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“Living the Dream”

So, a few days ago my friend Justin Smith posted up a list of my old gaming stuff for sale. In that post, he mentioned that I’ve moved to Oakland, CA, and am now “living the dream.”

I suppose that bears some conversation.

Last January, I decided that I wanted to leave Sacramento, my home for 17 years. Every time I visited the Bay Area, I fell in love with it over and over again. I didn’t know what I was going to do once I moved, but I essentially gave myself twelve months to get my life together enough to figure that out. Over the course of those twelve months, several new projects and opportunities came knocking — notably doing project development for The Dresden Files RPG and becoming the general manager of Indie Press Revolution.

After GenCon, I had enough work and contacts to make a stab at being a serious part-time freelance writer & editor. (Enough to where I was working around 60-70 hour weeks trying — and failing — to get everything done, counting my then full-time day job.) I reaffirmed my commitment to move at the end of the year and focus on my budding new career — something my friends and I jokingly called “living the dream.”

Okay, maybe not so jokingly. Here I am, a man who has turned down a life of security for the unpredictably of a freelancer — the feast and famine involved, hoping people will pay me for work rendered, and having to manage my own time/schedule/productivity/etc. I’m now spending several hours a day making shit up (as well as help others make up good shit and display it well), hoping people will keep being interested in it.

And you know what? I’m happy. It’s not easy, and I never imagined it would be. Frankly, I’m flighty and still over-committed, two things I’m going to have to square quickly if I’m going to keep this up. But it’s a new set of challenges in a number of different arenas, and I’m a man who thrives on that. (Some friends know me to say “Something cannot both be easy and worthwhile,” which in hindsight is probably a rather strong indicator of my worldview.)

It helps that I still have my old job in Sacramento as a part-time thing, which means I have steady income and insurance. That takes some of the edge off of the risk. Certainly, it’s not as “sexy” as the whole struggling artist thing, but I’m a 31 year old gamer nerd. Sexy is something I don’t have to worry about.[1]

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll talk about more later, like how I hired the aforementioned friend Justin to be my business manager and some of my plans and pitfalls for dealing with this new life as a freelancer. At least, that along with me going back to blogging about design, production & media thoughts.

– Ryan

[1] Some of you will take this as a self-denegrating comment. Others a fantastically boastful one. The “great” thing about this medium is that you can’t hear my inflection to know what I mean by it. [2]

[2] Ohh, Rob Donoghue-style footnotes! I’m keeping it classy!

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6 Responses to “Living the Dream”

  1. Carl Rigney says:

    [3] Dresden Files groupies! Just sayin’.

  2. Cheers to your living and your dream, Ryan. You’re a deservedly lucky man, except that you’re not lucky at all. You’re making your fate, is what.

  3. GM of IPR? Hadn’t heard of that. Congratulations, man!
    Go for it, dude. It isn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile is. I think you have created a good enough name so far to continue getting jobs, and those you get and turn around will only help you get more (Dresden, anyone?). So, awesome.

    Now, put some sort of plugin that allows me to subscribe to comments. It’s just the civilized thing to do.
    http://txfx.net/code/wordpress/subscribe-to-comments/
    ;-)

  4. Ryan Macklin says:

    Carl: I’ll take my DFRPG groupies on the right, podcast groupies on the left, thank you very much.

    Will: Thank you. Funny, that’s how I tend to view “luck” these days myself — that it’s about paying attention and making the effort to act.

    Daniel: Thanks. And yeah, I have some plans for this blog to, you know, upgrade it into the future at whatnot. :) But, my time for messing with my blog is scant, given all the hats I wear.

    “Soon!”, he said — the mantra of all over-worked souls.

    – Ryan

  5. Dave says:

    I see that you said “help others make up good shit and display it well” does that mean you are open to working with the (hopefully) up and coming with their Master Plans?

  6. Ryan, FWIW, if you need some quick help with your WP, let me know and maybe I can lend a hand to do some basic updating/plugin installing/etc.