Last night I failed miserably to attend the World of Warcraft raid. For whatever reason I have not slept amazingly well this week, so by the time I got home yesterday I found myself incapable of sitting up straight in my office chair. From there I attempted to game on the couch from my laptop, but before long was finding myself dozing off. So around the 7:30 start time of our World of Warcraft raid I was ultimately taking a nap. It looks like they put in ten solid tries on Blackhand without me, which is pretty awesome. Hopefully this coming week we can manage to down him and take his candy. I am not sure why I am apparently sleep deprived but after all the napping on the couch I still managed to sleep a fairly full nights sleep. Admittedly I woke up several times during the night, but each time I was able to get right back to sleep without much issue.
I did have a really strange dream during the course of all these wake ups. It was at some banquet for Blizzard Entertainment, and somehow had gotten chosen to say a few words. When it came to me and I introduced who I was and what blog and podcast I am from… there was a sheer look of horror from the stage. It was like this overwhelming wave of “What is he doing here?” sweeping over the fine folks from Blizzard. I proceeded to say a few words about my love of Blizzard and I am not really sure what happened next because I woke up. However I do remember having this general feeling that I did not belong there. The funny thing is… that in order for the dream to function I would have to be well known, and this is something that I am not willing to accept. I don’t think anyone at Blizzard has a clue who I am, let alone enough of a clue to be horrified that I would be speaking at their banquet. I am just a guy that does a thing, and not terribly important for doing it.
Don’t Believe Your Own Hype
One of the interesting things about being a blogger or a podcaster is that you are forced into the often uncomfortable role of self promotion. This aspect of blogging names my skin crawl because ultimately whether your like it or not, you are building a brand. The brand is made up of you, the image you project of yourself and the content you create. Most of us adopt a persona of sorts that we break out when it comes to interacting with the world and our readers. For some of us that persona is really damned close to the real thing. For me it is like a super hyped up and self confident version of myself, and the odd thing is that over time the REAL me has become more and more like the “Rockstar” me. For the most part this is harmless, because “super” me probably is far more enjoyable to be around than the sulky and moody “actual” me that exists sometimes. The problem is it is really damned easy to lose your sense of self on the internet.
In the decade or so I have been serious about socializing online, I have seen more than a few people lose themselves in their own hype. They start to believe that they are legitimately famous and as such somehow separated from the “common” folk because of it. If you ever find yourself with the strong desire to utter the phrase “Don’t you know who this is?” then chances are you have already gone off the deep end. As strange as it sounds this is a constant fear of mine, that I will end up becoming one of those empty self promoting husks. I spend most of my time trying to actively deny the fact that I have any sway over other human beings, and that I am ultimately just talking to myself. The reality is somewhere between because apparently as much as I try and deny it the whole #BelEffect thing that I am cursed with is apparently a legitimate thing.
Find A Grounding Force
The reality is that on a daily basis I have somewhere between 500 and 1000 readers of this blog when you combine direct hits and folks that read it through an RSS reader. I am by no means a large presence on the internet, but I do have a niche following. I do everything in my power to forget that I actually have readers, largely because I am scared to death of turning into one of the people that I have been frustrated with in the past. I just want to be me, doing the thing that I do… and sharing that thing with other people. Essentially what has worked thus far is to surround myself with people that are not buying into my own hype in the least. While my friends like to grief me with things like that hashtag or trying to claim I am some media personality… they are also the first people that would call me on my shit if I ever started to believe any of it. More than anything the biggest grounding force in my life is my wife, who is not part of the gaming universe at all.
I realize this is a strange post as far as Newbie Blogger Initiative tips goes, because if you are just starting out you are in that phase where you are struggling to gain the courage every single day to post anything at all. There comes a time however when those fears go away and you are able to interact freely. I’ve tried my best to stay grounded and humble as this blog has grown from something a couple dozen people followed to the readership it has today. The problem is that not everyone does, and I have watched this whole process go to folks heads. I am no one special, and thanks to the support of my wife and friends… it is my intent to keep it that way. Self promotion is a necessary evil, and the “rockstar” version of my personality will more than likely always need to be there as a coping mechanism for the stress of dealing with other human beings. It is my sincere hope that I can keep from falling into the trap of believing in my own hype. It is also my hope that as you go through your own rollercoaster of success with your own blogging endeavors that you too can keep from believing your own hype.