Once, four years or so ago, I made a run at doing the self publishing thing, and after a year I had burnt myself out. My book is pretty good, I think, but I’m not interested in selling it in this post (or even here, really. I might talk about it though. sometime. Maybe. I dunno). For three years since I released my book, I spent a lot of time thinking about what is salable, what I could try to make money off of. Even the book I’m working on now, slowly albeit, I’ve considered how to sell it.
COVID slowed me down, of course, absolutely destroying my mental health through much of 2020. And while I was slowly crawling out of that hole, something happened that ended up changing me.
What happened was the cultural event of Blaseball.
There’s been a lot written on Blaseball, and a good primer is the People Make Games video, so I’ll skip most of the 101 on it. The basics is that Blaseball is an absurdist horror baseball betting simulator. The games play out once an hour during the week, all day, for 99 games. The players are names on the screen with a few stats. The plays are shown in text. And in the last year and change, its fans have produced an incredible amount of artwork, music, and fan fiction, donated $50,000 to charities, and taught fans how to organize work, among so much more.
I got in on a whim in the first week and I can say with certainty that Blaseball is one of those points in time in my life that my life changed. Being in the team discord, building the lore with everyone, thinking I didn’t need to write fan fic, I didn’t need an OC, I didn’t need fan teams.
At this moment, I have written 15 piece of fan fiction, with three more on the way, contributed to a zine, drawn comics, influenced lore, and made some friends. And for all of this, all of this effort, I have not received, nor do I expect compensation. I’m not going to make money off of this, despite the broad blessings of the developers, the Game Band, to sell fan merch. I’ve been doing all of it for fun.
And I had a thought. What if… what if I just do things for fun? What if I do things because, like keeping a Gemini capsule, because it’s fun? What if I don’t care about my view count? What if I don’t care about my likes, or favorites, or notes? What if the serotonin comes from just making something?
And man, how good did that feel? It felt freeing
That’s how I ended up here. I’m fascinated by the Small internet, and participating seemed like fun. And what if that’s all it needs to be?
People Make Games episode about Blaseball
It’s entertaining and well worth the watch.