Here are my thoughts on crushed dreams. And I’m not talking about being let down. More like:

This is only a slight exaggeration.

This is only a slight exaggeration.

Something that feels like PURE ANNIHILATION. I’m sure some people are dealing with massive, unforeseen, disappointment. If you are one of those people, please see if this applies to you.

My Example

It’s always been a hope of mine (and still is) to live off my own published web games. For several years, I’ve researched other online creators to find the secrets to their success. But recently, I encountered many harrowing opinions concerning the “indiepocalype”. They claim it is a horrible time to be an indie game developer right now since the market is flooded. I’m well aware of this “indiepocalype”, but all I wanted was to market to my small fan base, not compete with the entire world.

I finally found one developer who did exactly what I wanted to accomplish. He had published his own, downloadable games and sold them directly to consumers on his website.

For over a decade too!

Wow, so it is possible! 

I must ask for his advice on how he did it…

My Email of Hope and Sunshine


Dear Dev_I_Wanna_Be,

My name is Michael, and I’m a young professional (software developer) whose dream is becoming an independent artist and game developer.


I discovered your guys’ site after doing research on your latest game, Hit_Game_I_Wanna_Make.


What really surprised me was how such a popular game was developed not by a large company, but a small team.


It was exciting to learn that you both have been to support yourselves through making small indie games for over a decade (with the help of a very loyal fanbase!). Your history timeline is insanely inspiring to me.


So I’m wondering when did you know to pursue the independent route?
Is it something that you went “all-in” on or was there a more gradual path you took?


It would be great to get some perspective before I jump in myself.


Many thanks!
(My website, if curious)

The dev kindly responded back (with an entire blog post!) advising me to continue making games, but not to expect to repeat his results AT ALL.

He confirmed my fears of the “indiepocalype”.

He told me that his own “direct sale to consumer” approach was lucrative and only lucky timing.

And he even ended the post with: “Keep your real job, you bum!”

I knew that last quip was just a joke. But it was punch to my gut. Very. Sobering.


Why was it sobering? Probably because I was drunk on my dream.

A person may spend dozens of hours, weeks, months visualizing an ideal living situation, relationship, career, or achievement. We get encouragement (where we can find it) to dream. One starts making guesses about the future, instead of realistic expectations. One gets too hopeful. Perhaps, self-motivation has gone overboard.

But once you are presented with the hard truth, with facts you hadn’t considered, it feels like the whole dream has been obliterated. Sure, mature people can manage their expectations. They can handle the truth fine.

But what if something completely takes you and your dream by surprise?

I’m talking about crushed dreams here!

Things You Can Do about Crushed Dreams


I tried out these things and they helped.

1. Accept what you’re feeling.

You thought one way for awhile, and now you gotta believe it a different way. It is cognitive dissonance and it feels bad. Don’t fight it, the only reason you feel like your dreams are being crushed is because reality hits hard. The worse it feels, the more likely it is a cold hard fact.

Deep down inside, as Vader says: “Search your feelings, you know it to be true.”

You may want to go pure Gung-ho motivation (“This is an obstacle! I must ignore all doubts! I can achieve anything I set my mind to!”). But it may be too late for that. What I’ve found is that the crushing feeling I experienced was evidence I wasn’t committed enough in the first place.

This time, self-motivation has failed. All you can do now is reconcile and heal.

2. Blame no body.

Don’t blame the expert, yourself, or anyone else. This was an honest mistake. People are naturally hopeful.

3. Let the facts marinate.

I remember after reading the developer’s response, I immediately tried coming up with new plans to keep the dream alive. After a few days of intense, thinking, I realized it may be safest to put your dream on hold (but do NOT toss it away).

Instead, let the facts settle in, as they are fresh realizations (it’s tempting to try to either verify or deny the facts). Your mind wants to be certain. You were nice and happy when you were “certain”.

So don’t try to figure it out. Let the muse of creativity find a workaround. A lucky solution may present itself tomorrow.

4. Re-evaluate.

Keep going. Carry on with your life, for the longer you let your dream marinate, the more at peace you will be when you revisit it. When you feel ready and happy, re-evaluate your dream and see how it tastes.

Is it still worthy? Is it viable?

In Conclusion

This article is for me to read during those rare instances I’m super let-down. It doesn’t happen often, but it can be really painful.

When it comes to ambition, it is more interesting to dream hard and get slapped by reality than to never dream at all.

Is the pain worth the excitement?

I’m not truly sure. But at least I have some band aids!





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16 thoughts on “Band-aids for Crushed Dreams

  1. Wow. What a great timing. I was thinking in maybe abandoning my dream… Sometimes life just hit you out of nowhere, and it is very hard to stand back up. Thanks for the words, you helped a little dreamer with them.

  2. Thank you for this. It helps me remember that becoming a best-selling author someday will be a really tough goal, especially since tons of people write books. It might even be unattainable. I’m still not going to give up on it. I just have to work extra hard.

    Thanks for the reality check lol.

    • Whoa! A writer! You’re a rarity around here.

      I’ve been working on a manuscript for a series of my own, and I’m slowly finding out how laborious developing a story is. Extra hard work indeed.

      • Yeah, it’s laborious indeed. I’m starting young though and hoping the process will get easier the more I do it. So far, no luck, but I haven’t even completed a story yet so maybe it’ll get easier after.

        Good luck with your writing, man. Will you be notifying your fans if you get published, or no?

        I’d like to see how well an animator/artist/game developer writes because they’re all tasks that take up so much time and it’s like how do you do it all? Lol.

        Anyway, sorry for my rambling. I was just really surprised that you replied, and so quick too. Again, good luck.

        • Your goal nearly parallels my own. However, after lots of research and talking to actual authors, I came to the conclusion that I must have a steady career before making my way in the writing world. That being said, my creative writing professor said I would make a great professor one day, so that is my path. Work at being a professor of some renown and use my spare time to write. I encourage you to do something similar, since it seems the safest path. DON’T GIVE UP.

          P.S I only ever finished one full book before, and that book got deleted by accident. I would start with submitting short stories to magazines to get noticed. You may even make some money from winning some contests.

  3. Thank you for this so very very very much. Not sure what it means, But I’m absolutely positive that you are me, and a lot of others, what that dev was to you. An inspiration. Keep up the amazing work. <3

  4. Thx really helps a lot right now and I was thinking of not becoming some kind of musician/dj/singer but this gave me a huge boost that literally yells out “DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS”! Again thanks for the boost of hope and band-aids lol 🙂

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