Matthew Gatland

The Zone

April 21, 2013

In two weeks I will leave my day job and become unemployed for the first time since I graduated.

I’m going to be an ‘independent game developer’. I’m going to make games. I don’t know how I’ll make money, but I’m not worried about that yet.

I am worried about how I’m going to survive without an office and an office life. Humans are designed to work in teams, discuss ideas and celebrate success. Programming alone in my bedroom doesn’t seem healthy.

Also, historically, I’ve had trouble focussing when I’m at home. I have a desk and computer in my bedroom, but it’s never been a place for serious work. Can I concentrate in that space?

Yesterday showed me that I can. I started working on my website and got into the zone. I worked from 3 PM till 4 AM with almost no distractions.

I’m regretting that late night today :) but I’m also excited: When I’m working like that, my only motivation problem will be forcing myself to stop working. And that’s a nice problem to have.

I may eventually need a team to keep me sane. I have a few ideas: I could work alone until I start making money, then hire people. This might take years. A faster plan would be to be a charismatic leader of a team who work for profit share. (I’ve been in a team like that before, and I feel like I know how it’s done.)

Or I might forever work alone, but stay sane by collaborating at startup weekends and game jams and code retreats.

I’m not currently interested in working for someone else, but another solution would be to do just that.

I’ve had several friends either mention vacancies or literally offer me a job. While I’m not interested in a job right now, it’s very reassuring to hear that they are out there if I need them.

Lots of people have asked if quitting my job is scary. It’s not. There are so many opportunities and options right now.

There are risks: I need to keep myself motivated, and stay in touch with other professionals. But I’m part of a great community, and I’ve proven to myself that I can focus at home. I think this is going to work.