I’m Burned Out

Republibot 3.0
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This is *NOT* the end of the site or anything, but I wanted to let everyone know that I’m burned out. I’ve been fighting it for a while now, I’ve still been giving it a lot of effort, trying had and all, but in the last month or two I’ve become increasingly aware that I’m running on fumes as far as the site goes. This has happened before. I soldier on, I get through it. Today it came to a head, however, and, well, I’m burned out.

There were a number of factors that led to it.
1) A long term project that crapped out with nothing to show for it
2) A friend is dying
3) Demands on my time: There’s a lot of effort in being effortlessly interesting. I’m putting a lot of time into the site on a daily basis, and it’s really cut into other things I need and/or want to do.
4) Carpal Tunnel Carpal Tunnel Carpal Tunnel
5) A loss of inspiration.

When I’ve gotten in a slump before, it’s generally just number five alone, or sometimes five and three together. This time I’m kind of despondent, and I feel I’m perilously close to overtaxing my passion. I don’t want to do that. The other ‘Bots and I have spent a lot of time and effort in making this place the best one we could. There’s a lot of interesting stuff here, a lot of good people, we provide a (Admittedly minor) resource, we’re intellectually honest and not frightened by new ideas or different opinions. We were never hoping to overthrow AICN or whatever, but we’ve always tried to provide an alternative to sites like IO9. It’s a niche we’re appealing to, and we had no delusions of superstardom. I do think we’re fulfilling the needs of that niche. We hope that we’d become well known enough to make this a profitable venture, that we’d become sort of well known amongst Conservatives, that the machine would generate enough notoriety and respect that it would allow us to hire a staff, improve our brand. A little name recognition, you know? We didn’t want to be big fish in a little pond, or big fish in a big pond, but just a respected, fun, smart, kind of well-known fish in however big our particular niche happens to be. I’ve grown to despair of that ever happening, but perhaps needlessly. R2 informs me that our numbers are now bouncing around 1000 hits a day, more than twice what they were at the start of the year. Most of that is the result of you, the readers, telling your friends about us. Thank you for that, thank you very much, we do appreciate it! Perhaps my despair is simply Seasonal Affective Disorder, or some other trendy psychological ailment.

I dunno.

We’d hoped to build a community that would take part in discussions, in administration, in promoting the site, in contributing content. To some extent that’s happened - and I mean no disrespect to the people like Neo or Sam or Tessa or Charlie who have contributed scads of articles and stories, nor the others who’ve done reviews - but the fact is two years in I’m still hauling the wagon, content-wise. I’ve written quite literally TENS of millions of words, pages and pages every day, more than ninety-five percent of everything that’s come up on the site has come from my increasingly-achy breaky fingers. I just can’t keep that up.

When the site started, I got the job of head writer because I write and think fast, and I really am kind of effortlessly engaging and funny (or so I think when I get a couple drinks into me). It was our hope that a year or two in, enough other contributors would have stepped up that I could maybe cut back to only writing maybe *half* the content. And maybe we’d be able to pay some people, and get some more high-profile interviews. Again, I’ve begun to despair of it ever happening.

So I’m depressed, and I’m burned out, I’m feeling completely overwhelmed, and I don’t really know what to do next. I used to Guestblog on a few other sites, but I’ve had to drop from that, I can’t motivate myself enough to keep doing it. I’ve backed out of a couple fun writing assignments for the same reason. I don’t really comment on any other boards because I don’t have time, and I lack the motivation.

Again: This is emphatically *NOT* the end of the site, we’re not shutting down, nor do we have any intention of shutting down, nor are we even slowing down, but we *ARE* at a crossroads. I’ll keep contributing as much as I can, but we NEED NEED NEED others to step up and take some of the burden off my hunched shoulders.

What does that mean?

Well, we *NEED* another staff writer. Someone who, like myself, can write interesting, not-ridiculously-short articles on a wide range of SF-related topics, and we need him/her yesterday. Someone that can crank out one or two articles a week.

We *NEED* people to contribute original fiction to the site. Got an SF story of your own? Submit it to us, and we’ll very likely run it. You’ll retain all the rights to the story, but several hundred people you don’t know will read it. That’s cool, right?

We *NEED* people to review shows for us. We’ve had guestblogger reviews in the past, and those have always gone well. We need more of that. Basically you tell us what show you like, then you watch it, then you review it ASAP and put it up on the site for total strangers to read. Easy and cool, but there are simply too many shows at present for R2 and myself to cover.

We *NEED* book and movie reviews - both current and classic - as well as video games and comics and music. If it’s related at all to SF, it’s within our mandate, so if you’re just nuts about the “Micronauts” comic from the ‘70s, or that “War of the Worlds” prog rock album, or some *new* book that you just found, or whatever, write it up, tell us about it, and we’ll run it.

We *NEED* someone to promote the site. I don’t really know what this entails. I’m not sure how one would go about it, but we need someone to get our name out there, link us to other sites and individuals, increase awareness about our site, and basically let people know what we are and how to find us. And maybe set up interviews. It might be as simple as getting involved in conversations on a lot of different forums.

We *NEED* all of you reading this - regulars commenters and lurkers alike - to do what you've already been doing: talk about this site, tell your friends, link ‘em to stories you like, and so on. It’s a party, so invite people! You've already been doing this, and thank you.

Some of these *could* become paid positions, assuming we have any material success in 2011. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in doing *ANY* of these things, please email me at three@republibot.com

Many hands make light the work, and this was always intended to become a community, not just the “R3 show, starring R3.” Well, I can’t keep it up, so please, please, please, please, please, folks, some of you step up and help out. We’re not asking for money, or even much time, just for your words. They should be heard, right? This could-and-should be your opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something cool and respectable and fun. Take advantage of it! You don’t have to build the swimming pool, we’ve already done that. All you need to do is jump in and have a good time.

Again: The site is *NOT* shutting down. The three of us have done too much work to just let it die. It’ll be business as usual for as long as I can maintain it, but I don’t know how long that’ll be.

Chat amongst yourselves. I’m taking a week off. I hope to hear from a bunch of you by Email when I come back. There will still be new content running while I’m away, so keep checking in.

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