In an era of where the conversation about gaming is mostly happening in video, live streaming, podcasting, and social media, the practice of writing about video games is in a weird spot. Though there are no shortage of writers and there will always be an audience seeking gaming-related content in this format, it feels like this medium has shrunk into a niche-of-a-niche. The shift appears so dramatic that the ceiling for success seems much lower as a writer than seemingly any other form of content creator.
With the way things are, it’s impossible for a video game writer to build the audience, revenue, or notoriety approaching anything near Ninja’s level. I love Giant Bomb and Kinda Funny – most of whom started out as writers – but the majority of their success comes from podcasts, videos, and live streams. There are Instagram accounts that have generated six-figure audiences by only posting Fortnite memes. I can see even this reality in my own work, as my tiny Twitch channel generates more money than my blog on a monthly basis with just a fraction of the traffic.
The reality is that creators and their audiences generally prefer to consume their gaming content in those other formats. With the inherent barriers that come with reading and writing versus watching and listening, I feel like writing is always going to get the short end of the stick.
Having said all that, where does that put me, as someone whose been writing for a decade?
Truth be told, my primary reason for maintaining this blog isn’t tied to money or fame. It isn’t about being connected to a larger blogging community, though I’m grateful for the incredible friendships I’ve made along the way. It’s not even tied to my love of video games. If anything, dropping the blog would give me more time to play. And if I weren’t writing a game blog, I’d be writing a blog about something else.
What keeps me coming back is my love of writing, along with the mental and emotional benefits that come with it. In high school, I discovered the medium of writing as an outlet for my thoughts and feelings that I didn’t feel comfortable talking about. When I discovered blogging a few years later, I used it as a place to vent as I suffered through a quarter-life crisis.
Writing how I feel is so…therapeutic. Doesn’t even matter if there’s anyone reading what I have to say. Just the act of journaling is enough to ease the burden on my soul that comes with carrying those otherwise “unsharable” thoughts.
In Third Person is basically my journal or diary with a gaming filter on it. Regardless of subject matter, I still write with the primary goal of freeing my soul through the act of self-expression. That’s why a lot of my gaming content is more journal or diary-like in nature. It’s why I decided to add board games as a content pillar, because it was more important to me to write about a burgeoning hobby I was interested in more than maintaining consistency. Also explains why some of my posts are entirely self–indulgent and have nothing to do with gaming. Writing about anything gives me a sense of relief and closure that helps to keep me level-headed instead of bottling everything up.
Though I’ve been trying for years to find ways of translating my secret sauce to other mediums, working in those formats doesn’t scratch the exact same itch for me. I value how easy it is for me to write a post at almost any time, on any device, as soon as an idea hits me. I also value the process that comes with creating 20 drafts of a post, meticulously crafting an idea right down to the syllable if the idea calls for it.
Behind a keyboard, I’m not worrying about going off on unrelated tangents in front of an audience on a live stream that could dilute my message. Not worrying about trying to sound like I’m not reading off of a script when I’m recording a video for YouTube. Not worrying about cutting every extra breath or awkward pause from a podcast. When there’s something that I want to say in a very specific way, I feel like I have the most control right here.
If anything, I think I write too much. In the past year, this site has shifted towards a cycle of daily updates, which was never the intention. Between having a lot to say and supporting my video content, it’s become a lot of work to maintain. Keep telling myself to settle down, but the motivation to write continues to burn.
My bigger concern comes from unfulfilled creative goals elsewhere. Supporting my YouTube channel with original content has been my content creator “Moby Dick”. How much farther would my YouTube channel be if I shifted even a fraction of my writing focus towards that instead? Though I’m still stinging from my past failures on the platform, I could have worked past that by now if I wrote a bit less and worked on video instead.
Going into 2020, my primary goals as a content creator lie within the realm of video. For the past few weeks, I’ve been preparing videos to launch on YouTube early next year. Two are ready to go and I’m in the midst of editing a third. Will do everything I can to make 2020 the year where I truly give produced video content an honest try. Feel free to check out the teaser for my first video above and I’m excited to launch the full video on January 8th, 2020! Hoping this is the first of many.
I also have ambitions of creating a better stream. Just implemented a new round of streaming equipment and am in the midst of making it all work. If I can find the time, I’ll formally outline all of my content creator goals for 2020 and beyond in a post. That said, none of my goals going forward have anything to do with writing…
…and that’s okay. Whether I get any of my other creative projects off the ground, it’s hard for me to see a reality where I completely stop writing. It’s an art form that I love and rely on to keep an even keel. At the rate I’m going, we’re on pace to hit post #3000(!) in 2020. As long as I can continue to get that mental and emotional healing through the process of writing, then there’s no reason for me to stop.
Before we finally close out 2020 and this year-long celebration of In Third Person’s 10-year anniversary, I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported this site and my work across all platforms throughout this decade. Even though I oftentimes approach content creation from a very personal place, it’s great to know that you can relate and that this content adds value to your life. You’ve added value to my life too, through the likes, follows, comments, follows, and friendships along the way. Thank you for your support. Have a wonderful new year. And let’s make 2020 the best decade yet!