Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

The beginning of the year is usually a time to take stock, make plans, create lists: all those things you should have done last year, but somehow didn't get around to. All those things you know you should do in the coming year, but may or may not have the will to get on with.

This year I have pretty clear goals: -
  1. Continue with the design and development of my first game.
  2. Finish my next novel, Intertwined.

I'm also going to learn a bit more about 3D art, so I'm hopeful that the cover to Intertwined will look as good on screen as it does in my head.

One of my goals as a software developer, has always been to create things that I hope are useful: I've seen ads for things to help you find the "exact" niche book market that's on the up on the Kindle Store - and "what's the best genre of game to make to get the most money" - honestly both those ideas are terrible to me.

If you're not creating something that you want to read, or you want to see/use, then why are you bothering? Money? People will see through it - they'll see the lack of conviction, the lack of vision - when it's not something you're invested in, then it's never going to be your best work.

So if you're writing novels, or building games, or creating anything this year, please do it for the right reason: because you need to, not because you want to make money off it.

Of course I'd love it if my apps suddenly became chart-toppers on the app store - but it's okay if they don't: because I created them for me. I use them myself, every time I do a novel, I'm planning it either in Subplot, or Plotline, and sometimes both. When I'm writing, I'm using Word Count Dashboard to keep myself on target. My iPad has my Shelf Life book list on it, and Novel Ideas is on my phone. And I use Peace of Mind too - even though it's one of those things that you don't use that often. I also used Continuity to do some editing for a manuscript this year. I even have a Savings Jar file for a holiday - and maybe some day I'll get to go.

I'm not going to include links to my apps above - I just wanted to make the point that they all exist because I wanted their functionality - it's not about the money. And it's the same with writing - the headline authors, like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, yes they make millions, but they really are the exception. I write because I enjoy it, and I want to read the story that's growing in my head. If anyone else reads and enjoys them, then that's a really great bonus. And yes, one day, it'd be lovely to make a living from it, I'm not daft! But I am realistic.

So to everyone who's tried one of my apps this year, and everyone who's taken a chance on Life Support or Spark of Humanity, thank you - and have a wonderful, safe, creative 2016.

Happy New Year.