Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Blog's Future


Seeing as how over three weeks have gone by without a single post, I feel that the time has come for me to discuss not just this situation, but the future of Leave Luck to Heaven.

I do want readers to know I haven't been sitting here twiddling my thumbs. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Not long after my last post, a series of events had enlightened me over many factors regarding my life, and had effectively compounded on the insecurities I had previously mentioned. In other words, it's given me a wake-up call on my current feelings towards the blog. In order to properly convey this, I want to reiterate several of the mains points in the very first post I had penned here.

When the concept of Leave Luck to Heaven first emerged in my head, the idea was sort of a godsend for me. My goal of being a writer was something I had long since established, but I could never find a platform where I could consistently hone my craft due to lack of motivation. The idea of a blog format, however, had immense appeal to me. The prospects of receiving feedback and publishing my works for free on the internet would serve as a constant source of motivation and vigor, and I felt it would serve as the perfect outlet for a budding career.

Not only that, but I believed writing about my favorite subject would reinvigorate more life into my biggest passion. I felt that by writing articles and posts about the games I love so much would not only confirm their relevance to me, but I would finally get to the heart of something I had been planning for years. I've always wanted to discuss just what makes these wondrous devices of entertainment so special to me, something I've never been able to discuss eloquently in real life (I'm not exactly a verbal person), and having the opportunity to share these thoughts and feelings with other people would also serve as a way of putting myself out there.

Whether or not I felt I had succeeded is something I'll get to in a bit, but I can say that during most of it's first year, writing on the blog was a tremendous satisfaction. It wasn't just writing, it was that the purpose of the blog enabled me to connect with games I hadn't played in years or had thought much of previously. My posts regarding Super Mario Bros., for example, established a connection I never had with it before. I came to realize it wasn't just the game that had started it all; it was a game that remains timeless even today and I'm still aiming to finally defeat the excruciating World 8. My tribute to my brother aided me in overcoming the trials of his death and the piece was lauded by just about every member of my family. I've even received comments from my relatives saying that they've seen me in a different light thanks to the blog, and I'd like to think I've grown closer to several of them because of that (which I believe is by far my biggest accomplishment).

However, as 2010 went on and transitioned into 2011, there were a burgeoning pile of issues I had with the blog, and they all seemed to center on the "Game" structure where I take a classic game and describe in multiple posts why it's so amazing. I had intended for these to be the main meat of the blog, but they hadn't gone as well as I liked. While I felt I had done a great job with the Super Mario Bros. posts, there were a number of flaws regarding the games that had followed afterward and I felt this had hindered their appeal. I was ecstatic to go over Kirby's Adventure, for example, and detail just how much the game meant to my childhood and how it sparked my love for Kirby. Instead, I just described the game in what was more of a visual guide and I failed to get my point across. While I felt Mario Kart DS had gone along more smoothly, it still had some of the same problems and I got a little too melodramatic with the "retrospective" pieces at the end of every Lap.

What bothered me the most, however, was the impact these posts were affecting on several factors; namely, my life. As time went on, I became focused more and more on the blog and the effects started to show. To crank out the latest Dream for Kirby's Adventure wasn't just a past time anymore; it was now a job. Updating the blog was suddenly my top priority, and excluding college work it got to the point where I shoved my hobbies and interests out of the way and reserved the rest of the day writing posts. I'd scold and chastise myself for not getting these posts done sooner and then force myself in a mad rush to complete them in a matter of weeks, and it was obvious (more in the case of Kirby's Adventure) that by the end I just stopped caring and stopped putting much effort into them.

Things eventually settled down in regards to the blog as the second semester of college swamped me with work, but I was adamant on getting the Pikmin Seeds out by the end of spring. By this time, I had fully realized the flaws in my Kirby/Mario Kart posts and was ready to build upon them. With Pikmin, I was set to finally get across what I had intended to from the very beginning. And what better game to choose from from Pikmin? It was still one of the most beautiful games I had ever played, and one that would get to the point I was trying to nab!

The usual pattern had begun to seep in. I'd let the first post sit around for while, then I'd crank out a couple more the next month, then finish the rest in a rushed binge and then move on to something else.

Only, the last one didn't happen. The latest Seed, the one that was set on elaborating my ultimate goal regarding the blog, the one that I was worrying about constantly, the one that was giving me trouble...has yet to pop up, and it's been a month since my last Pikmin seed.

Over a week after my last post, I've put over a lot of thought regarding my current system of the blog, and I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to do this anymore. By that, I don't mean that I'm quitting the blog, I just mean I'm tired of this system. There's a billion reasons as to why it's not working out for me, and I feel that it's necessary to explain why.

I've already described about how my intense obsession with the blog had a negative effect on my real life, and much of it had to do with, again, lack of motivation. The comfort zone I've built up over the years has become my greatest enemy, and I wanted to use the blog as a way to get around that. Unfortunately, old habits die hard and it's still something I'm struggling with.

The reason why I was looking forward to this summer was the chance to just reinvent myself. I want to break out of my comfort zone and not just reconnect with my hobbies but just going out and doing new things! Take more walks! Learn new vocab! Visit my new campus! Learn new things! Replay my old games and new ones I had missed! Learn how to write better! Just do stuff!

And yet, the blog still remains a pain in the ass. Here I am trying to step away, and I'm stuck here trying to fulfill an obligation that doesn't mean anything in the long run. Here's the question I've been asking myself: Am I really going to continue doing this? Throwing out a couple of posts then grinding out seven more in the span of two weeks, all of which are incredibly long and have unsanitary amounts of time put into them?

My dreams of being a writer mean a lot to me, but I don't want it to take over my life. I want to improve and hone my skills, but I don't want to worry about it every single day. I'm not going to just sit here and keep telling myself, "Oh, okay, five more minutes...no, ten, no, a half hour, no, fifteen," and then suddenly it's 10:00 at night and I haven't written anything and I'm too tired to go on. This pattern would repeat for hours, then days, then weeks, and in the case of Mario Kart DS, three months.

I guess the main point of this reason is that there's just a lot of stuff going on now, most notably moving into college a month from now, and all of them are infinity times more important than writing on here. Do I really want to end up being a freshmen worrying about how to fit in while simultaneously attempting to pen the sixth post regarding Donkey Kong Country? Of course not! I want to able to tackle this kind of thing when I have my shit together, after I've learned how to manage my time at college, able to manage my time getting to know my new friends, and being able to manage my time regarding my personal interests. Right now, a blog can't really support that, and it's pivotal that it takes a backseat. It's just exhausting right now, and I want to be able to do it when I can write consistently in an established time frame.

And it's not just the workload, either. This system has pushed away EVERYTHING else I've wanted to discuss here and I've only recently realize the gravity of this predicament. Take a look at the list I had provided in the blog's introduction.
  • What's been going on in my life in terms of video games, such as getting the NES to work or what I've been playing recently.
  • Various pieces of my life with Nintendo. This may or may not be combined with other pieces.
  • Posting awesome official game art/fanart I find. This will probably be once a week.
  • I'll also be posting game music in the form of Youtube videos. I'll be sharing my passion for game music and why I love it so much.
  • My opinions on game announcements and what's been going on in the industry.
  • Occasionally, maybe rants on why Nintendo fans today suck so much.
How many times have I gone over these? Some of these never ended up happening, and even the ones that did played second fiddle to my current format and are rarely expanded upon. The problem here is not just that I've spent way too much time on these pieces, and it's not just that it's interfering with my life. There are so many more interesting subjects I could go over than just gushing about one game over and over and over.

For example, remember how I had promised a new feature earlier this year? I was so excited for it to come into fruition since I thought of the idea, and was all ready to put it on in March. Not long after, I had to set it aside for my Pikmin seeds, which I still feel guilty about since I missed two golden opportunities for this feature to really shine. Games I've Been Playing? There's only been three entries since it's inception nearly a year ago, and it's because I had to put it aside for these posts! Reviews? The one for Pokemon White never came because I was so busy trying to get the Pikmin seeds off the ground!

It wasn't until the 3DS remake for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out that I realized the situation I was in. I was still intent on finally getting Seed 5 out of the way and over with, and yet every time I played Ocarina of Time 3D, I always kept thinking, "Wow, I'd love to discuss this into my review!" or "Hmm, they could have done this a little better. I gotta remember it for my review." And then it kept getting delayed and delayed and delayed because I was so focused on getting this one post done, and now? I don't have the slightest interest in writing a review for it.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg! There are so many other things I want to discuss, like how happy I was when Kirby Wii was announced (OH MY GOD PLEASE LET "Kirby Returns to Dream Land" BE THE REAL TITLE!!!), or my adventures with the 3DS, or my thoughts regarding the Project Rainfall movement, and I never got around to any of that! And even when I did, it'd be shoved to the end of my post. And it was all because I kept focusing on this!

There are so many other things that I feel are way more relevant then what I'm attempting to do now, and I don't waste my time doing all of this! I want to write reviews! I want to gush about the latest happenings in the game industry! I want to discuss what I'm playing right now! A lot of those concepts I had introduced in the bullet points above still sound appealing to me, and I still want to pull them off! And I can't do that unless I throw this defunct system away!

My final point has to do with the insecurities I had mentioned before, and it's the reason why Seed 5 was so hard for me to write. Lately, I've accepting that I've been unconsciously harboring feelings of inferiority, anger, and worthlessness throughout my life, and it was only recently had I sat down and realized just how much they were hindering me. One of these insecurities had to deal with my ability as a writer, and I had felt I really hadn't gone anywhere with it for so long. I began comparing myself to other journalists throughout the net and every time the same question came to mind: How can I write like them?

It's funny. I created this blog with the intention of improving my writing skills, and while I can say I've gotten better, I've just been stagnant for so long because I've been focused on this same structure! I haven't gone anywhere at all this year because of it! And that's why I'm feeling inadequate and being so hard on myself.

I mentioned earlier how I feel regarding the Kirby's Adventure and Mario Kart DS series of posts, and how they ended up being more of a visual guide than a summary of my experiences with them. To elaborate on this point, I'd like for you to take a look at these two posts for a moment and see what I'm getting at. These were the sole pieces in my works(well, at least in regards to their subjects) where I had achieved everything I had wanted to talk about! Thing is, I don't want to just describe these games. I want to describe what these games mean to me! I want to go over how much they've shaped my gaming career, and how much of an impact they've made on me, and what connections I had shared in that point of time during their initial relevance! Those two posts are the perfect examples of what I want to write on here, and I remember feeling absolutely content writing those posts and being completely happy with how they turned out (as opposed to most of the others, where I felt "Am I doing this right?").

To tell you the truth, though, I didn't fully realize this until the other day. I was looking back at this post and I thought it was amazing how even though it was just a random article I had created out of the blue, it spoke to me on so many different levels than most things I've written on here. Maybe it's just me, and I don't mean to brag, but I always crack a smile at the Super Mario Galaxy 2 bit until the end. The whole thing's not perfect, but who cares? It's a heartwarming piece that reveals a lot about the author and stands on its own.

I'm not trying to imply that everything I'm writing on here is going to be perfect. Far from it. What I'm trying to get at here is that I want to write things here that are relevant to me. Not every post is going to be "WOW AMAZING PROFOUND MASTERPIECE!!!!!", but I just want to have the luxury of not just knowing that I'm on the right track, but that I can look back on my past works with pride and even read them for pleasure! That's not working for me right now, and I just need to take it easy and figure out what are the best options for me here.

In summary, I still can't really manage my time well here, I feel that my current structure of posts are getting in the way of posts and concepts that are a hundred times more interesting and relevant, and I don't feel comfortable with what I'm writing at the moment. Maybe I'll come back to this model eventually, but only at a time when I feel that I'm ready, I feel more confident about my writing (I'm not even sure if I used the semicolons properly!) and able to write at a higher level.

And that's that.

So, what can you expect from here on out?

-First off, I want to make it clear that Leave Luck to Heaven is not going on a hiatus. In fact, I've already got something in the works! I'm heading down to Otakon in two days and this time I'm FINALLY going to dedicate an entire article detailing my experiences! Look forward to it.

-However, since I'm going to be adjusting to college, my decision at taking it easy is going to affect the blog's updates. I can't guarantee the amount of posts you're gonna see every month, since every time I've given an estimate it never really comes true, but you can probably expect at least a minimum of two posts.

-The Pikmin Seeds are being put on hold. I really don't want to do this, especially since I was looking so forward to going over the game. To tell you the truth, that was when I was finally getting the groove I was looking for (I'm particularly proud of the first and fourth Seeds), but it's too much time and effort for me at the moment. I definitely want to revisit it at some point in time, though, so look forward to that in the future.

-I'd like to see more consistent updates regarding Games I've Been Playing. Since the current format of posts will be going on hold, that will probably take over. It'll be much fresher change of pace, however, since I won't be focusing on just one game!

-Expect more posts regarding happenings in the industry, such as game announcements or controversial decisions.

-The new feature will arrive this fall! What you can expect is not one, not two, BUT THREE posts regarding it by the end of this year! I'm actually quite looking forward to tackling these, and in a way I feel they're a suitable replacement for my old system.

And that's about it. I'm hoping this will work out.

See you.

Sunday, July 3, 2011



At this point, I think it's necessary to discuss why Leave Luck to Heaven has been gathering dust for the past few weeks.

I have not had a great 2011. Granted, the same thing could be said for the last several years, but the difference here is that, aside from my internships and college, I've lacked any form of cohesive schedule/motivation. I suppose this isn't something especially new, but the added responsibility of the blog has reinforced these subjects in to my everyday life (as opposed to just dealing with required objectives such as homework and chores).

Thing is, though, as much as I've put the blame on college work for the lack of updates in the spring, I really could have sprinkled posts in-between my work if I had tried. However, I kept putting it off, telling myself that "I'll get around to it in a half hour," and I continued to repeat this line until I found myself too tired to work on whatever I had planned to post, not having typed in a single letter. As a result, I kept forcing myself into crunch times, which not only ruined whatever self-improvement schedule I had planned for myself but added a lot of stress that, in the long run, wasn't really necessary.

Is that I don't really want to do this anymore? Not really. There's a lot I'd like to discuss here, but there's so many factors working against my failing system on here, and it's not so much the blog itself as it is myself. I've fallen into a sort of dangerous comfort zone over the last six years or so, and it's a sort of trap where I accomplish absolutely nothing and even though I daydream daily about some sort of grand scheme to escape it and transform my life into something better, I'm too accustomed to my lazy everyday lifestyle to change it. In other words, this comfort zone rejects my efforts at hard work and has been my number one enemy regarding the blog.

That, and I've come to terms with the fact that I'm insecure about myself. I often beat myself up mentally on a regular basis, whether it's regarding guilt, or the fact I'm lying around doing accomplishing nothing, or feeling that I'm living under a rock, or whatever. The source of this is a variety of issues I won't get into, but my recent insecurity has dealt with my writing, and many times I just wonder if it's all worth it. I compare myself to other writers and journalists who spin the same cloth I do, and deep down I feel as if my writing capabilities don't match up at all. While I can admit I'm still an amateur in the grand scheme of things, negativity and self-doubt have been at my side for much of my teen life.

What doesn't help this (and is probably the source) is I'm doing something...shall I say, ambitious with my next Pikmin Seed and it may surprise you to hear that I'm quite scared how it's going to turn out. It's something I've wanted to talk about ever since I started the blog, and yet I've wasted my time worrying and worrying that my current writing level won't be adequate to describe I'm trying to get across.However, the real issue is that I'm angry at myself for not just putting this whole thing off for so long, but the entire series as well. If I had really done my best, I could have wrapped this whole thing up in June or even early May. Instead, I still have about four posts left and it's just a big stress factor about something that shouldn't be that big of a deal.

Obviously, I've been pondering a great deal about this troublesome situation over the past month, most of it regarding the future of the blog. Recently, I've come to the conclusion that while I still want to write on it, I really need to make it less of a priority. Here's the deal: While I do plan on getting the Pikmin seeds done and over with THIS MONTH, the thought of kicking back and just taking it easy as I'll be preparing the transition to college next month is becoming more and more of an ideal thought for me. As much as I like writing on here, I'm really tired of structuring my time around the blog. I was literally becoming its slave, and that's not a healthy situation for anyone!

By "taking it easy," yes, I do mean I will be be popping up less frequently. Not only will I have a much easier time conforming to my new dorm life, but I'll have all the time in the world to say, hunt down screenshots as opposed to nabbing all of them at the last minute. That, and...it'll just be a fresh change of pace. In all honesty, I'd like to experiment with the other sections of the blog rather than focus on my current Game structure.

I am taking steps in my life to deal with most of the issues listed above, and I do want readers to know that I'll be starting work on the blog tomorrow. There are also two other posts I'd like to go over soon (one of which is a review!), so please look forward to those as well.

See you.

Edit: Made a HUGE mistake with the date of this post. As of this edit, it's July 6th, and I think I posted this three or two days ago...not in late June!!! I'm sorry for any confusion.