Sunday Thoughts: Therapy

With one thing and another, this week has been pretty rough for me. Actually, the past few weeks have been quite difficult. I’ve had very unreliable internet access and with the games release schedule being what it is and everyone else working so hard, I’ve felt like I’m letting people down.

I’ve missed being able to dip in and sort out news posts when Dan is busy. I’ve been almost entirely unable to do the features editing I do when Kris can’t get to it (not to mention the twice-daily “can you do images” emails he usually sends!) I’ve struggled with getting reviews out and keeping in touch with PR contacts. Some days, simply answering emails has been a struggle. I’ve tethered my iPhone (and destroyed my data plan!), bought awfully slow MiFi hotspots and generally struggled to keep myself vaguely connected so that the stream of content you’re used to is kept fairly regular while other people are travelling, partying and attending events in TSA’s name.

On top of that, my wife has been insanely busy in her own job. I’ve hardly seen her for over a week. And my dog hurt his back leg a month ago and needs to be constantly watched so he doesn’t undo the work that the ridiculously expensive surgery did to mend him. I’ve felt like it’s a constant struggle, trapped indoors almost constantly “dogsitting” and no matter how hard I try, I’m still letting people down. Missing typos in posts I edit, using the wrong images, not responding to emails quickly enough and making the wrong decisions on things. At a point it feels like nothing I do is good enough because the struggle people don’t see is obviously disregarded in the efforts people do.

I’m well aware that this is very much a series of what the glib commentators on Twitter like to call “first world problems”. I’m not vain enough to expect (or want) you to care. This little blog isn’t an attempt to get loads of comments sympathising (although if anyone wants to send me a little cake, I wouldn’t say no). What I want to say here is a simple “thank you”.

On Friday, teflon sent me a public reply via twitter that said I was “certifiable”. Apparently, he thought it was a bit mental that we were giving away so many prizes recently. I suppose it was quite a lot in a short period. The iPad competition is Gameloft’s thing so I can’t take credit for that. But we also had the GTAV speculation competition and gave a way some Amazon vouchers and then we had the Uncharted 3 competition where we gave away a copy of the game plus two £25 PSN vouchers. Those two, and the previous competition to win a copy of Forza 4 with the Microsoft Speed Wheel were all funded by the website or by me personally.

It didn’t occur to me until teflon’s comment on Friday that this might be considered generous. You might find that difficult to believe but up until that one lighthearted, throwaway comment, I hadn’t really thought about it as anything other than a kind of therapy.

You see, I’d been having a bad week or two and giving stuff away makes me feel better. I’d felt like I was letting people down and seeing people enthusiastic and happy made me feel better about myself and my perceived inadequacies. You were all unsuspecting therapists.

Being involved with TSA is really hard work sometimes. There’s such a volume of effort and stress that goes into supplying all of this that you visit in your hundreds of thousands every month. On top of that, we also have a much more interactive, closer relationship with our core community than anyone else I can think of. The little criticisms and comments that people make are magnified by the perception that the people making them are our friends, rather than just the market we serve, as they are on almost all other websites (whether they admit it or not).

It’s difficult for me to make that distinction and I think that’s part of why TSA feels more like a collective community than most sites. We certainly work harder than a lot of them, even the paid ones, our quality is greater than many and we put out more content than most. But this other aspect of actually, genuinely caring about the people who give back in the comments is, I think, fairly unique. And although it means that I take the criticisms more harshly than I should, it also means I can lean on you for your unknowing support.

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29 Comments

  1. I also dont expect anything but people on twitter may know times are rough for me too.

    You said to me” you just have to keep on keeping on” which probably didnt sound like much of an advice column but the way things are actually created perspective.

    “Life is shit and then we die” is something ive heard a lot and your comment counters that theory. Keep on going and the good times will roll.

    Maybe like me you will get so much shit your head is in constant overdrive but one day (hopefully soon) all will find its place and everything that is often taken for granted will have you grinning from ear to ear.

  2. Nawww, group hug! Y’all do an awesome job and us lot are all pleased to be a part of the community! I count myself lucky to have been invited to take part in the podcasts and now that your internets are better, more than better, nearly 100 Mbps or something equally ridiculous, I’m sure you can get back to your usually daily stressbucket of editing, posting, being a family man and working. :)

    • It’s amazing how much we rely on Internet connections nowadays. My life is in turmoil when the O2 box decides that it doesn’t want me to use the internet.

      Anyway, the reason I replied to you, Kev, was to say that I saw you winning that Nate lookalike competition on YouTube the other day when I became obsessed with Nolan North interviews ;)

      If I’m honest, though, I feel that the baby should’ve won, personally. Congrats, though.

    • A group hug from Drake? Only happens on here!

      • Unless Chloe is involved, i won’t be joining the group hug. *pulls up trousers and walks away* ;P

      • Haha, fair enough Steven, that means more Elena for me!

  3. You haven’t let anyone down. You should be proud of what you have done and if you need a break every now and again no one will hold that against you.

    • This 110% :)
      I love this site and the community, the fact that I visit daily is testament to the quality of what you lot produce. Deffo be proud and make sure to take time out for other stuff, apparently wives are important also (so my missus tells me anyway).

      As for the competitions, they are massively appreciated. I still come on here regardless of whether you’re running any or not, I had no idea you funded some of them from ur own pocket either.

  4. Why thank you for letting us have a great time on TSA. And pleeeaaasseeee have some competitions open to us non-UK members.

  5. I love TSA! The effort and balanced views from you guys are literally second to none. Long live TSA :-)

    • Same here! Also great generosity to fund some of the competitions yourself. Appreciate the huge effort you all put in. :)

  6. True gent, sir your an inspiration and a gem in the community. Don’t think anything less

  7. As always Peter there is a fantastic community here to provide you with all the well deserved therapy you may need.

  8. I guess I know more than most that this week was rough. Very rough at one point…

    Nothing more to say on that one, but onwards the site goes… :)

  9. Cheers Teflon, if these competitions dwindle we know who to blame.

  10. Oh, seeing as we are your therapists, that will be *puts little finger up to his lip* One Million pounds. :p

    You didn’t let anyone down Peter, you could have easily said”feck it” and then walk away but you didn’t. You made sure that TSA had content. :-)

    The commuinty is one of the reasons why i visit TSA on a daily basis(and press F5 every few minutes). Plus you may be very happy tommorrow. ;-) I suspect Kris will send you a cake in the post.

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