This post has been rattling around in my head for over a month now, and I’d actually considered folding it into my “Representation Matters” piece at first. But then that post became what it is now and this one has kinda just… lingered. But it was still something I wanted to talk about, because it speaks almost directly to the practical effect Black Panther has had on me.
You see, prior to Black Panther, I’d honestly been struggling. I was still getting up in the morning, jotting down story ideas and writing as much as I could force myself to. I had a goal, I had a dream, and I was going to make that dream a reality. Out of sheer spite, if nothing else. I’ve had plenty of people play the role of doubter and naysayer in my life (some of whom you would think shouldn’t play that role), and before Black Panther, sometimes the only thing that could get me out of bed and working in the morning was the vindictive desire to prove them all disastrously wrong.
Full disclosure: I do still use that spiteful desire to give myself a bit of an extra boost whenever I feel I need it. 😛
Point is though, running on spite exclusively can only get you so far and it will take a considerable toll on your psyche. It pains me to admit that, speaking as someone who’s spent far more time on the Dark Side than the Light (I will never apologize for Star Wars metaphors), but it’s the truth. And it’s a truth that I hadn’t truly understood until I got a big, healthy dose of the Light in Black Panther.
Black Panther revitalized and empowered me in ways that I hadn’t thought possible, and once my mind finished reconstructing itself after that movie blasted it into a million pieces, my actual first thought was: “If T’Challa can do it, why can’t I?” Superhero theatrics aside, it was that thought that convinced me that I really could become the best possible version of myself. And since I already had a fairly clear idea of what that version of myself looked like, the only thing I had to do was actually do it!
This is the thought process that’s led to the recent changes & adjustments I’ve been making to both my writing workflow and my Twitch streaming, both of which have revolved around the general concept of embracing who I am and running with it, rather than trying suppress it so I can chase a particular trend. And while this has always been easy for me to do with my writing, it has been enormously challenging to do with my streaming.
This is where my New Year’s 2.0 thing comes into play.
You see, my one year anniversary as a streamer was February 24th, about a week after Black Panther came out. And once the celebration stream was over, I realized this was kind of the perfect chance to re-examine what I was really doing as “TheGamingAuthor”, and what I both wanted and needed to do as TheGamingAuthor not only to achieve my goals, but to make sure I didn’t burn myself out in the process. It may not have been the start of a new calendar year, but at least in a way, it was the start of a new year on Twitch. And after a further few weeks of thinking, organizing, and planning, I finally have a new, two-part game plan to go along with the new year.
So here it is:
Part One – You Are TheGamingAUTHOR, Write Like It! Calling myself “TheGamingAuthor” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if I’m not actually writing, and since my morning writing time almost invariably bled into and delayed my streaming time way back when (a situation I found unacceptable), I realized that the only viable solution to this problem was to bring back the writing segments of my stream!
Now, this is not to say that I’ll be writing everything live on Twitch all the time. There are plenty of elements to my creative process that I feel are still done best behind the curtain. The world building, character building, and plotting out the story itself (what I call “Pre-production”, to borrow a filmmaking term), are all things that I do best in isolation. Usually in the wee, dark hours of the morning where most of the rest of the world is still asleep, and I can think clearly in true peace and quiet.
This is also generally true of the “Post-Production” phase, to borrow another filmmaking term. The part of the process where I and/or an editor go through a manuscript with a fine-toothed comb to pick out any errors and inconsistencies so we can turn the raw draft into a proper, bright and shiny new book.
However, as a chronic over-thinker who’s chronic over-thinking has resulted in him deeply struggling to ever finish a draft in the first place, I’ve found that doing the actual writing part of the job (the “Production” phase, if you will) live on stream has been a fantastic method of keeping myself accountable. It forces me to think less and write more, and that is a very good thing for me in terms of getting that all-important first draft actually done.
So what does this mean going forward? It means that for the foreseeable future, whenever I’m in the drafting stage of a particular writing project, I’ll be starting my streams by writing a bare minimum of 500 words on whatever that project may be. Once that word goal has been hit and/or the creative flow has ebbed, my streams will transition over to the “Gaming” part of my name.
Speaking of which…
Part Two – Embrace the Variety: In news that will surprise precisely no one, half the reason I chose “TheGamingAuthor” as my Twitch name is because playing video games is one of my most favorite things to do, second only to writing. However, I’m not the kind of gamer who can spend endless hours in competitive multiplayer environments day in and day out, much as I do enjoy certain games in that venue (I miss you, Battlefield 4). At the end of the day, I’m the kind of gamer who feels the most joy when playing single-player games. Be they narratively-driven open-world adventures like Horizon: Zero Dawn and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, style-oriented beat-em-ups like Bayonetta and Devil May Cry, hardcore role-playing games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Final Fantasy X, or any weird and lovable hybrid of the three!
Now, while this is all fine and dandy in isolation, on Twitch it presents a challenge in that it means you’re constantly drifting through different directories with different audiences who hold different expectations. This is the big reason why I’ve talked so much about finding a kind of “home game”; a game the stream always comes back to between the various story-based adventures. Trouble is, the kinds of games best suited for that are the kinds of games I don’t enjoy enough to play them that consistently, despite my best efforts to do so anyway.
So, I’ve finally decided to Hell with it! If I’m going to put my best foot forward as a streamer, I need to play the games that I truly do enjoy playing and embrace the variety rather than try to suppress it and stress myself to the point of burnout in the process! To further this end, I thought it would be helpful for all parties to list out the numerous games I’ll be playing on Twitch over the rest of the year!
And head’s up. It’s a long list.
- Horizon: Zero Dawn (In Progress)
- The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
- God of War
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Detroit: Become Human
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
- Jurassic World: Evolution
- Middle-earth: Shadow of War
- Life is Strange
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
- Life is Strange: Before the Storm
- Tomb Raider
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- The Walking Dead
- Final Fantasy X
- The Walking Dead: Season 2
- Final Fantasy X-2
- Watch Dogs 2
- Dishonored 2
This is what the future holds for The Writer’s Room in terms of gaming content, and while many of the games on this list are on the older side in terms of gaming years, I am still incredibly excited by the thought of finally getting to play through them. 😊
So yeah, that’s all I’ve got for ya today and if I don’t step away from this keyboard right now, I fear my stomach is going to digest itself. You all take care, and I’ll see ya on the next post.
Or, if you can’t wait that long since I’m a notoriously infrequent poster, feel free to swing by The Writer’s Room & hang out for a bit. We’re playing more Horizon: Zero Dawn today (3/29/2018)! 😉 https://www.twitch.tv/thegamingauthor