NBI 2016 – The Worst Question Ever and Other Bits of Filler

Here we are, half way through June and I have finally gotten around to writing something for this year’s Newbie Blogger Initiative event.

NBI_Logo_450Why the delay?

Well, I’m lazy.  The event is being handled… differently this year.  Everybody was supposed to get on something called Discord for the event, which I declined to do because at this point I don’t want yet another communication channel.  We are also in the fifth turn around the NBI mulberry bush, and every year I think I have dispensed all the dubious advice I can come up with already.  Also, did I mention I am lazy?

Oh, and a bunch of people have already written some excellent stuff, which I would link to if that information wasn’t locked up in Discord or whatever.  I guess it is all in the Twitter stream, but I am not going to go pick out every post from that.  Laziness has already been mentioned.

But then I received a summons.   I got an email notification that there was a message waiting for me over at secret underground NBI headquarters.  Could this be the call to action?  The moment of inspiration that gets me to join in the event?  So I went there immediately and found this:

Houston, we have a permissions problem...

Houston, we have a permissions problem…

That at least woke me up however, and here I am.  So what do I have to add besides a bit of curmudgeonly bile?

Um… sorry, that’s all I’ve got.  But let me direct it onto a specific topic.  I want to talk about what I consider to be the worst question you’ll get as a blogger, gamer, podcaster, streamer, or the like.  And that question is:

Where do you find the time?

You’ll know you’ve truly arrived when you have been asked that question, or one of its many variations.

Part of what I hate about it is that, as questions go, it seems pretty innocuous.  Or it can.  As I noted, the question (sometimes presented as an implied question with a statement) can come in many forms, such as:

  • I wish I had as much free time as you.
  • I wish I had time to do that.
  • Do you have a social life outside of this?
  • How do you do all this and still have a job?
  • I would have to neglect my wife and children to do all this.
  • Don’t you have a life?
  • Are you some sort of basement dwelling troglodyte that you have time for this?

Those are all variations on the same question.  Some are more aggressive than others, but they all sum up to the same thing, that there is something different or wrong with you.  The implication is that you either possess some secret to having extra free time (which you are not sharing) or that you are neglecting some part of your life that you should not.

It is, when you think about it, a somewhat hostile question.  It annoys me when people ask this question, in all its variations, because I see the implications even if the person asking doesn’t.

What makes that question even worse is that it pops into my mind all the time.

I read about somebody who runs an alliance in EVE or leads a raiding guild in WoW or who plays multiple MMOs or even somebody who has a regular weekly group , something I used to be able to manage but which is off the table now, and I seem to automatically think, “I wish I had the time…”

I think that even though I know both the implications and the real answer.  The question still pops into my head unbidden.

But at least knowing the real answer keeps me from putting it on comments on other people’s blogs… most of the time.

So my meager contribution to NBI 2016 is sharing the answer with you.

Everybody finds time for the things they really want to do.

It is that simple.

In our world of the 24 hour clock and life and responsibilities, time is a constraint and, because of that, we will pick the things that are important to us and prioritize them.  There is no magical way to extend the day, so we use the free time we have to do the things we want to do most.

You will find the time to do anything you really, really want to do, and all the more so if it is something you enjoy and that makes you happy.  If all you can do is wish you had the time to do something, you’ve prioritized that something already and it didn’t make the cut.  The “fucks budget,” if you will.

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t people who neglect important aspects of their lives, but if your assumption is that anybody who has time to do something that isn’t important to you is doing so, then you are wrong.

Let’s see, what can I tack on to the end of this post to distract from that rather bland bit of so-called wisdom.

Hey, there is this post about why you should read blogs.  It is short.

Bhagpuss has a post about blogging that links out to other NBI posts.  Go read that.

Oh, and there are the actually new bloggers in this year’s NBI.  I had better link to them… I was at least able to find that list… so go visit them.  Now!

Hrmm, this year’s list isn’t all that long, is it?  And no EVE Online bloggers, and I know there have been a few new EVE blogs that have popped up lately.  I guess the word didn’t spread far.

Well, go click on everybody on the list twice I guess.  It won’t take you long.

And, since I haven’t even crossed the thousand word mark yet in this unisightly ramble, how about I link back to all my previous NBI posts from past years so you can wade into the shallow puddle that is my wisdom on the topic.  Here we go:

My dedication to the event over these last four years has been pretty low, but there are a few bits of sage advice in all of that… and links to other blogs.

In the end, I really only have the same advice I hand out every year.

Be the blog you want to read

And even that seems a bit “duh” to me.  Why would you be anything else?

Anyway, who else should I link to here?  It is, in the end, all about the link whoring.

Addendum: See, even Syp doesn’t have all the time in the world.

12 thoughts on “NBI 2016 – The Worst Question Ever and Other Bits of Filler

  1. bhagpuss

    I’m on Discord! I actually signed up. I haven’t said anything there yet though. And I won’t allow it to open automatically in Start Up, like it wants to do, because I basically don’t let anything do that, so it does depend on me remembering to click the icon, which I am not yet in the habit of doing, but still, at least I have the account set up…

    I also got the Personal Message thing from the NBI forum but I forgot my password so I couldn’t retrieve it. Just as well by the sound of things.


  2. Atheren

    You found a few blogs I missed, I’ll add those to my roll, thanks. I couldn’t get Blogger to take the feed for the Monks.


  3. Pasduil

    Everyone always misses out Vyx in these lists of newbies, I’m starting to feel quite sorry for the lass. And then I always end up mentioning her in comments. Or mostly, when I can actually summon up the energy to write a comment at all.

    Anyway, here she is:


    Also, it’s nice to see someone that feels the same about Discord as I do. I stopped wanting to join new comms channels about 3 years ago! For all I know it may be a wonderful thing, but I have too many already.

    Finally, on the “Where do you find the time?” thing…

    I probably never say those exact words. However I do often remark in wonderment at how people like Brax manage to do all the gaming and content creation that they do. And I’m not under the delusion that such people don’t have a life, rather I am awestruck by how they are apparently so much more productive than I am.


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Pasduil – Well, I went to what I thought was the “official” Google docs spreadsheet for that list, and she isn’t on it. I’ll add her to the post, but somebody needs to get her on the real list. Or maybe put a real list of the alleged real site. It feels like a bit of a muddle this year, at least looking in from the outside with the rest of the non-Discordians.


  5. Pasduil

    It’s news to me that there is an official list! Though since you put it in quotes, perhaps there isn’t. I’m even more out of the loop than normal, but this time I have a teensy suspicion that there is possibly no actual loop.

    Last time I looked the forum was only in use by spammers, but that was a few weeks ago and may have changed.


  6. Shintar

    The way we use time as an excuse for not doing things is definitely very deeply ingrained… it was quite enlightening for me when I realised that whenever I or someone else said “I’d really like to see you again, but I haven’t had the time” we really mean that we don’t care enough. It’s just kind of rude to say it that way. Just like time, our capacity to care about things is also limited though. It’s just part of being human.


  7. Pasduil

    To believe that people are so sage and so in control of themselves that they consistently do what is ultimately most important to them and skip what is relatively unimportant is a wildly unrealistic view of human beings. If you can honestly say that you do that, you are a) exceptional and b) probably deceiving yourself.

    Even if that were the case would the world really be a better place if we said to each other things like: “I’d like to see you but frankly I have more important things to do.”?

    We understand what people mean by “I don’t have the time”. They either mean they have more pressing things to deal with and can’t do what they would like to if things were different for them, or they mean “I’m not interested” but are being polite and trying to minimize causing hurt feelings. Either way is ok as an everyday use of language.

    Of course if someone is expressing real angst about being unable to fit in something that they say is important to them, it might be helpful to look into how they’re allocating their time.

    Personally I’m allocating my time to commenting on this blog post, and I can tell you that much as I like to do that, I don’t consider it one of my priorities in life!


  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Pasduil – “To believe that people are so sage and so in control of themselves that they consistently do what is ultimately most important to them and skip what is relatively unimportant…”

    That is you putting words in my mouth, and then arguing against them, which is what we generally consider a logical fallacy around these parts.

    Nowhere did I say that people did this in consciously self-aware way at all times, as you imply.

    But people do make these sorts of choices ALL THE TIME consciously or not. Every moment of every day you make decisions about what to do with your time. I got up and went to work today rather than staying in bed. I played one video game yesterday and not another. I watched one TV show and not another.

    Did I sit there and evaluate these decisions and stack rank them against other choices? No. But a decision was made all the same.

    So when somebody says, “I wish I had the time…” that is an indication that they made a decision. Maybe they didn’t consciously say to themselves in their inner monologue, “I will not do this thing because I have other things I would rather do!” but the effect is the same.

    So you may tell me that commenting on my blog is not one of your priorities, you still chose to do it and, in doing so, probably did not do something else. Tell yourself whatever story that makes you happy, but it was a priority relative to something else.

    And, as noted in the post, some people will bring that focus on how you use your own time as an attempt to disparage you as a blogger. How you spend your own time is determined by what gives you enjoyment, which is an excellent measure of importance, and somebody else’s notions as to what you should be doing with your time shouldn’t be taken to much to heart of they gainsay choices which do make you happy.

    I’m happy about blogging even when you come here to tell me I am wrong.

    Unless you were responding directly to Shintar without follow the usual “@person” convention here, in which case nevermind.


  9. Pasduil

    I was responding to Shintar. I don’t know about any @person convention. Most blogs have threaded comments and that doesn’t come up.

    I don’t know what you are so upset about. But when it comes to putting words in people’s mouth’s you seem to excel at attributing motives to people that have nothing to do with what they wrote. So frak you, frankly,


  10. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Pasduil – I do not have threaded comments, as you no doubt have noticed, so if you do not indicated an individual, an action you would have seen people do repeatedly, even in this very thread, I have to assume you are responding to the post itself and not an individual.

    Of course, even without you doing that, I wrote a response then considered that you might have not been responding to me, so offered a retraction should that be the case, which actually left me looking pretty dumb. But that wasn’t good enough for you, so frak you too buddy.

    (At this point, I think the appropriate response from you would be “I’m not your buddy!” and some further insult. Or I suppose I could say I am sorry for the confusion.)


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