A Test of Resolve

A Test of Resolve

December 13, 2022

I am not one for resolutions. #

Specifically, the annual sort, where one might proclaim: this year, I will learn conversational Spanish; I’m going to complete 365 rooms of a megadungeon, one per day; I will seek out opportunities to perform live music; or, or, or. It’s catching me at my most optimistic, when I’m getting just as much satisfaction thinking about doing the thing as I imagine I would, having completed said thing. It’s a fun trick we play on ourselves every time we hop to Twitter or Mastodon or whathaveyou to talk about what we’re gonna do or share what we’re doing. The issue is when we’re done we’re all out of gonna. The gonna supply is limitless; done only happens once.

But the thing is I’m also struggling more often than not with issues of executive dysfunction. Take this blog I’m typing, for instance. It’s taking every ounce of determination and an Advance Base album to get me through it, because I know that done is ultimately better than gonna and I do indeed want to get more things to done. Wallowing in potential keeps me from starting any dang thing, and while I’m getting quick-hit dopamine every time I think about something I might do, after a whole day of just doing that, it’s like I spent 8 hours microdosing benedryl.

And so, therefore, I resolve: #

I have a few things I want to do in the year 2023. Probably not the above-mentioned things. Would be great to practice Spanish and then put it to use somewhere nice, but that’s a nebulous and practice-oriented project, something I know in my gut is going to fail if I place any kind of optimistic annual achievement parameters on it. Similarly the megadungeon. I dig the #dungeon23 project and I hope everyone makes something cool and it helps them practice writing and design and all that. Live music? It’ll be cool if something like that manifests but I don’t want to push it too hard because it seems like a can of worms.

So instead I have a couple concrete things I wish to make this year, thinking about moving toward concrete artifacts and away from purely-digital chotchkies. A couple zines. An album. A newsletter. I resolve to make them. The reasons for this are a few.

One: I like physical media. I like receiving it and I like giving it. Sending a PDF of an adventure to a friend is cool, but the other day I received a copy of CHUM by my friend Andrew and it made my entire week. I already had CHUM. I printed myself a copy the moment he released it. The print quality on his version was a little nicer, sure, but functionally it made little difference. Still, what a cool thing to get! It’s on my bookshelf at work, prominently displayed for any students or colleagues to ponder over, should they pass my office.

Two: Releasing a digital thing in a digital marketplace full of things like it is flicking a tear into the ocean. Yesterday, I published a small little thing: kobolds. in the equipment graveyard. It’s not going to win any awards for writing or design, and it does suffer the same things so much of my writing does (this post is up to 539 words so far, ugh) but I thought it was pretty OK and at least interesting enough to read and download (with a bunch of free copies, even!) but, as my bruised ego will tell you, nobody’s really doing that. It’s an OK thing in a pile of things slightly more OK than it is, so of course it’s not catching eyes. Now, if it were a little A6 booklet in a local gaming store? Or maybe a cassette or CD at a local record store? What would that look like? Am I na├»ve to think physicality would make something like this more appealing? At the very least, the people who would see it and then inspect/ignore it would be almost completely outside of the group making the same choice online. That group would also be much smaller, granted.

I could also open a web store. It wouldn’t take much at all to just have a spot with whatever inventory I have available, passively selling and mailing a copy here or there. This is how I got looped in with MIRU, although it is indeed much cooler and more visually-appealing than any of my little trifles. Still: I saw this neat game and zine kit that, while outside my typical purchasing sphere as I’m not huge on solo TTRPGs usually, was a very satisfying impulse buy. The game is fun, the additional components (beads! dice! lapel pin?!) are fun, and it’s fun to have this thing and support a fellow small creator. What would it take for me to make a neat little package for, say, The Dungeon Near The Shadow? Would I get any impulse-buys for a small stack of LampCorp business cards, mailed on a forever stamp?

I don’t really know! #

Financially, this is a trickier prospect by just a little. Releasing a PDF on itch is more or less free. About $50 will get me 50 A6 zines. Not sure what it looks like for tapes. If I only want to make back what I spent on them & shipping, $5 should do it. This is a fun endeavor anyhow, not looking to turn it into a full job, but if I could make a few things, have the artifacts to show for it, and recoup my costs? That seems like hobby-time well-spent. And, shoot, I could find a few folks to just give these to if nobody wants to buy: lesson learned for the price of a B-tier video game release.

Consider my resolve at test. #