I had the privilege of sitting down with Eric Lang, an amazingly prolific freelance game designer at the 2016 CMON Game Expo. Eric has worked with lots of different publishers to create many very well-known games including Blood Rage, Arcadia Quest, and A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. I ask him what the one piece of advice he would give to someone who is starting out trying to bring their creative vision to life. His response was incredibly important. He spoke about the very first – and I do mean the very first – thing you need to ask yourself before trying to establish yourself as a creative individual. That makes it the perfect way to kick off a series on what it takes to be a creative entrepreneur. Let’s listen to what Eric has to say…
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Even though Eric and I were talking specifically about game design, I think his answer is relevant to most all creative endeavors. If you want to write books, starting a book publishing company can be a major distraction. Just write books, get an agent and let the agent sell those books to publishers. That way you can write more books. This is probably also true if you are interested in acting, directing, illustrating, or many other creative endeavors.
His point about control of your creative work is also an excellent one. It can be very hard to relinquish control of your work especially when you are starting out and are very emotionally invested in it. The desire to be involved with every part of the project can be very strong. It may indeed be the route for you, but it is important to conduct a very realistic self-assessment on this front very early on. It comes down to knowing yourself and knowing what it is you really want to accomplish. Do you want to run a company? Do you want to focus on just one part of the process necessary to create (and market) something? It is a very important question to ask yourself.
If you would like to find out more about Eric Lang, you can check out his profile on Board Game Geek. It runs down all the projects he was worked on. His personal website is EricMLang.com. If you would like to connect him personally, you can find his Twitter feed right here.