I hope everyone’s year is off to a great start. It’s been bitterly cold here for the past few days, although I see that it’s supposed to be near fifty degrees (10C for those in more progressive nations) by Thursday. Wow. This weather is as crazy as everything else these days.
For myself, it’s been a slow start. I set some fixed but reasonable goals for my writing this year and, thus far, I’ve come out of the gate at a slow crawl. I’m really starting to suspect the Zoloft. Well, I’ve been suspecting it for some time really, but I started it at roughly the same time I switched to working the day shift so it’s difficult to say if it’s the meds or just me fighting my natural night owlish tendencies. I’m hesitant to stop taking it since it really does help with my anxiety. I’m just starting to wonder if the muddled thinking and fatigue is worth it.
On a positive note, I’m looking forward to getting back into the GM’s chair this Saturday to run Pathfinder. It’s been a couple of years since I ran a game (I suffered a pretty bad burnout while going through some tough personal issues, although I still managed to play in a friend’s game). But now I’m finally ready to take the reins again and finish running Rise of the Runelords. The core group is back together, along with some new faces, and it’s going to be great watching them get to push their characters to the higher levels and battle the epic bosses at the climax of the campaign.
No other hobby brings together my love of writing, acting, and storytelling quite like tabletop role-playing, and being behind the screens guiding the players on a grand adventure is a high much akin to being in the zone while writing a story. Interestingly, after years of pushing digital mapping tools, PDF rulebooks, and dice rolling apps I’m feeling a strong desire to go analog with this game. I’ve purchased hard copies of the books and will be using traditional maps, minis, and counters rather than computer-based tools we’ve become accustomed to. It promises to be a very retro and nostalgic experience.
It’s a trend I’ve noted with myself of late. I’ve always been interested in technology. I was toying with computers back when they were less powerful than a modern scientific calculator. As media went more and more digital I was convinced that paper was soon to be a thing of the past, wholly jumping on board with tablet readers, ebooks, digital art, and paperless… EVERYTHING! Email replaced mail, texting replaced calls, and social media replaced people. Marketing experts everywhere insisted that to be noticed in this new electronic world you had to network on every platform. So I begrudgingly forced my introverted, antisocial self to wade into this cacophonous cloud of digital noise and did my best to adapt to it. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler, Google+, and more. I tried them all to some degree or another.
But rather than find a place where I could feel comfortable behind the protection of a screen I instead felt smothered and overwhelmed. The demands of trying to market my first book were exhausting and frustrating. Part of me desperately wants to connect with people, but I don’t have the energy to stick with it for long, making it difficult to cultivate relationships with fans or even friends in an online environment. I find myself wanting to unplug and free myself from the constant barrage of information and noise. I like to be informed on current events but I’d almost rather read a newspaper than check my Twitter feed. I find myself returning to printed books, preferring the tangible (non illuminated) sensation of words on paper.
I’ve been wrestling with the notion of abandoning all but my most critical social media platforms but I fear that I’ll be slamming the door on marketing opportunities for future projects.
Do you struggle with this issue? Have you found a balance between the demands of a high-speed digital world and the desire to just unplug and go analog?