Hey Deskers, as you MAY have noticed. I went dark for a bit. I shouldn't have. I've kind of been on a journey of self-discovery over the past few months and it's been awesome but I didn't check in and let you all know what was going on. I know we all have sort of gotten used to internet creators going dark (and heavens knows I've done worse than the past few months) but I'd LIKE to think I'm more mature than that person. I still see I have room to grow.
I have been devouring self-help books of late. Things to help me build better habits and find out how to make time for all the things I want to do. I've made three important discoveries:
1) When I fall behind I get really annoyed with myself and it makes me avoid the problem more
2) Some things I thought were a blessing were actually holding me back because they became more things I could fall behind on and make me feel less like being creative
3) I need to simplify things
For these reasons I'm going to be making a few changes so that I can get back to doing more of what it is you people want: more writing
First, I'm stopping monthly images. I LOVE getting the images and don't want to squash them completely. They can be a great source of inspiration for me. However this thing I thought had been a good thing was becoming a curse. One of the books I read (it's an AMAZING book called Atomic Habits and really has helped me out) talks about Friction Points. Whenever you have something that makes it more difficult to do a good habit (or a bad habit if you're trying to quit doing something) that's called a Friction Point.
The monthly images were starting to take up too much of my creative energy. I've learned that the necessary tedium of getting images lined up really drains me. Don't know what it is but finding artists, explaining the artwork, getting their payment lined up... just drains me. Didn't expect that when I started doing this but there it is. And on this path of discovery I've realized part of my problem was the monthly image. I just don't have the creative reserves to do it monthly AND have a day job.
However, I don't want to put an end to it completely. Let's face it. I like the artwork. I think it's VERY cool. So I'm moving the artwork goals to being quarterly goals. In the future, if we get to some point where I'm doing content creation as my full-time job, I definitely am willing to revisit that. Because I really like the art.... a lot.
Next, I've realized I overcomplicate things a lot. So I'm dropping a lot of my tiers for a simpler model:
$1 per month now gets you early access to Villain-in-Distress and the MGP Vignettes. I'm also reducing the amount of time
$2 per month will get you access to voting in my polls. I plan on doing more than just pin-up polls from here on out. Casual things I can set up on my train ride to and from work. An easy way to interact with you guys and have fun and maybe even gain some insights into the stories you read. Would be nice to fully understand why you like what I do.
$10 per month gets you what are essentially producer credits if you want. Or not. A lot of you have proven you really don't care for praise and are just that awesome. Thank you.
You may notice that the whole $3 and $5 tiers are gone. Since the Fan Reel is a great idea that never got going because it's too much work that made sense. I've rolled the old 1-2 tiers together at the $1 level. I've also put what was essentially the old $5 tier down to $2 and I removed the biggest perk of the old $10 tier- you were supposed to get access to my chapters as I wrote them.
This idea was, I think, an interesting one but in retrospect, a bad one. For one, that meant that when I was doing it well, I was spending time at the beginning of each writing session making sure the right people had access to my googledocs. That's not how I should be spending creative time.
Even worse, when it wasn't working well, I felt self-conscious when people would actually watch me write. That isn't an emotion you want to cultivate in your writing every day. So now I'm just changing it to the Producer level to give those that still want to give at that level some reward for doing so if they want it.
Obviously, with all these changes in tiers and rewards I'm fully understanding if any of you wish to change how much you give per month (or given my history) wish to stop donating entirely to be sure I stick with this. If you have any concerns feel free to message me personally and we can talk about it.
Oh, I also have changed the stretch goals to things I think are more realistic and good goals for improving the quality of the site:
$100 for quarterly cannon artwork (we are currently above this but given the fact that a lot of people will likely be changing their donation amounts I just want to see where we end up first)
$200 for quarterly pin-up artwork.
$300 we will pay an editor to actually start going through and looking through MGP in its entirety to help resolve a lot of issues it has. My writing style has changed a lot since then and it could use an eidtor's touch... but editors cost money so this feels like a good goal.
$500 maybe this is a dream but if we can hit this we'll see about getting an animator to recreate Robert's transformation into Spirit Guard Serenity... maybe $500 is too low for something like that. I don't know what that would actually cost so maybe this is subject to change... but for now this is a goal!
With all that off my chest, thank you all for being so patient with me. I appreciate all the well wishes and, again, I'm sorry for going dark and ghosting a lot of you. That was wrong of me and from here on out, if I go dark I'm going to be more open about why so you at least know i haven't fallen down a well or something. I've been overwhelmed by all the support you guys have shown me. It feels good to know that I'm missed when I'm gone.
I've said it before, but I really think given recent changes I've made to my life I'm going to be more stable going forward. However, that might be my natural over-optimism talking. For now though, I just hope you enjoy Episode 52 of MGP that just came out. It's a bit short but I wanted to be sure it got out so you had something to read beyond Villain-in-Distress 17. I'm already at work on Episode 53 so I think I can guarantee you'll see it sooner than you did Episode 52 (not that THAT is saying much)
Regardless, you all are amazing and, again, if you have any concerns feel free to message me directly and I'm happy to talk it out with you.