Really interesting thread, as this also applies to what I've been into lately. I'm in the process of making a 5 year roadmap for myself and my life which is quite centered in the question how can I have more time to experiment and make music?. My goal is not an impossible, i don't want to be a rockstar, nor do I think I can really live from my music, but i'd be very glad If I just had a wee more time to explore, to read, to try new techniques, to study and to make music.
My 8 hour day job routine is slowly tiring me more and more, and since I realised music and art are the things I want to put more effort (and love) into, it's becoming more of an annoyance. I don't think I can get rid of it, but it would be so cool if I didn't have to spend so much time at it. The 8 hours can easily transform themselves into 11 hours (transport, lunch time, etc), and by then you're quite burned out. Weekends seem to fly. My musical work seems to creep at painfully slow speed, and finishing a track takes quite a lot of time.
Due to the above facts, I'm also finding that I just can't gig as often as it's needed to gain momentum. And If I do, I have to choose between giging and doing music (which is what I enjoy the most). And If you don't have enough music...how can you gig? It's a difficult balance for us who love music but at the same time have to pay bills and live in the real world.
Maybe in the end all that adds up so we have a deeper love and respect for our craft.
And as for doing music for $$$, I just made my first serious game audio project. I have to say, it has consumed me a lot of time, and (by now at least) the pay was so/so, but it's an interesting side, and i'll definitely try to do more of that and see where it takes me. I didn't really enjoy very much of it, but it has been a learning experience. And as someone said, by working in the audio field, you also get to know people and make more contacts, which is quite a big part of the equation for "making it".
My 2 cents.
Best of lucks at your project mate, I can feel what this is all about.
Turn up the radio. Turn up the tape machine. Look into the sunset up ahead. Roll the windows down for a better taste of the cool desert wind. Ah yes. This is what it's all about. Total control now.