Lesson 4: Keep Role Playing to a Minimum


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Wait!  Don’t balk, and please, don’t run.  I promise not to over burden you with details or try to talk you into something that may not appeal to you.

Many, I have noticed, when they see the words Role and Play put together like I have done, do one or two things.

  1.  Say enthusiastically:  “Me too!”
  2. Look at me strangely.

It’s not as strange as you think, I promise.  It has a bad rep, I know, I know.  When I was younger it was believed by many that role playing put funny ideas in people’s heads that made them want to take up arms, swords, and knives and commit violence for real while thinking it was a part of their imagination.

Back then, it was role-playing, now it’s video games and movies.  In ten years, it’ll be the internet and social media that make people do crazy things.  I’m not an expert, I don’t have any training about what will or will not incite violence and sheer stupidity.  What I do know, however, is that people who have been role-playing and serious fandom are considered to be beyond wacky.

For some, I have to agree.  I can because I know a few of them.  I love and adore them, but… ahem, well, you’d have to see it to believe it.

I am not like that.  I don’t have a Klingon costume upstairs, I have never worn Leia’s metal bikini, and my knife and sword collection is only for display (and burglers).  The type of person I am, however, is a text-based role player.  (Also known as a form of leap writing).

Or, I should say, I was.  I stopped, I kicked the habit… usually I can forget about it, but every once in a blue moon, I miss it something fierce.  I manage to hold off, to find something else to distract me until the need for a fix fades away.

The lesson I learned after close to ten years of role-playing online is that I can’t write and role-play.  It’s either one or the other for me.  I believe that we all have a set quota of how much creative juice we can throw into projects.  This juice can fill many different buckets (design and writing for instance), and the juice used to fuel one usually isn’t of the same mix as what fuels the other.  However, if you try to pursue two forms of similar creative processes, i.e. role-playing and writing stories, there is only so much to go around.

Most, probably, can control themselves enough to do both.  If you’re into role-playing and can do that, good for you!  I would suggest that you pick one to pour more into as opposed to the other.  Depending on your desires and motivation, that division can vary.

I, on the other hand, can’t control myself worth a damn in this regard.  I either write my stories or I role-play.  (Remember, I’m one of those all or nothing people).  3 years ago I wised up and left all my role-playing obligations with a fond farewell, I had a great time speech.  I haven’t been back since.

Don’t get me wrong though.  I miss it every once in a while, especially when I want to write but can’t think of what to focus on.  Other times, I barely notice.  So for me, the lesson is DON’T ROLE PLAY while for others it probably is keep it to a minimum.

I’ll let you decide which one you are.

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