Friday, October 8, 2010

One week of shutting up (or at least trying to)

My timeout apparently timed out after a week. A little bit too quickly if you ask Dwism:

“Here is the deal, you are only allowed to stay away until you feel that hunger to write and contribute again. Then you wait a week. Then you return.”
And yet here I am, ranting again, because after all, it’s Friday night and where’s a better place to wind down and start the weekend but here among my friends by the barside?

Back to SF fandom
So how has this week of non-blogging been? Well, actually pretty good.

I haven’t been completely silent and absent from the blogosphere, as some of you have noticed. I’ve been reading blogs and I’ve been commenting a bit, possibly more than I normally do, and I've written a number of e-mails to friends and fellow bloggers. You could call it a bit of a cheat I suppose, but even so, the fact that I haven’t written any real blog posts has had a clear impact on my life as a whole.

The week has given me a taste for what it could look like if I didn’t spend a huge chunk of it either playing or blogging about WoW. No, I haven't Saved the World and I haven't written that Magnificent Novel. Not even paid it a thought. I suppose mr Anonymous who loves to point out what a waste of time WoW playing is would consider my week utterly improductive. So many hours wasted on nothing! However: for me it was as if I had rebooted the machine and got Larísa back to work as intended.

I’ve taken up reading and I’m training more regularely again (to the dismay of my aching muscles). I’ve also reconnected to my geeky origins, the Science Fiction fandom as I went to one of the monthly pub meet-ups in my hometown. I don't say think that this form of geekery in any way is superior to my gaming activities (to refer to the discussion Tamarind had about geek hierarchies). Seeing friends IRL isn't necessarily "better" than seeing them on vent or in a chat. However, it felt like a homecoming to hug some people I've known for 25 years, but havent met for a very long time, picking up our weird, all-out nerd discussions as if no time had passed.

I may appear as a gamer these days, but deep down I can't help thinking that it's more of a temporary disguise as I'm visiting my neighbours in the World of geeks. Even 20 years after publishing my last fanzine, I'm still an SF fan at heart, even if my approach rather is FIJAGDH than FIAWOL (and long live the acronym!).

I’ve slept. Not five hours a night, but seven, which is what I need if I stop lying to myself.

My conclusion from this blogless week is that I want to get back to and maintain this balance in life. This means that there's a definitive stop to pushing out some four or five lenghty posts a week. Period. If I ever get the urge to blog with that frenzy again, I’ll do everything I can to resist it, trying to direct my energy and creativity somewhere else.

Posts I didn't write
Funny enough restricting myself is probably the best way to increase my lust for blogging. I figure it’s a bit like what the therapists usually ordinate people who need to improve their sex life. The theory is that if you explicitly prohibit them from doing it, this is suddenly all they want to do and they’ll go just crazy.

I've experienced this myself during the timeout, as I've had a number of impulses to write blog posts about all sorts of things. Posts that I normally would have written, but never saw the day as it was.

Like the 600 account cap for guilds – is it a fair measure to make sure that the servers aren’t transformed into mega zerg guilds or an unjustified act against great communities such as Alea Iacta Est?

There was also the intense discussion over at Keeva’s place about exactly how bad it is to use words like “rape”, “retard” and “gay” in the guild chat.

You’d be surprised how liberal and laissez-fair this little polite, kindhearted pink pigtailed gnome is compared to many of the voices that have been raised in the post and the comment thread!

I can definitely sign on the intention of Keeva's post and I wrote her a letter of support, which you can need when you get a ton of comments, of which all aren't that nice. My heart beats for her. And I'm all for fighting prejudices and discrimination of people with various sexual preferences and I wouldn't hesitate to speak up if someone said something obviously racist or sexist in our guild chat (not that I think it ever would happen).

But. Here comes the but. I don't think that a thoughtless use of those words, with no intention to hurt anyone, motivates warfare. I'm not convinced that hunting down certain words is the way to go if you want things to change. Or at least it's not top priority. Is it really so that the best way to disarm a word is to not use it and make a huge drama about it every time it comes up? At least in Sweden the label "gay" has been conquered by the gay people themselves, and made into a pretty much neutral word, which gives food for thought.

Maybe it was just as good that I resisted posting about it, apart from this little remark and that can't really count as a post, can it? I probably saved myself a shitstorm of serioulsy negative comments by remaining silent.

Then we've heard the news about the upcoming Blizzcon. Is it only I who find the announced program extremely underwhelming? The announcement of the release of Cataclysm could have been worth a post; after all we've waited for that piece of news for a year, ever since Blizzcon 2009. And if that wasn't blog worthy, I could have written a rant about how messy the new raid lockout system appears to me.

As If I didn't have enough of potential topics, Gnomeaggedon, the cunning mage, sent me an e-mail, giving me some clues for an easy-to-make post, as some kind of test I suppose, to see how serious I was about my timeout.

But I stuck to my decision and didn’t act on those ideas! Yay me! Very few topics will go away and if they do, there will always come new stuff to form yourself an opinion about.

Tobold wrote in a comment to my Timeout post that he felt an urge to ride off with me in the sunset. In the end he didn’t, but he has announced that he’ll blog way less than he used to, and I’ve set my mind on following his example. Perhaps we can take inspiration from each other to stay on this path and find the sweet spot of blogging, where it remains inspiring and fun and won't consume our mana?

Less posting
My decision after my timeout and a chat to myself is that The Pink Pigtail Inn will remain open for now, but that your innkeeper will be speaking up far less often than she used to. Maybe once a week, maybe even less. There won't be any set schedule whatsoever. No promises, no expecations on myself or anyone else.

I don't nourish any ambitions to be around and up-to-date with things, to take part of the most relevant discussions. Many times I'll remain silent, when I would have spoken up if it wasn't for my second thoughts on blogging, the fact that I only want to spend a certain portion of my life on it.

If this means less readers, less comments, less interaction with the community, a spot in a shady alley where few people ever go, so be it! As a matter of fact it might be for the good.

Until now I’ve had a policy where I've tried to write individual replies to at least 90 percent of the comments I get, and this self imposed goal is probably one of those things that have made me feel a bit stretched. I’ve had several good reasons – it’s a matter of politeness, it’s my way to connect to the readers, it’s my way of showing in action how much I appreciate every voice and it’s also something I enjoy.

I also prefer having a good conversation that just listen to my own voice. Many times the comments are far better than the posts in themselves and I think they deserve this acknowledgement. I've been very reluctant to let go of this habit. But it comes with a cost; it's insanely time consuming.

Maybe a slower posting will solve the issue naturally. PPI might turn into a low profiled place where just a handful of people stick to their habit, having an occasional Friday night pint, listening to the rants of an old lady and her mostly cheerful and occasionally grumpy customers. At least I’m willing to try that road and see how it works out.

And if it doesn’t, well, then I’ll write that final chapter in the story of this inn. I already have a fair idea about how it will end.

This has been a quiet week. I'm glad to be back for the time being, especially since it seems as if you've saved a drink for me. Can you please pass that one over?

And oh yes, Frosty, I haven't forgotten the note you left in the bar. This one is on you!

Cheers!

26 comments:

SpiritusRex said...

****Hearing a sound outside of the empty Inn, Spiritus shields himself and ventures out. To his surprise, he finds the slightly disheveled Innkeeper. "Glad to see ya made it back, it's 'bout time", he tells her. Without a further word, but giving her a knowing wink, he leads her back to her Inn, hands her a glass of wine and retakes his seat by the fire - a self-satisfied smirk crossing his face. Some voices can never be quieted, he thinks to himself.****

Ratshag said...

/hand Larísa a tall frosty glass of fermented centaur milk

/welcome her back ta the Inn

Ophelie said...

Larisa!

I'm so glad to see you discovered some remaining blogging mojo within yourself! I do hope you keep writing the odd post now and then. And actually, when you posted several times a week, I found it very hard to keep up. I'd read one post, digest it for a few days, then come back to comment, only to realized that I was now 3 posts behind.

On the topic of Keeva's post, you summed up very well how I feel about hateful behaviours in game. I purposely stayed out of it because whenever I do speak on the topic, I feel like I can't get my point across the way I'd like and people just end up noticing the parts they DONT agree with. It's hard sometimes, being moderate ;)

Anyway, it was great to see an update from you, and I'm already looking forward to reading whatever "rants" my favorite innkeeper may have on an upcoming Friday night.

Klepsacovic said...

Bloggers never shut up!

Good to see you again in the inn.

Syl said...

Your post made me chuckle, it's good you're trying to give more moderate blogging a go instead of stopping completely. I think we all have that driven perfectionist in us in one way or another and maybe a phase of burnout is just one necessary step on the way of looking at things in a different way and learning to actually enjoy yourself without the pressure of "harder/better/faster/stronger". you know what I mean, for me this test will be in WoW once Cata hits. :)
also, you really don't need to post a certain amount of post to maintain your reader base I'm sure, the quality of your posts is what matters.

Anyway, glad you're back and all the anonymous haters out there can go FO. ;)

Redbeard said...

Good to see you reconnected a bit with some of your other old pastimes.

Don't feel the need to post daily; what's more important is that you enjoy what you post, and that you don't overdo it.

Shintar said...

That sounds like a good outcome for your week off, I'm happy for you. :)

I also don't think that you'll lose readers by posting a little less often. I agree with Ophelie that sometimes four or five posts a week can actually feel like a bit much to read too! Post whenever you feel like and I'm sure most people will still be around to chat. :)

Imraith Dos Santos said...

So very glad you are hanging in there; I have been following your posts for quite awhile now and find the Inn a comfortable place to spend some in-between time. Your posts are lucid, civilized and thought-provoking - qualities hard to find in this corner of the world.

spinksville said...

:) Yay, fridays weren't going to be the same without you.

If you're doing more reading, consider getting a kindle. I am totally and utterly in mad adoration of mine, it's really awesome.

Gronthe said...

Well I think what you're doing is splendid, simply splendid. I've reserving a seat in the inn and installing an alarm in the micro-chip that I had inplanted in my head to let me know when to drop by and hear a tale or two by the fireside.

Stabs said...

/hug

You do whatever you feel like, sweetie.

Tesh said...

Kinda hard *not* write sometimes, innit? :)

Dyre42 said...

Glad to see you back. I gave up (political) blogging for WoW. Now I have to resist the urge to blog about the game as my free time is limited.

Brian 'Psychochild' Green said...

I figured you'd be back. You have too much insight not to want to post. I think a lesser pace might do you some good, too.

I've been experimenting with Twitter, writing just one tweet per day (usually, not counting replies), and that's been working for me. I can think of something useful to say that might not make a full-blown blog post, but I'm not compelled to tweet so much that I'm commenting on the food I eat or other trivia. It works well for me, and I suspect you'll find that writing less often will allow you to concentrate more on issues you want to cover.

At any rate, welcome back to active blogging. :)

hound said...

Hey, just wanted to say all is well. Take whatever kind of break you need to. Just don't force anything or the joy gets sucked out. If you can't post for three months, then so be it. If you need to post three times a day for a week, then so be it. You're supposed to be having fun, not catering to the crowd.

gnomeaggedon.net said...

Mmm let me see.. what were the suggested blogging topics I sent Larisa...

Back to SF fandom - check
Posts I didn't write - check
Less posting - check

Naaah...

See you in a month (or less, or more... whenever!)

Stumps said...

Cheer@Larisa

Do whatever you intend to do for you and for no-one else ;)

Anonymous said...

To mention Blizzcon, I am a little disappointed. There're only 2 or 3 things for D3, the main thing I've been anticipating and each only lasts for about an hour. But hey I guess we'll see how much great info they give per panel in that one hour.

I bought a ticket to the stream several months ago so all in due time...

Anonymous said...

We all need a vacation from routine, whether it be a physical or a mental vacation. Doing the same things in the same way all the time leads to burnout. Taking time to indulge your other interests will only enrich your life and bring fresh perspective to your writing.

Whether you post sporadically or on a set schedule, I will continue to visit the Inn. I always find something of interest, and frequently your links to other articles take me to blogs I would otherwise never have visited.

Joar said...

Just took a bit of a break myself. Went out to Albuquerque, NM for the hot air balloon festival with the family. No WoW or blog posts for several days.

And it definitely invigorated my inner nerd to stand there in the brisk morning air and watch a 100 ft tall Darth Vader head rise over the field, lift into the air and drift down the valley along with Spongebob, Noah's Ark, a pig in overalls, three giant bees and hundreds more.

Welcome back though! I was secretly watching for your return on my BlackBerry!

Frostys said...

Welcome back!

Really happy to see you took time for yourself and had fun during it. Your decision will probably have an effect on readership but I am sure it is mainly ahters who will go away. Haters gotta hate anyway but I think you will be better off without them. The readers that care about what you think and enjoy reading your point of view will still come and read whatever you want to write. It is your choice in the end and you could cut our supply of insightfull read and all we could do is deal with it. I'll pass by every now and then to see if you felt like sharing part of your mind for us to enjoy. Keep being cheerfull and may the GM dance with you again.

/pay drink

Anytime if you need one. I am nnot a goblin hoarding my coins hehehe.

Where is the beer now?

Copra said...

Your blog, your rules. I didn't even notice you left, as I check the blogs whenever I write my own.

Just feel good about the change, live without constant nagging feeling that you should have written and write only on topics that really, REALLY urge your input.

Live long and prosper, dear!

C out

Dwism said...

I'm not angry, I am disappointed.


;)

Gareth Mensah said...

Glad to have you back Larisa. There is an alternative to time consumming blogging that will still allow you to give insighful updates many times a week. It's not a fit for all, but for me Tumblr is just that.

I'm new to blogging and I simply don't have the time nor the energy to keep up a blog and have daily churn of quality and insightul posts, but I def feel like adding my voice to the conversation happening in the blogosphere, so I've started my own tumblr blog here:

http://videogamecanon.com

I'm glad you're adjusting and seem to have found a way to balance your time. Don't burn out, your voice in the gaming community is much needed and appreciated.

Larísa said...

@SpiritusRex: It will be more quiet here no doubt, but I figure I’ll never be able to shut up completely.

@Ratshag: Fermented centaur milk! That sounds… healthy! Ewww…. I mean I’m aiming for a balanced life, but let’s not overdo it?

@Ophelie: Hehe, I can hope now that you might catch up a bit? And yeah… the topic of how horrible it is to use a word like “lame” in the guild chat… I think it’s safer to keep your thoughts to yourself unless you really long for a huge, infected debate. If you feel the way we do about it. I respect and love the people who have a different view too much to want to fight over this issue.

@Klepsacovic: Good to see you!

@Syl: Oh, I don’t promise any quality either. Just wait and see how crappy my rare posting can be! You’d be surprised!

@Redbeard: No overdoing here sir. As a matter of fact refraining from posting seems easier this week.

@Shintar: We’ll see. It’s not about the quantity either. There are a few hopeless oldies who like to hang around here. As long as I see their familiar faces from time to time I’ll be fine.

@Imraith Dos Santos: Thank you very much! I’m happy to have you here.

@Spinksville: I haven’t set up a fixed schedule for Friday postings either, but yeah. I’ll see what I can do. About reading… hm… I kind of like the smell and feeling of paper, even in a crappy low quality paperback. Am I hopelessly old fashioned?

@Gronthe: It’s lovely to at least have one faithful listener whenever I feel the urge to rant again!

@Stabs: /hug
Thanks!

@Tesh: It is, but I feel it’s getting a bit easier as I’ve distanced myself from it a little.

@Dyre42: Thanks! Yeah. An alternative could have been to give up WoW but keep blogging. However since the blog is about WoW it didn’t seem as an option.

@Brian Psychochild Green: Thank you! I’ll keep experimenting with this and see if it suits my urges to express myself. I’m still regarding Twitter at distance with a sceptic frown in my forehead.

@Hound: Indeed. It’s always been like this, but I put demands on myself sort of. That’s the way I work. But I’ll try to be easier on myself from now on.

@Gnomeaggedon: I still have it in my drawer. Might come back to it!

@Stumps: Cheer@Stumps!

@Anonymous: The panels are so short and so few. When I compare it to SF fan conventions the program is laughable at Blizzcon. Last year I was sad I couldn’t go, but looking at this… I’m not anymore. Sure it could be fun to see the cinematic in a bigger setting, but at the cost of travelling across the Atlantic? Nah.

@Anonymous 2: Thank you very much and you’re welcome to pop in every now and then!

@Joar: A Darth Vader head! I never knew an air balloon festival contained such things. It sounds great. And yes, we geeks need input from different geeky areas.

@Frostys: Thank you and cheers!
I honestly believe that less posting will have a good effect on my mood.

@Copra: Live long and prosper!

@Dwism: Can’t get rid of that annoying little gnome that easily. Now where’s the hug if I may ask? You’re only at 40, mind you, you need to work on it!

@Gareth Mesah: Welcome to the blogosphere! I hope you’ll enjoy it. Sampling and quoting is all nice, but I hope you’ll come around to add a bit of your own thoughts as well. You don’t have to write walls of texts like some of us do.

Lume said...

Lowering your workload is definitely a good way to go about it. I did that for a couple years myself. I'll admit, however, I tended to concentrate more and more on the negatives as I wrote less and less. So take note and avoid making the same mistakes I did. Though I'm sure you'll be able to!

=)