Being an independent developer is great, but it can lead you to feel isolated if you don’t force yourself to get away from your computer. You’re not mingling with co-workers every day, so you’ve got to find other ways to socialize. Otherwise you’ll end up being just another blob in front of a screen.
Attending conferences is one way to get out, and it’s something I enjoy a couple times a year. But that’s an awfully expensive (not to mention infrequent) way to meet people – and it’s not a good way to meet people who don’t develop software. Honestly, if there was only one thing I could recommend for indie developers, it would be to get away from techies and technology as often as possible.
One thing that’s worked well for me is joining a local marathon training group. I get outdoors and have a shared goal with non-geeks, and I feel energized as a result (well, most of the time – sometimes I just feel sore). Other indie developers I know have done regular charity work, become involved in local politics, or simply taken up hobbies that get them around other people.
Whatever route you take, I guarantee you that you’ll last longer as an independent developer if you regularly put the tech toys aside. Surrounding yourself in geekdom is a quick road to burnout, and if you get burned out, you’re going to have to get a “real” job again.
5 thoughts on “Indie Tip #4: Get a Life”
I used to go out for 7 mile lunchtime runs with my financial director at work. We would end up running through proposed enhancements to the financial reporting systems but it did keep us fit at least.
Nick, how has the running come along since your surgery that was effecting your equilibrium?
Thanks for asking, Randy. Last year the running went badly, and I gave up because it made me too dizzy. This year has been great, though – no problems at all.
Great series! I’m currently writing my thesis, which is also a solitary task, so I’m a different boat, but the same ocean, so to speak.
Anyway, I’ve also joined a running-club 6 months ago, which made a lot of difference. For non-running minded people, there’s also lists of group-hobbies/activities on http://www.meetup.com, http://www.upcoming.org, and if you sign up for a http://www.last.fm account (free), you can access musical events in your area that match your musical tastes.
Hope that helps other “indies” to get a life :)
Thanks for the tips, Vincent. I haven’t tried last.fm yet, but I keep hearing good things about it, so I’ve just signed up.
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