Writing for a living

Categories: Writing
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Published on: April 19, 2013

Until recently, I had an amazing job as a game designer at Cryptic Studios. Everyday, I went to work with some of the most talented and intelligent people I’ve ever met. I did my best to create unique and interesting content for the team, but when I went home I was writing.

I published my first novel, Spire, in 2011 and entered it into the indieReader.com Discovery contest. It received an Award for Science Fiction the following summer which completely blew my mind. Sure, I wanted to win but my expectation was only to have some professional feedback from the industry–the panel of judges consisted entirely of legit agents, publishers, and critics. Anyway–Spire flippin’ won!–and I doubled the effort on the sequel. But that extra push lasted only a short while… I felt I was spread too thin between design and writing.

By the end of 2012, working both as a writer and a game designer was too much. Design was great, but I was staying in it more for the people than anything else; I really liked my co-workers and the company, and I designed and implemented for them. But, I didn’t share the connection to the game anymore. Maybe I was burnt out? I don’t know. Cryptic provided the most family-oriented and personal-time-respecting environment that I’d had in the industry… if I was burnt out, it was my fault. Regardless of the reason, I was losing touch with design and more passionate than ever about my next novel.

I decided that I had an opportunity to make writing a career if I poured myself into it completely. So, with the blessings and support of my friends, I left to pursue it.

It’s been difficult. It’s been scary. Still, I made the right choice. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live without trying. I have to try, that’s just who I am. After all, what’s the alternative? Living with “the wonder” for the rest of my life? Or feeding myself the deception that I “could have been?” No way. It would be much harder to live with myself admitting that I was too scared to try. So, I gave up a few comforts and security for a chance at a dream. You don’t have to tell me the odds, it’s worth it for the experience.

In the time since I left design, I finished the sequel to Spire and published the novella I wrote fifteen years ago, Evening Breezes. Both are entered in the indieReader 2013 Discovery Awards. I’m working on my fourth novel and looking for work to support my efforts. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be a poor and starving artist–the Donate button is there for a reason!–but, I’m going to see this through, I’m going to know.

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