Saturday, April 15, 2017

Recalculating . . . Recalculating . . . Alternate Route Found

Any long time readers of this blog will know that I don't regard my own insights here as anything special. There are many, many people that are much more insightful, and are much better communicators. At best, I'm hoping that I might accidentally say something useful that the reader hasn't run across before. At worst, I'm hoping that when I mention people far better than me at game commentary, that those august sages will get even more attention than they have previously.

I, personally, love games. Maybe it's the pent up frustration of my youth, where very few people cared about the things I cared about. I had few people that I could talk about my geeky passions with, so with the advent of the internet and unlimited geek conversation, I wanted to talk to people about things I loved.

That said, I also have had a constant fiendish creature sitting on my shoulder telling me that no one actually cares what I have to say. It tells me that if I don't offer something of value, I am actively causing harm to the greater gaming and geekdom community, because they could be reading or interacting with better, more interesting, more useful geeks than me.

It also tells me that my desire to have communications with other geeks is purely selfish, and so, barring adding something useful to the conversation, I don't have a right to expect conversation or interaction. That if I don't want to be selfish and greedy, I need to be quiet and let the competent people talk.

Now, the more rational part of my brain often tells me that it's not selfish to put something out there and see if anyone wants to interact with the thing I posted. They can chose to engage or not, and it's not my fault if they "waste" time on my efforts.

Then, sometimes, there is a perfect storm that just breaks down all of my rational thinking, and lets the nasty little imp have complete influence.

Keep in mind, I'm not blaming anyone else for my personal hang-ups, but in short order, I listened to a podcast about gaming that causally mentioned gamers "taking gaming too seriously" by spending too much time listening to podcasts about playing and running games, reading GMing advice books, etc. Then I ran into a gaming blog entry that essentially talked about how worthless most posts about gaming advice or observations were because they were nothing new. It also mentioned how bad most people are at running their games. Finally, I went off, fully defensive, on another member of a gaming community that I greatly enjoy and respect. I didn't call names or anything, but I did assume his personal motivations without carefully reading what he had actually said in a post.

I felt terrible when I realized that I hadn't carefully considered what was said. That's when it all came rushing back at me.

  • I don't say anything worthwhile to anyone in any gaming community. It's all been said before, and better than what I can say.
  • I run mediocre games, and there are so many GMs better than me at what I do.
  • I read and listen to a ton of GMing advice, but I never get any better at what I do, so I'm wasting a lot of time and energy.
My initial impulse was to delete the blog, delete my YouTube channel, and force myself to quit posting on social media about games of any sort.

I calmed down a little, but realized I needed to get a grip on myself.

Now that I have had a good night's sleep, and have apologized to the gamer and the community that saw my lack of control on display, I have a better handle on myself. I have gained a bit more perspective.

If I'm not feeling like I have enough time for reviews or game journals, I need to not feel like I'm failing anyone. I need to make sure I'm having fun running the games I'm running first and foremost. Some of the things I post will be for fun, and while I hope people get some use out of those things, that can't be my primary focus. I'm not the best at what I do (sorry Logan), but I do enjoy what I'm doing, and it's a part of who I am.

If you are a long time reader, you've seen me go through this before, and I apologize. Sometimes I go through thoughts like these when times get tough, but ironically, sometimes when life is too good, I start to have those same thoughts. I've got a great wife, a really good job, and two fun gaming groups. I'm a member of multiple great gaming communities online, and it's a great time to be a gamer. It's not the gaming environment I deserve, but it's the gaming environment I need (in a good way).

And to complete the Nolan Bat-movie quotes, you either die the moderator, or live long enough to be the problem child. You just adopted the internet, I was born to it? Okay, I'm done.


  1. For what it's worth, I'm envious of your ability to write consistently. There are lots of things that I'd like to say, but when I set down to write them, I get beat down by the same demons of doubt that you're struggling with. You get past them, and that's not nothing.

    Plus, I enjoy your writing, so there's that too. :)

    1. I appreciate that, a lot. Thanks!

      Pushing through is tough. I've gotten really long blogposts written, thought about where else I wanted to go with that thought, assumed I wasn't going to be able to wrap it up the way I wanted to, and scrapped the whole thing.

  2. Dude... Regardless of what you may believe, you are a fine GM. Are there ones that are better? Sure... But you consistently run games that are a joy to be a part of, and that consistency is nothing to sneeze at...

    Revel in the moments of fun and joy generated at your table... Those moments are what make it worth the effort.

    Trust me... The gaming world is better with you in it...

  3. Dave is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. And reading your blog helps us understand and become better GM's ourselves.