I posted this over on the PlayByMail.Net Facebook page. I thought that I would post a copy of it, here, as well.
Another update for the PBM faithful – Issue #14 is largely done. It’s pretty much ready to go. I probably won’t publish it until sometime late, tonight, though, as I will continue to tweak it and I will probably incorporate an article from myself in it – or an editorial or a whatever, some thoughts and what not, even though I know that some out there in PBM Land don’t really care for what they term ‘navel gazing.’ If I didn’t bother with my ‘thinking out loud’ in the magazine, then I probably would never have bothered publishing even the first issue, much less all that have ensued – regardless of how unreliably published the last several issues have been.
My sister took my Mama back to the hospital, this morning. That may or may not impact Issue #14 publishing tonight – hopefully not! Just a heads-up, in case it does, though.
I’m already pondering Issue #15, and in spite of the seemingly never-ending abyss that the latter issues of Suspense & Decision have fallen into, I do hold at least some hope for improvement going forward.
For one thing, I’m going to go back to utilizing deadlines. Dispensing with deadlines certainly didn’t help matters any. Ultimately, though, there are issues/problems that go far deeper than whether I utilize deadlines or not.
Everyone has their own respective set of theories about why issues of Suspense & Decision have not been forthcoming, as they should have been. While I do enjoy reading people’s thoughts and gaining some insight into their theories and thought processes, the simple reality is that no one is closer to the publication process, itself, than myself.
Some hold a theory that the core problem is burnout. Honestly, though, I think that burnout is probably the last thing that myself or the magazine suffers from. Sure, it may come across that way to some, but my interest in the topic of play by mail gaming and the lineal descendants of the same never really wavers. If anything, my interest in such topic matters is probably the one true constant in the whole equation.
Clearly, some what the magazine to continue be published – and to be published regularly, at that. Others, by this point in time, probably couldn’t care less, either way. Those are just the facts, just the actual reality of the situation.
Just handing the magazine off to someone else doesn’t work. I’ve tried that, before – and more than once, in fact. So, whatever the ‘solution’ to this ‘ongoing problem’ is, either I figure out how to make it work, or the problem just plain won’t get fixed.
If my interest in the topic that the magazine has at its core isn’t the problem, then where does the remedy lie? Or is it even possible to get things back on track? Sometimes, I wonder whether the magazine was ever even on track to begin with, at all, even when issues were being published with regularity.
While my interest in the TOPICS at hand never really wavers, what has wavered – and substantially so – are two core, fundamental things:
(1) The amount of time that I have proven to be willing to commit to each issue.
(2) The amount of focus that I have been wiling to commit to, not the issues, but the publication process, itself.
A third, but separate, issue also lies at the heart of the overall problem:
(3) The magazine is published within the reality that Suspense & Decision is, for me, an extension of my interest in the play by mail gaming hobby.
For that last one, I don’t really have a solution at hand, nor do I conceive of one, for while it would not be unduly problematic for me to take more of a business approach to the magazine, this is not something that I am fundamentally likely to embrace anytime soon.
To try and address the first of the three problem areas outlined above, what I have decided to do is to reallocate my time spent online. Toward this end and in pursuit of this goal, one step that I have taken which I think should aid me greatly in making a real positive difference here is two-fold:
(a) I deleted every living soul from my Facebook friends list back in December of 2016.
(b) I intend to make a deliberate effort to spend less time on Facebook – which has a way of becoming a time sink.
Being silly, sharing my thoughts on personal matters and on politics, and just browsing what others have to say and to share all just chip away at what I refer to as my sense of time discipline. All of these things have their own innate value, of course, but collectively, they have a dreadful tendency to just plain add up. Time gets away from you (or it does from me, anyway).
With regard to the second of the three items outlined above, what my intention (the road to Hell is paved with good intentions) is, is that I am going to impose some discipline into the publication process, itself. What I am going to be aiming for will be a ‘Three and Go!’ rule. By this, what I mean is that I will be looking to publish future issues of Suspense & Decision magazine, once I have three articles by other people ready to go.
This will have the side effect of future issues of Suspense & Decision magazine being shorter. Some may consider that to be a bad thing. I know that I do, in at least one sense, but I do think that it might be a useful tool in regaining momentum in the publication process.
It’s not so much about being a way to reduce the likelihood of burnout, but rather, about being a way to help me to maintain a sharper degree of focus. Time away from the magazine is a real killer – not of interest, but of focus!
We’ve talked about changes, before. We’ve even tried implementing a variety of different changes, some visible and some not. Nonetheless, we either try again to find a better way, or the magazine fades permanently into oblivion. That, to me, is the stark reality that we face – you as the reader, and me as the publisher.
Over the last few years, even before the first issue of Suspense & Decision was ever published, even before the magazine had a name, there have been those who have shown interest in this project, and who have loaned their support and rendered their patronage. While my own failures have been both many and frequent, know that I have always appreciated the support and the patronage.
Whatever debate that there has been over time, both past and present, both in private quarters and in public discussions, know that I fully intend to try and render the debate irrelevant. I intend to do so, by lighting a fire under my own ass, and to continually stoke that fire.
From the shipwrecks of the last several issues publishing so infrequently as to demonstrate a catastrophe in the making, I intend to kindle and to stoke that fire of improvement.
Two thousand and seventeen will yet prove to be a great year for Suspense & Decision magazine! Of that, I am certain, already.
You, as always, are free to believe whatsoever you will.
God bless Suspense & Decision magazine! God bless us, one and all!