Our assignment this week for PR writing was an “influencer” interview. There are a couple Winnipeg writers that come to mind that I suppose I could have interviewed, but another related topic seemed better.
My good friend, Brett Lowey, is a successful, self-made game designer. He holds a computer science degree from the University of Manitoba and worked at a number of what he calls “real jobs” before deciding to follow his passion and design games out of his home.
Following your passion is an interesting one, particularly for writers. How many people would love to write for a living but don’t pursue it because blog writing pays very little, and breaking into the fiction world is nigh impossible?
I asked Brett what his advice for someone wanting to follow their passion was, particularly against financial and social odds. He had the following points as advice:
His first piece of advice was that if you’re going to pursue your passion (and not work a salaried job), you need to minimize your living expenses. Ask yourself some (hard) questions: Do you need a car? How thrifty can you be about your grocery choices? What things (55” TV, new furniture, expensive clothing) can you live without?
“The Eggs Go In Many Baskets!”
The second piece of advice was have multiple streams of income. Not necessarily all at once, but have the option of writing blogs for a local business or doing some consulting work. Have a lot of little, low-commitment ways to pay the bills if things get tight. And make sure you have the option to go back to your “real job” if quitting is a part of you pursuing your passion.
Learn Tangential Things
Thirdly, work on a lot of things related to your passion at once. Brett got a degree in computer science so he can program the games he designs (design and development are two very different sets of skills). For a writer, it might mean finding copy-writing jobs (i.e. directly related to your passion), or alternatively learn to, say, do marketing so that you can do better to promote your novel when you do write it.
What the conversation came down to is that doing what you love as a career isn’t easy. It’s also not free. You may have to give up a level of comfort to pursue your passion. You may have to do more work for less money to even get started.
Passions Aren’t Free
A helpful exercise, says Brett, is to assess your situation and determine what it will cost you (time, money, effort, comfort, etc.) to realistically get to a place where you can spend most of your resources doing something you love. Do that cost-benefit analysis and see if it’s acceptable to you.
At the end, it might not be acceptable, and according to Brett, that’s okay! His perspective is that some people are more happy with having their passion be a hobby, and finding that out might save you a lot of headache.
Thanks so much to Brett Lowey for being my interviewee. Go check out his latest creation and put it on your Steam wishlist!