On my personal website I wrote a piece about the need to grind. It’s the reality of life if you want to make a living as a writer. This field requires you to push yourself to the limit just to get by. You can argue that the system is inherently unfair, and that I should be able to produce a reasonable amount of work in a reasonable period of time and still make a reasonable living. I’d like that. If you’re talking about corporate profit margins versus what trickles down to writers, artists, editors, and so forth, you may have a point. When you’re talking about lo-fi, “small press” and “indie” publishing, the assumption that there are deep pockets to be tapped reflects a lack of understanding of how any of this works.
Angels and ministers of grace defend us, though, from the person that writes something, throws it up on Itch, and a day later wonders why they aren’t rich and famous yet. Yeah. I said it. I know that’s not upbeat and positive, but I can’t hold it in any longer. Their work could be brilliant. The production value might be amazing. No one’s going to care unless people see it. Even if it wins awards, it probably won’t earn enough for you to quit your day job. You can’t coast while you work on your next genius design.
Working full-time at this, 70% of my day is spent on marketing. That means working on the website, finding my comfort level with social media, and developing advertising strategies. The rest of the time is spent creating content. Tons and tons of content, to be released as quickly and in as high a volume as I can manage. That’s the reality of how this business works. You need to push, and push, and push.
I know that some people judge me harshly for this. My goal is to entertain people while making a modest living. It’s not that I don’t want to make great art, or wouldn’t be honored if I were nominated for an award or three. But the cold, hard truth is that I couldn’t do any of that, couldn’t be working in this field in any capacity, if I weren’t regularly making rent and putting food on the table. I can’t eat an ENnie. My landlord doesn’t accept positive reviews of my latest release. You might not like the game, or the way that I play it, but you still have to acknowledge that this is how the real world works right now.
Why You Need to Push Yourself to the Limit to Make a Living
RPGaDay is an annual event held each August. It asks tabletop gamers to use provided daily prompts to express something fun, interesting, and positive about the hobby. David F. Chapman (Autocratik), the award-winning game designer, created it.
About Dancing Lights Press
Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.