Monday, July 3, 2017

July Manifesto

After much thought and introspection, I am resolved to take the following steps with regards to this blog, my work and my accessibility to others.  These are my goals for the next year.

1. I am going to stop talking about my personal life.

I'm not ashamed of anything about my life and I have always freely spoken about my circumstances or my difficulties, about my past and my aspirations . . . but I feel at this time that this is not accomplishing my goals and therefore I'm going to stop.

2. I am going to stop openly disagreeing with people.

My willingness to defend my position and my beliefs is, without question, a touchstone for the vehemence and general distaste for my ideas and this blog.  Apparently, it is all right to be hated. Many tremendously successful bloggers are sincerely hated by literally millions of people.  But while it is okay to be a screaming, smug, shit-bag of human garbage, preaching the justified murder of black people and Arabs and the deserved rape of women, all the while receiving thousands upon thousands of dollars every month on Patreon from tens of thousands of other sexists and rapists, as long as you can claim that it's "humor," it is NOT okay to take an earnest stand against second-rate story-telling, alignment, fudging and DM privilege.  For that, you can expect to receive honest Patreon donations from a small cadre of loyal people of like belief, and no one else.

So I quit.  I don't care what sort of D&D you run or what time-honored rules you adhere to, as long as it isn't discussed here.

3. I am going to keep blogging about the sort of D&D I play and how I think it should be played.

I'm going to make a sincere effort to going back to daily posts, even if it is only two hundred words and addresses the minutest of points about the game.  I'm going to push myself to writing gritty pieces about mundane parts of the game, such as what do to about working animals and how to effect the temperament and immersion of player interest, but I'm going to honestly try to keep away from any content about how it used to be done or why people shouldn't do something any more.

That is going to be very hard for me.  I expect to slip.  I expect a few times I'm going to put up a post and find myself taking it down within a few minutes, having realized I shouldn't have written it.  Habits are hard to break.  Nonetheless, this is the goal.

4. I'm going to stop drawing the comic . . . for now.

I'm personally pleased at the nature and quality of the comics, and expect that someday I should have enough of them written in order to produce an 80-page book that I shall sell at Cons.  I got into the comic-making business for one reason: to create some interest in the blog and in me.  To break the notion that I have one dimension and that I can poke fun at the game ~ and even at my own ideas, as I did more often that not ~ like a person.  However, the comics are getting no traction.  There are four people who share the comic every time on Facebook and about eight more who do it with scattered willingness.  There are four or five who do it on Twitter.  I have not had a single comic reshared by anybody, ever.  Not one time.

That's a failure of the comic, that's a failure of social media, that's evidence that I'm wasting my time.  It is an enormous amount of effort and creating thought to make these and I can use that 8 hours a week back in my pocket.

5. I'm suspending the online campaign.

I don't want to.  I love the online campaign.  But this, too, is feeling like a straightjacket in the face of my writing, both on this blog and on the important book-writing process.  This is a cold slap in the face to my players; there's been no warning and I'm not letting them know ahead of time.

That's on me.  I will address that in private conversations, if my players want to discuss it.  The truth is that the campaign is also not doing what I need it to do: it is not creating interest or a return on my investment of time and creative energy.  I'll explain.

Regularly, creators who request support on Patreon and elsewhere will emphasize the following statement:  "If you wish to see to it that I am able to produce more comics, books, blog posts, a wider wiki, an inspiring online campaign, etcetera, you will give money to . . ."

Here, right now, the reader is seeing the reverse of that.  I'm getting nowhere near enough money to enable myself to work on my art, because I am pushed more and more to donate my time to the physical grunt work of a very physical job, that is physically taxing me and disallowing me from the process of creating online work.  Those are the facts.  If I want to go on writing my BOOK, then I am looking at budget cuts, plain and simple.  The online campaign is a luxury if it doesn't encourage those who will offer the minimum of donations, $1.

Those startlingly loyal, fantastically supportive like-minded individuals are helping me with an average of $10.20 per month; that's an remarkably high average for Patreon.  When people like me, they like me a lot. But what I need is a lot more people to like me just a little bit ~ which isn't happening.

So I'm cutting the cord.  I will pick up the campaign again when I'm working less.

6.  I'm going to finish the Fifth Man.

Not in a year.  In less than that.  Then I'm going to work on the next project I'm planning and the project after that.  Because here's the fact of it: the books sell.  The books make me money.

7.  I'm not putting out any more tutorials.

These were wonderful.  Everyone who took a tutorial was pleased with them.  But there are only so many people on that very small list who will trust me enough to pay.  And I have been through that list now, so thank you to those who stepped up.  Right now, I have to turn everyone else away.

8.  I am putting the blog back on moderation.


Thank you.

8 comments:

Maxwell Joslyn said...

Good luck. Sent an email.

Hollow Scribe said...

Sad to see the online campaign go, but I understand it eats a lot of time. Daily posts are great, if it doesn't become too forced. Will one of them be on the grappling rules?

Hope it all goes well.

Pandred said...

I can't say I'm not disappointed, but if this is what it takes for you to improve your lot in life, then you've got my support. Good luck!

Now I'll be waist-deep in frogwater for the next few months, ugh.

Vlad Malkav said...

Hello Alexis !

That's a lot of changes coming up ... I'm going to miss most of what you're taking away, but I'm confident that your decision is for the best.

Feel free to break the rules sometimes though, eh ;)

Best of luck with all this, and I wish you a better job situation soon !

Take care.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Thank you Pandred.

Blaise said...

You writing about your personal life humanized you and makes me think about you and your life when I'm not reading Tao.
As silly as it sounds, it made me like you more and root for you.
You of course will do what's best for you, but that's my two cents.

Cheers,
Blaise (lightly loopy on painkillers as I'm recovering from a quadruple bypass).

Alexis Smolensk said...

Now and then, likely, I will refer to my past when it applies to something I want to talk about; but I'm anxious not to trade on my present difficulties. Those, of course, do not measure up to a bypass.

Blaise, take care of yourself and get well. You've been one of my most insightful commenters and I would miss you dearly.

Embla Strand said...

I'm sorry to be so late to the party. I am sad to hear about the campaign, but I completely understand why it needs to go on hold. I hope that everything you are juggling goes well.