Something in the Water
Yesterday the very amazing Aywren posted a bit on her blog to serve as a bit of inspiration and support for bloggers out there, and a bit of it was directed at me. There is something going on and it is bigger than me or this blog, but seemingly effecting a lot of other bloggers out there. Its like this growing dissatisfaction with whatever we have been doing, and trying to find a way to tweak and change it to make our lives better. IronWeakness for example has been frustrated lately with the lack of attention to his family and faith, and as a result is quitting cold turkey. Liore has reached a point where she just doesn’t really want to write about games because of a lot of reasons… not the least of which is how toxic gaming has become. As far as me, I have written about my frustrating inability to get into MMOs lately. I guess the thing is… this feels different from your average lack of creativity. I can sit down at the keyboard and summon a post at will every single day and I have done so for the last three years. More than anything I have started to question why and if I actually want to do it.
In part I have felt this massive amount of pressure to keep moving the ball forward. It is like I have all of the plates spinning in the air and I am desperately trying to make sure that none of them stop and come crashing to the ground. The past year has not been amazingly well for me when it came to gaming, and more importantly writing about gaming. I made an attempt to do the whole writing for a paycheck thing when it came to MMOGames.com. The problem is… turning it into a job… no matter how sporadic and supplemental it was… drained all of the fun out of the experience for me. Similarly I used to love to write code on the weekends… until I became a programmer for a living… and now the last thing I want to see once I exit work is code of any form. This was only compounded by Blaugust which took a significant toll on me, and my ability to enjoy reading blog posts. During that month, the insane number of people we had signed up… meant that every morning I was getting up and religiously checking this long list of post and tabulating data in a spreadsheet. Nothing drains the fun out of anything like a spreadsheet.
So I have slowly backed away from MMOGames and the thought of taking any assignments there, thinking that distance would make the enjoyment come back. I also took a long break from reading blogs, because I thought with time the desire to read them would come back. In both cases things regenerated over time, but I feel like a part of me died in both cases that can never come back. Right now I just feel somehow out of phase with the world. There are days when I am mostly okay, and can hold normal conversations… but the rest of the time it feels like everything is washing over me in a manner that is just impossible to grasp. There are so many times I contemplate interacting, but it is so damned hard to take that first step. Most of the time I am this bundle of anxiety and awkwardness that I am trying desperately to make seem normal. The worst is that I have turtled for a very long time… and what I mean by that is that I have this tendency to tuck my head into my shell and just stop interacting other than when forced to do so. In part I think a lot of the games I have been playing like Diablo 3 or Destiny… I am doing so because I can play them in a completely solo way with brief intermissions of group activity.
I am not sure exactly when I stopped logging into voice chat on a nightly basis, but this has caused this wall of stress surrounding my interacting with the folks I podcast with each week. I still love them and feel the same way about them… but I struggle to interact with them outside of our weekly recording session. I can handle one or two people at a time… but the possibility of logging in to a whole room of people… no matter how familiar I am with them just makes me want to run screaming. Always in the past I have come out of one of these periods within a month or so… but this one feels like it has lasted the better part of this year and might have started last year. I know that I need to force myself to interact… but all I want to do is pull the covers over my head and forget the world exists. It is really hard to be any form of myself when I am like this… because I am known as being this gregarious sort that is kind and happy to see new people. There are just times when I can’t be that version of myself, and I am not sure how to knock myself free of this current slump.
I guess I felt like I needed to be open about these struggles I am dealing with, because maybe it explains a bit why I am the way I am sometimes. All of this is in part why I have seriously contemplated just hanging up my spurs and stopping the blog for awhile. The truth is though… that I don’t really want to. I’ve built this dialog between you the readers and myself… and I enjoy it. I can rattle off a post and it is blissfully one sided. Sure folks comment, but I can deal with responding to those as I am ready. I don’t have to be prepared to have a bidirectional exchange immediately… I can sit down write what I feel like writing and then walk away feeling like I have gotten whatever it was out of my system. The only problem there is this giant looming pressure that I need to post something every day. I think the whole daily thing has been good for me as a whole, but now it just serves as this point of failure that is waiting to happen. I know at some point I will not write a post, and the streak will be over… and it honestly scares me a little bit. Part of me is wondering if I should just plan to have an outage and get it over with to remove a chunk of the pressure.
The truth is my readership on the weekend has always been limited, so I have been kicking around the notion of posting weekdays, but then making the weekends optional. I know coming up for Memorial Day weekend I will be out of town… so that might be the moment I just let the ball drop. My blog can survive without three days worth of posts, or at least I keep telling myself that. Part of me is afraid that if I stop the pattern, I will fall back into my old habits of being the least reliable blogger out there. I would love to be able to say that I would only blog when I have something really important to say… but then that barrier of what is important versus not important would throw me into paralysis. As it stands… I think at the end of this month I will be taking a break, and hoping that this lull with no gaming and no blogging will help to repair whatever schism has formed inside of me. I don’t really want to quit blogging, but I feel like I need to at least take a break, and a planned break is better than just getting up one day and being unable to do it anymore. So anyways… that has been what is going around in my head and I hope now that I got it all out on paper… it makes a little more sense.
Thanks as always for being there and reading.