So where have all the updates gone? I wound up needing to take a few days to “regroup” after what happened and now feel ready to get back to work. You may be asking what happened, and that’s what I’ll be getting into after a brief bit of background and setup.
Warning: The whole post is going to come off as a bit whiny, but that isn’t my intent. I’ve rewritten and edited this to be less complaint oriented several times, and this is the result.
Digital Entertainment News is largely run by me, with contributions of reviews by some people that I’ve worked with for many years. Most of the content is mine – news, reviews, features, etc. I also wind up editing and posting everything that isn’t mine. Suffice to say that 95% of the content on the website goes through me in some manner. Try doing it sometime, it’s not easy.
I’m not complaining, but I just want to impress upon you the workload – which is a lot. I calculated it out and in order to properly run the website I needed about 9 hours a day just to maintain the low standard that we barely maintain. That doesn’t allow for any actually playing of games. The stress of this alone was great. I would regularly get up at 5 in the morning in order to get some work done before my kids wake up, then I get a couple of hours done while they are at school or down for nap, then I might get a couple more hours in the afternoon and on a good day I might get a total of 5 hours of work. Usually I got maybe 4. I simply was getting more work coming in than I could handle.
Because the website isn’t generating any money, I am unable to pay somebody to help out. Believe me, I really would like to spread the work load. The reviewers that I have that do contribute are great guys, but there is only so much they can do because I don’t pay them regular wages. Heck, I don’t even pay myself a wage. The writers have their own full time jobs to deal with, as well as their personal lives.
Because working on the website isn’t as great of a priority for the contributors, many of the reviews they turn in are late. Not all, but enough for it to be an issue. These late reviews are having an affect on the operation of the website. Readers don’t want reviews that are not current. Publishers don’t want to send product for review if it won’t get turned around in a timely manner. Readership has dropped and the relationship with certain publishers has suffered.
I am busy cramming in as much work as I can as well as trying to pick up the slack that the contributors have left and my own work is suffering because of it. There simply isn’t enough time for me to get all of the news posted, edit the reviews that come in, write my own stuff, maintain the website and keep in contact with the publishers.
Then there’s the issue of the website itself. The redesign that launched in January is not complete and there are some issues with how stuff gets posted and displayed (as well as a few other items). This, also, is a source of great frustration as it is now 5 months past the launch date and the people I have hired to fix the website have not finished the job. I would fix it myself but do not have the skillset. If I did, I would most likely have a different job (perhaps one that pays).
Tuesday night, May 5, all of the various bits of frustration came to a head. I was angry at myself for being behind in my own work, angry at the contributors who didn’t turn in what they were supposed to when they said they would, angry that the website wasn’t working properly, frustrated with the diminished relationships with publishers, and angry that I was spending so much time on the website and not getting paid.
My solution? I threw my computer across the room.
Don’t get me started on how immature and unproductive of an act that was. I know full well the consequences. I actually knew before and during the act. I was ready to quit.
Obviously, I didn’t. What I did do, however, was take the rest of the week “off” and spent the time reassessing the website. I also started playing Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – I haven’t played a game for enjoyment in years. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed many of the games I have reviewed, but there was always the pressure of getting the review done timely. It was nice to simply be able to play a game and enjoy it. It allowed me to sort of reconnect with what the website is about.
So I’m back to work, but changes need to be made. I need to make sure I don’t get caught in the same situation again in a couple of weeks. The first thing I did was let one of the contributors go – I couldn’t really fire him because I didn’t pay him. He was the worst offender when it came to turning things in late and it was affecting the website.
Next, I had to take a look at how I spent my time. Knowing that I am going to be able to rely less and less on the contributors, I have to take on even more of the reviews. This means I somehow need to make more time for myself. My solution? Well, it’s a work in progress. I’m streamlining the news, so I won’t be posting every little press release. I also am going to be introducing “news briefs” which compile a number of items into one entry. Things that would normally get a full stand alone post but don’t necessarily need one will get posted there. Also, I won’t be posting every screenshot that comes through my in-box.
As for the repair and maintenance of the website, I am hoping that is going to get done shortly (though it has been a few days and as of this writing I haven’t heard back from the developers).
I’m just trying to keep my sanity as well as maintain the level of quality that is expected. Hopefully with the changes that I am implementing I’ll have more time to get stuff written and less frustration resulting in thrown computers.