Friday, September 21, 2012

Weathering the Storm

I can already see the intro to this month's Month in Review post: "After two months of minimal e-mail contact with my blogging partner and one brief collaboration to reiterate that this is still our blog, I gave up on new content and just let other people write for Exfanding instead."

Look at what's been posted so far this month, and you'll see what I mean. Two guest posts, a post about guest posts, a list post I'd expected to be quick and easy (which, of course, took longer than expected), and the kind of sad filler post I swore I wouldn't be writing anymore. I am grateful for Joseph and Daniel's enthusiasm to contribute this month, because otherwise, I'm not sure I'd even be writing a post today.

Alex and I always used to marvel at how long this blog has lasted compared to the vast majority of other blogs out there. I've come to realize that the driving factor behind our successful self-perpetuation has been collaboration, plain and simple. Yes, we love to write; yes, we've got plenty of things we want to write about. There are so many other forums for us, though--message boards, social media, other websites we contribute content to, personal journals, even regular conversations independent of a digital medium allow us to express ourselves. We can geek out anywhere, and we can write in so many places. Exfanding never had a monopoly on any of that, but what has always set it apart is that it's been our place to geek out. Not mine, and not his, but ours. The fact that we have anybody reading our material is just a surprising bonus.

That's why blogging has felt so hollow to me as of late--I'm still treating this as our blog, not my blog, which after two months of writing solo is like eating alone at a dinner for two. At an empty restaurant, no less. Last week, I put up a Facebook poll about what I should do for the next Sunday Spotlight--91 people saw it; only three people responded.

It's not about the numbers. It's never been about the numbers. But the numbers still matter. And in the midst of my other side projects, among other places to direct my creative energies, after weeks of not even knowing if my own blogging buddy was still reading what I wrote, the importance of this blog had begun to slip for me--and the numbers were merely confirming that nobody really cared.

I realize that's unfair to the people who do care. It's unfair to the valiant three who did vote on that silly poll. It's unfair to Alex, who, my wife assures me, is still reading the blog (or who's planning to get caught up once things settle down next month).

I was already in a "nothing really matters" mindset after dragging myself through the last several episodes of Madlax, an anime series that starts off with guns blazing and exciting action, quickly slows down (oxymoronic, isn't it?) to explore some mysteries and political intrigue, picks up with the action again, and then throws everything that matters out the window because [spoiler] nothing really matters. Having my wife frown at me for feeling less than exuberant over yet another anime series she liked didn't help the situation.

On top of all that, everything I've been working on for the past several weeks has been a long-term project--playing through the Tribunal expansion pack of The Elder Scrolls III; trying to complete my gargantuan episode guide to Star Trek: The Next Generation for the show's 25th anniversary this month (which I ain't gonna finish in time); picking up the pace on recording and releasing Space Quest 0 videos for YouTube so I can return to my Mega Man 7 playthrough; compiling staff responses for each huge installment of GameCola's Most Essential/Influential Games list; writing more of the quest for my GameCola D&D group--and the completionist in me feels like I'm not doing anything with my life if I'm only chipping away at tasks instead of finishing them, no matter how fun they may be to chip away at.

Especially when the only comments I've been getting on my YouTube channel as of late have been, "wen next video b dun?"

Yet all it took was a successful D&D session and a guest post or two to rekindle my enthusiasm for writing here. Some legitimate collaboration to break me out of my lonely solo side project mentality. Some in-depth human interaction to validate my efforts and remind me how much I love sharing these side projects, regardless of how many people I'm sharing them with. I swear I've written about this same kind of circumstance at least once before on the blog, but even if I haven't, the lesson is a familiar one.

I think I've weathered the storm. The dark clouds are parting, and I can see the sun peeking in again. Though we've got only half a crew yet, the waters are calm, and it's looking clear all the way to the horizon...and in the distance, I think I spy a castaway with a self-published children's book in hand. Whatever the future may bring, for now, we're still sailing.

Thanks for hanging on, Exfanders.


JoeReviewer said...

While I was reading this, when you said "Joseph" I was like: Wait, I haven't sent in a guest post... IS THIS POST FROM THE FUTURE?!? Then I realized that there is, in fact, more than one person in the world named Joseph.

And hey, it's no problem. A heartfelt post every once in a while is better than a bunch of posts written for the sake of "Okay now I wrote something." I always want more from you guys, simply because it's good, but you, those giving us this engaging, funny, thought provoking, not to mention entirely free, you guys come first. I raise my hypothetical internet glass to you.

Also, you are a master at analogies, especially when it comes to sailing and pizza :P

Flashman85 said...

A startling revelation, that.

Thank you, kind sir--and I do enjoy my analogies (though 15% of the time they're the reason I get caught up trying to figure out what to write next).