Friday Afternoon Soapbox Ramblings of a Madman Type Thing (Or Something)

This blog has been on the forefront of my mind more so than usual lately. I mean, it’s always at the forefront of my mind, but in the past couple of weeks, thinking about this blog has literally kept me up at night. It hasn’t been little things like which game I’m going to cover for my next video or who I want on the podcast. No, it’s been larger questions, like what’s holding me back from putting myself and this blog out there more? What’s keeping the blog from being more visible?

What am I doing wrong?

The answers were surprising, and honestly, I didn’t like them.

I love gaming. I’m passionate about gaming. While at one time gaming was mostly an escape from my problems, now it’s a joyful addition to all the other awesome in my life, such as the best girlfriend ever or the best friends a guy could ever ask for. This blog only adds to that, through all the wonderful people I’ve met (you folks!) and all the new games I’ve gotten to play.

So what’s the problem? I asked myself this over and over. While it always comes back to me — this is my baby after all — I couldn’t quite narrow down what’s missing. I mean I have a plan on how to make the blog more engaging. I have plenty of games to cover. I could talk and talk and talk about games until the cows come home…

And then it hit me…why aren’t I? I mean sure, I do my little videos and comment on the news but when you get right down to it, that’s the easy stuff. I’m focusing on a specific game, or a specific developer or some other facet of gaming. What I wasn’t focusing on was myself.

That may sound selfish, but follow me here.

I’ve been gaming for over 30 years now. I’ve been a professional gaming critic. I’m a walking encyclopedia of PC gaming. I love games. I have thoughts and feelings and opinions on games and gaming in general. Yet, YET. Whenever I thought about writing an op-ed covering my thoughts, or sat down to write up Q&A questions, or tried to come up with an idea of an article of freaking substance besides just critiquing something, I froze. This is when it hit me. What the problem is. What I’m doing wrong. What I’m missing.

I have a lack of confidence in my own opinion and my own thoughts, and am therefore hesitant to share them even to the smallest degree. 

This may sound ridiculous to anyone who knows me in person, or on any of the forums I frequent where you can’t get me to shut the hell up, but that’s different. That’s an informal space where the conversation is moved along not just by me but by others, so there’s really no pressure.

This blog is different. It’s my space. My love. My passion. It’s me, possibly raw, possibly defenseless.

And for some reason, I find this somewhat terrifying.

I know that sounds silly, and it IS silly on an emotional level, but the problem is that it IS nonetheless. This is why there have been so few written Q&As, because I’m terrified of writing “stupid” questions. This is why there are so few op-eds, because for some emotional reason, I feel like I’ll be seen as a fraud if I don’t sound like a complete expert about whichever topic I’m covering.

Again, silly.

Writing that has actually caused me to literally start shaking, physically. Yet I have to get it out and I have to deal with it. If I don’t fix this, this blog will stagnate and never reach its full potential. What is that potential, in my opinion?

I want this blog not only to be a place where I post silly videos and share news pieces, but also be a place where readers and developers to come and share their love of space gaming. Where a reader can go to the wiki and find the exact game they’re looking for, and then get excited when they see there’s a podcast about it. When a developer can connect with users through a Q&A or a podcast or a forum post. I want this place to be a haven, an oasis of niche space gaming for all those who love it like I do, whether one is a player or a developer or a publisher or whatever else.

So why does this terrify me so? What am I so afraid of? Success? Failure?

Sadly no, that would be too easy. What I am ultimately terrified of is being seen as lame, as a fraud, as a poser…as a loser.

Again, intellectually, I know this is silly as hell. Emotionally? AAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

THIS is why I don’t reach out and market myself better. Why I don’t share my shit on Reddit or reach out to other YouTubers to do joint ventures or other awesome ideas people have given me of late. Because I worry that they’ll see me and go “What a loser.” and write me off.

Again, silly. Downright stupid, even.

There is an upside to all of this, however, and that’s awareness. Awareness of one self is amazingly powerful, and now that I’m aware I feel this way, I can work to fix it. This is nothing new to me. I worked to fix my own PTSD-induced depression and anxiety, and I’ve worked to build confidence in other parts of my life. This is just a new set of steps along the same journey.

Now, at this point, you might be wondering why I’m telling you this.

Well first, because I love you folks, and want to be up-front and honest about stuff relating to this blog. Primarily though, it’s because I’m going to be fighting to overcome these issues through working on the blog itself. This will mean more content, but it might also mean some experiments with different things like trying to find a balance between posting news and original content (something in my head space right now, actually) as I work to move this blog forward. That might mean less news, ultimately, because there’s just so damned much of it now (which is good, but damn is it getting harder to parse through on a daily basis).

It also means I could use some help. Your help.

I asked this on the social medias, but I’ll ask it here too. If you can think of a way this blog can become better, more visible or more awesome, I would love to hear it. As much as this blog is my own personal journey through my love of space gaming, I can’t take this journey alone, I now realize. I’ve been trying to do it all myself, and while I do love that, that can’t work forever. Now I might not be able to implement every idea or answer every comment, but they’ll at LEAST get the wheels in my mind turning, you know?

So those are my hopefully-not-inane ramblings. I have issues, and in a way it’s good this blog has brought them out. This blog has suffered because of them, but with hard work, it should ultimately move forward in the best direction possible, as will I, emotionally and mentally. This post, for as difficult as it’s been to write (note: still shaking) is a first step in that direction.

Thanks for reading, and have an awesome weekend.

 

25 Comments

  1. “What I am ultimately terrified of is being seen as lame, as a fraud, as a poser…as a loser.”

    Oh Brian. I doubt anyone would see you in that light. You and this website have become THE go to place on the ‘net for space game news and other similar genre’s. I absolutely love it. If it wasn’t for this awesome blog I would not have known about many of the great indie space games I have now purchased and am playing.

    Lastly your blog/website is far more well known than you realise. I was speaking to someone at work a couple of months ago about space sims (Star Citizen specifically) and they mentioned they were reading a great website to follow news and I asked which one?

    This one!

    Yes it surprised the hell out of me in a good way of course. :)

  2. You’re great, and everyone on this site thinks you’re great, and if you continued to do what I’ve seen you do here over the last two years, I would be a subscriber 4lyfe.

    Also this kicks Adam Solo’s ass.

    (Also: boobz)

  3. You have got a few of my ideas and ramblings on facebook already and I could threaten you with much more… :) But for now I just wanted to say, it’s not easy putting yourself out there like this. I really respect that. I was going through a rough patch in my life as well. I’m blogging for years now and I was thinking about putting it all out there, but I didn’t. Probably because I’m afraid to, in the end we all are to various degrees. And that’s what keeps me going, knowing that every one of these other people out there, no matter how tough on the outside, is exactly as afraid as I am. And that not giving a fuck what other people think about what you are doing seems to correlate with success in general.

    I’m all in for a ‘Space Game Heaven’ and wouldn’t mind putting a little work into it myself, if I can help in any way, not sure what you might need though. Maybe we will just see as things develop, I’m sure you will let us know when your direction gets more concrete. Visualizing your project somehow on a mindmap or something can go a long way and helps me a lot. Nailing down all the features and keystones of ‘the endproduct’ from a consumers view and go crazy from there. The other way around a project like that tends to get a little fuzzy pretty soon, it’s easy to loose sight of what it was you trying to acomplish in the grand scheme of things.

    Turning a beloved hobby into a fulltime thing can be unbelievable rewarding, but it is not for the faint of heart. Like you said, you are making yourself vulnerable, because critic of your work is now also critic on what you love, so in some sense on you as a person. One has to be aware of that, but this shouldn’t discourage anyone. In my experience it will make you grow as a human being and I think in the end true success in anything is only realy possible in a field you love. Most people don’t want to grow though, because it’s painful from time to time. I hold people who do so anyway in highest possible regard. Maybe that’s why I’m writing almost a book here again, sorry fot that, but I want to see you succeed man!

  4. Have some confidence, I really like your blog and I really like you as a personality. I’m looking for news on this blog almost every single day, that’s saying something. Thank you for you hard work on this, it is much appreciated.

  5. You shouldn’t care too much of what people think about what you do. That doesn’t mean to not care about your community but more about what they think of you. You cannot please anyone btw.
    Continue to talk about your passion without locking yourself.
    Many of my blog posts sounds silly sometimes but I don’t care much because the most important to me is to inform my little community, not doing a corporate style perfect post.
    In the end, sharing our passions is the only thing that count.

      1. All people on youtube and blogs have to deal with that I guess. This one damn comment that is nagging us. It helps me to remind myself that these pieces sometimes enjoyed by hundrets or thousands of people, compared to that I should not get obsessed with one voice. The Troll will always be there, no matter what you do, see it as a compliment. Even if it is ill conceived, it is a testament to your influence, nothing less. Sometimes that’s easier said than done though ;)

        TotalBiscuite and Friends sometimes talk about their skype support group for youtubers, where they come toghether to share the stupidity out there :) And I don’t think they are jonking around, they really do that. And their tipp as well is to remind yourself about how much more positiv followers are out there, most of them won’t say anything, but they are their, in your views.

  6. I´m a Spanish fan of this great site wich I read on a daily basis. It´s simply THE place when you want to learn about spacey games and thanks to you I have discovered many great titles, last one being FTL wich I am enjoying a lot¡¡, this was a game that never seemed interesting enough to me until I read you, then I thought “Hey man if Brian is talking so good about it can´t be bad at all¡¡¡”. Please Brian keep this place going on. For me and many others this is our home in the stars. The safe harbour we can always return to dock our starships and share the love for all the sapcey stuff. Maybe you don´t really now how much this place represents to so many people around this ball of dust called Earth. I would like to help you more but as you can see English is not my first language and even if I can understand it very well I find difficul to speak or write properly.

  7. Hi there, I only found your blog the other day (pre THIS post) and it hit a note with me – similar age (i guess), similar experience, gaming anyway…
    As for blogging – you are doing great. I totally understand that fear of being YOU and nobody liking it – well TOUGH -(on us not YOU)- if we like it great – if not well we don’t HAVE to log here do we. Feel free to put your heart out there, wear it with pride no matter what ANYONE says. I think what I’ve seen so far is GREAT and I know, providing you do more ‘stuff’ that I will keep coming back.
    A for what/how to promote yourself, hard one that – Ive just started listening to Radio Lave podcast and you could try those guys to get a mention ,oh and middle-aged gamer podcast too. One thing i am seeing more and more is ‘guest segments’ on podcasts, you might want to look into that where you offer to do a monthly segment? just an idea.
    Loved your post. Keep your chin up.
    Cheers
    Zace

  8. Brian I am also a silent follower of your site and it is a great source of info & news on space games and the more you share of your views I think help your readers zero in on how your tastes and interests match theirs.
    Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to reading more.

  9. Brian, you do great work.

    I agree with posts above: this is my go-to place for information about my favourite gaming genre. Your knowledge is very thorough and your opinions, thoughts, criticisms, and yes even your self deprecating ramblings are all respectable. You’ve steered me toward some great games I wouldn’t have tried, helped me get past some criticisms of games I didn’t give a fair shake to, you’ve re-acquainted me to some old favourites that had gotten dusty on the shelf, and you’ve saved me money (not only alerting us to sales, but also warning us off a few dogs).

    I’m a clinical psychologist in private practice who has also been a writer for a game developer in the computer gaming industry, and an avid gamer since computer games used uppercase characters to represent space ships on a grid. Putting oneself out there like you do is indeed scary as hell, but you need to just keep doing it. It might not get any less scary, but it will get easier and easier as you and your fears become better acquainted, and you slowly learn that the world doesn’t end every time you put it out there again. Not only can I say with professional confidence that you can get past this crisis in confidence, you need to just put an end to the angst and get on with it, ‘cuz you know your shit, and I will continue to listen to it regularly.

    1. “….but it will get easier and easier as you and your fears become better acquainted…” – This is truly amazing, and honestly, I never saw it that way before, but opens up WHOLE NEW PATHS in my brain to come at this problem, and I love it. Better acquainted with my fears…that’s just perfect. THANK YOU.

  10. SGJ has been bookmarked as as a favourite on my browser for years, love the site. You have many more silent followers than you probably think, Brian!

  11. “Sadly no, that would be too easy. What I am ultimately terrified of is being seen as lame, as a fraud, as a poser…as a loser.”

    Given that most people are here because we haven’t outgrown our wish to be Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader, I don’t think that’s anything to dwell on.

      1. Hey hey HEY!. That’s not fair. I have totally grown out of my “Luke Skywalker” phase, and I never wanted to be Darth Vader (though that whole pinching off people’s breathing sure could’ve come in handy several times in my life…). Now Cal Johnston or Jefferson Clay…..that’s entirely another matter ;)

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