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.