levels. And hey, programing is something that you will use for sure. Even if not for making games, but beeing a tech savy artist is VERY precious.
Thats my experience in trying to break into the game developing world. Hope it helps.