Thursday, May 19, 2011

So... What *is* Next, Anyway? - This Blog, and Other Projects To Help Me Not Starve.

I've been thinking a lot about the question posed by the title of this blog... What's Next? For anyone who hasn't been with me from the beginning, I started this project not really expecting anyone besides me would ever read it. I wanted to sharpen my writing through daily practice and cope with losing a job that had meant a lot to me. The URL “Getting My Head On Straight”, referred to my original first post, the text-heavy biographical introduction in those days before I learned how to include images and links. Don't worry, this article won't be me whining about my situation in a desperate play for sympathy. I'm happy with where I am, but I posed a question to myself about where I'm going... and that one isn't quite answered yet, so bear with me as I talk about upcoming possible projects, the future of this blog, and I'll be back to writing about specific bits of geek culture tomorrow.

Traditional wisdom says not to blog about yourself very often, as you aren't the most interesting
person to the average person in your audience, they are.  I do this rarely, so here's a picture of the man behind the blog, and the wife behind that man... smushing my face into an unusual shape.

When traffic and readership started to grow quickly (I've only really been doing this since late February, though it feels like longer) a question I was asked quite a bit was “So how long can you keep this up?” and the corollary “That's neat, but what are you going to do with it?” I've got plenty of ideas left in me for articles, I don't see that becoming an issue anytime soon. If I got a traditional job tomorrow, I'd no longer be "The Unemployed Geek", so what would happen to this site? Someone suggested that my new career could be “blogger”, and I joked that if this became my job, I'd no longer be unemployed, so I'd put myself out of work... Then I'd be eligible to start again in a never-ending recursive cycle.

I plan to keep this blog going indefinitely, regardless of what my situation is. I might post less frequently if I had less free time, but I'd like to believe that I have the discipline to continue regardless at near my current pace. As for making a living writing for my own site five times a week... it is a pleasant dream, but one that I'll only believe in once I have evidence that it is possible. Once daily traffic gets to a certain point, I'm not above adding a PayPal donation box, but until I'm satisfied that I provide sufficient value to a large enough audience to justify it, I'm holding off on that. If I bring in a few dollars here and there from this someday, that'd be nice, but it really isn't about the money.

Malcontent Blogger
Credit to on this comic, hits close to home(less.)

So... What is next, then? I have a few projects that I've been kicking around, and the last time I wrote something like this, (about being unemployed) I talked about non-traditional methods of income. I suspect that if I can finish one (or more) of these ongoing projects, I might be able to carve out something resembling an income before I've run out of unemployment benefits. Here's what is currently on my plate:

No fewer than three longer form writing projects, one a collaborative effort with my wife. In no particular order, they are:
  • A fantasy novel told from the perspective of an elite squad of investigators called in by royalty to handle crimes that the typical City Watch strategy of holding a torch aloft and yelling “Who goes there?” can't solve. (Think: modern investigative crime show a la CSI meets Lord of the Rings.)
  • A horror/fantasy novel set in a world with industrial/steampunk elements (though most of the technology runs on toxic fuels with nasty side effects) featuring an agent of the Council Government who specializes in dealing with religious cults who stumbles down a path that has already claimed the lives of thirteen individuals trying to stop an ancient horror before him.
  • A tongue-in-cheek semi-autobiographical work talking about how, when I was a single man, I learned to talk to and attract members of the opposite sex using ideas similar to those “pick up artists” use, only translated into gaming concepts and a lot less sleazy. (Think: Neil Strauss' The Game meets World of Warcraft.)
When any of these are finished, I'd like to release them as e-books for the Kindle store, taking advantage of generous royalty options. I figure talking about my ideas publicly gains me more in gauging which ones are legitimately interesting, over the typical new author's fears that letting the ideas out subjects them to possible theft. I'd be disappointed to learn someone stole one of my ideas and made a fortune off of it, but I have confidence in myself to continue to come up with and develop creative concepts.

I also have a three-quarters finished design for a board game where each player hires a team of mercenaries and equips them, and competes to be the first team to establish a base of operations and take down a Warlord in a Banana Republic. I'd need to start a Kickstart project for funding to complete this one, at least to get it to the prototype stage, with rewards for supporters including naming a Merc after someone who donates a certain amount. The concept is most like “Jagged Alliance meets Arkham Horror.”

One of my favorite games of all time, and I think hiring mercenaries in a "Questing"
style boardgame is one I'd like to play, so I'll have to make it.

Regardless of what I pursue to completion, I'll also be quietly working on a redesign for this site, as I have enough articles that people keep coming back for to justify a magazine-style layout someday, maybe making the jump to a custom domain name at the same time. Anyone find one of the things I'm working on to be of particular interest? Someone think I made a horrible mistake by putting unfinished concepts out there where someone could steal them? This is one I'll be eagerly watching the comments on. If there is enough interest in one or more of these projects, I could post status updates here, or in a second blog expressly for that purpose. Your input, please.
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The Angry Lurker said...

I would read the first book idea.

Dave said...

Sounds interesting. Good post.

Erika said...

Your wife is beautiful =]

And I totally love that comic. It is totally true to me lol

G said...

Any of your ideas can work - I'd tend towards steam punk...but that's only because I'm into that stuff at the moment

Moobeat said...


Jay said...

those are some good ideas, who knows what can happen in the future?

Zombie Ad said...

It's been said before but...Do what you love, the money will follow.

Rob said...

pretty interesting ideas, always remember the hardest part of starting a project is actually starting it. :D

Alpha said...

That first book idea sounds pretty neat.

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