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To leave or not leave roleplaying


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I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to write this as clearly as I want to, but I'm going to give it a go and we'll see what I end up with.

 

I started roleplaying years and years back, and when I first started I loved it. I posted often, I replied quickly and I had a blast. Yet at some point (years back, I can't pinpoint exactly when) something changed.

 

My replies slowed down, my interest waned and I started disappearing off sites. I never did that before. But suddenly I'd find myself joining, I'd post character profiles (sometimes I'd even get to the point of making several characters) and I'd join plots and roleplay threads and I'd really enjoy myself... And yet somehow, that's where it'd stop. I'd think "oh, I should reply to x" and I'd mean to yet once I got home/somewhere I could do that I'd find myself either not going to the place where I could reply or going there then putting the computer/whatever down and ending up watching TV instead. And what was supposed to be a one day break suddenly stretched out for days, then weeks and suddenly I'd realise that heck, I just pulled a vanishing act.

 

Now, in part because I know someone will point it out and because I know it happened; like anyone else I've experienced life changes that change the amount of time you have for anything, as well as experiences that leave you drained and unable to have anything left over when the day's out. I'm not going to go into specifics, but yes, some of the lowest RP lows I had did happen as something else was happening in my RL that just blew things up. And some happened when RL just got hectic.

 

That in of itself is both natural and part of life. So that's not really what I'm here for. What I'm here for is the aftermath. The part that comes once whatever storm swept through your life is mostly gone and you start to see the outline of normal again.

 

Because in theory that should be the time when you start being able to do the things you like again, right? Whether that's coming back to an old place or starting fresh.

 

Yet, I still do it. I don't want to admit to that (and admitting it on a board with plenty of admins, some whose boards I've been a member of, feels like the height of stupidity) but I do.

 

So, the question I'm asking is: what do you do about it? Can you do anything about it?

 

I've had some thoughts about my specific situation so I guess I can start with those;

  • What if I've just fallen out of love with RP? I mean, I started almost two decades ago, it wouldn't be completely out of the realm of possibility.
    However, despite having year long breaks between roleplaying I still come back to it. I keep seeking out something. There's something to writing with others that engages me and excites me.
     
  • What if I just can't let go because I have been doing it for so long and don't want to because it feels like a break-up of sorts?
    This is a weird one, but yeah, I do have a hard time letting go of things, yet, the fact that roleplay and plotting still makes me excited doesn't (for me) completely align with the idea that I "can't let go". Not to mention I've let go of far worse things in life.
     
  • What if I just need a gigantic kick in the butt to get my act in order?
    Who knows, maybe I'm still giving myself breaks despite the fact that these days the things that were reasonable excuses to take breaks from are no longer existing and therefore I'm just letting myself get away with things my younger self wouldn't have?
     
  • What if, along the way of taking breaks and life changing, I forgot the routines and methods my younger self had for sitting down and churning out posts? That I somehow expect it to "just happen" now when my younger self "made it happen"`?
    This one is the one I probably feel the most attacked by, because although I don't think my younger self necessarily thought "oh, after I'm done with homework I'll get on the computer and I'll reply to threads between this and that hour" I do know that (in part because of there being less distractions) one of the things that made me go onto the computer in the first place was the fact that I was going to respond to something.
     

Although I'm using myself as the example (kind of difficult not to given the context and all) you don't have to direct any answers specifically at me or with me in mind. These are just some thoughts that I've toyed with when it comes to this.

 

At the end of the day, I'd just really like to stop this cycle one way or another, even if that is ultimately deciding to quit RP (if not forever then for a very long time) because this cycle of coming back to missing it and wanting it yet also doing the cycle of joining and leaving is not one I'm enjoying. I'd really like to get off that particular ride and either get onto another or leave the amusement park for a bit. So what I'm looking for is a combination of other people's experiences, advice and maybe some insight into what other people do to keep from falling into this hugely unamusing cycle.

 

Also apologies for the very long post, I'd give you a TL;DR but... I don't want to so you'll get an apology for the wall of text and a thank you for reading it!

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Hello, i disappeared from a lot of sites, because my interest of RPing disappeared completely, it is hard, for me, to find someone that is truly invested in their roles, the plot, it is even more harder to not finding anyone that is able to have a decent attitude towards people,

 

let's face it, i am tired to be a tool for anyone fan-fiction too, i can repeat it, but i didn't meet any comprehensible people about it.

 

as i said in some communities, i take a break from roleplaying, but i'm still available for discussions.

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6 hours ago, Vildea said:

And yet somehow, that's where it'd stop. I'd think "oh, I should reply to x" and I'd mean to yet once I got home/somewhere I could do that I'd find myself either not going to the place where I could reply or going there then putting the computer/whatever down and ending up watching TV instead. And what was supposed to be a one day break suddenly stretched out for days, then weeks and suddenly I'd realise that heck, I just pulled a vanishing act.

 

This jumps out as you say that things are settling down, and so I presume that you're in the 'rebuilding what's normal' stage of life?

 

Do you think it's fair to suggest that the problem could be as droll as discipline needing to be reestablished? (Well, that's the upshot of one of your thoughts!) I assume you're working (always the chance of kids too) so I don't think you should stress yourself with adding a daily set task, even if that task is a hobby. But maybe say, on two set days a week I will set aside X amount of time to RP at X o'clock.

 

If a chunk of time isn't feasible, maybe start using Google docs to let you peck away at your replies as the mood strikes. It has the added advantage of being easily accessible on your phone. That way, you're removing barriers to write, and adding something to do during down time at work or when you're out and about and waiting for someone or something.

 

Also, just checking, do you feel like something indefinable is missing from roleplay?

Edited by Kit the Human
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I have been contemplating leaving RPGs too. In my case, it's a lack of time, a beginning of depression licking at me, and if I am writing, I need first to focus on my novels. But people are still active on my site, so... I can't leave them. I am still there, intermitently...

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I've been there, OP. It wasn't a good time although these are some questions that I wish I asked myself at the time. Everyone brought up excellent points. 

 

  • Are the posts too long? Sometimes when you aren't feeling well, writing longer posts can be harder to write especially if you're going through a rough patch. 
  • Have your RP ethics changed? Sometimes when you're on a site with a culture that no longer works for you it can be a struggle. 
  • Is there anything about RP that exhausts you? What things are they? And how best can you limit the chances of these happening for yourself. 
  • I like @Kit the Human's ideas about making time to post to get back into the habit of posting again. 
  • @Somniacalso brought up a good point, too. 

That is about all that I have for now. 

 

Hope it helps. 

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I've been here more times than I care to admit. I have taken long hiatuses/breaks from RP, actually. I even sort of fell away from places like this. I just... couldn't handle anything about role-play anymore for a while so I distanced myself from it. However, every time I'm sure this is the last time I'm going to roleplay and I go on a break, something ends up pulling me back in. 

 

But I hear you, OP. As time goes on, I become less invested for whatever reason. Things that I absolutely LOVED about roleplay suddenly aggravate me. People I love to RP with start to push my anxiety buttons without meaning to. I start distancing myself, avoiding RP and doing other things, anything else as long as it's not RP. Watch movies, read books, play video games. Whatever else. 

 

I always come back, though. The interest that waned comes back as I start to get a foothold back in the scene but the problem is, some of my partners lose interest after I do and it becomes difficult to find ourselves back in the same place rp-wise. And I understand that too because I lose interest after so long with some of my threads, too. Like... if it takes a month to get a reply, I get bored and end up closing the thread because I'd rather hand-wave what happened next and move the character on to something else. 

 

Anyway, I think the people before me gave you a lot of great advice. Maybe if you have a system, you'll get back into the swing of things again. If not, then go ahead and take your long (maybe even permanent) break. It always feels bittersweet to come to an end of an era but life is made up of those. It might be time to open up to a new era for you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

my laptop crashed as i first was writing this, but i really wanted to reply because i've been in your exact same place recently and i want to share exactly what happenjust ed with me, and my process for figuring it all out. so first...

 

I REALIZED:

  • i was burned out on the type of sites i was joining. real life just wasn't my bag anymore, but because i'd nade friends who made and wrote almost exclusively on those sites, i kept joining them. 
  • my energy levels changed because of work and other responsibilities. this took the longest to figure out. i got a job and went to school at the same time and whenever i tried to make time to post, i just didn't feel like it. work exhausted me to the point where i just wanted to chill for a few hours before hitting the hay.
  • my priorities changed. i still loved rping, but i was growing less fond of sitting in front of the computer post-volleying all day. i had more hobbies and interests that i wanted to focus on, which is hard since i'm a very one-track minded person.
  • my plots and writing just weren't inspiring me anymore. i didn't have the kind of excitement that i used to for my characters and threads, and that made posting feel like a chore.

like you, i thought i was done rping. i had solo projects to focus on, and because i didn't really have anything i wanted to roleplay, i was fine with just focusing on them. but then i realized i still had ideas that were best-suited to roleplay, and i wanted to explore them. that meant evaluating who i was as a roleplayer and what exactly i wanted from my writing.

 

MY SOLUTIONS:

  • i started joining sites that i usually wouldn't. when i wrote on a supernatural creature site, my muse blew up and i had a character that i fell in love with. i was exploring themes and ideas i never got to on a real life site, and that just made me excited to write everything i could. so my suggestion is to just write outside of your usual genres.
  • i set aside time for posting. i'm never going to have as much time to post as i used to. i have maybe a couple hours, if that, each day to post. i set an alarm and say "i'll write three posts at least." if i don't write all those posts, i won't beat myself up over it, but it works for me to have a set goal every day to meet. i had to start treating writing like a responsibility, otherwise i'd keep putting it off.
  • i stopped making characters to fill out ratios or flesh out the site more and instead got a little more self-indulgent. if a site didn't have enough humans? i tended to make a human, but a lot of the time those characters just weren't fleshed out enough for me to treat as anything but site fodder. so instead of feeling like i have to do that, i made sure i was writing characters i was actually interested in.
  • accept that it's not gonna be how it used to be. i'm not in high school, able to sit down and chat all night. i have a lot of real life responsibilities and it stings a little to realize, but i'm not gonna have the same feelings toward rping as i used to. 

this is only what happened to me, and might not apply to you, but i figured it might be helpful seeing this. i think the biggest takeaway is to stop trying to reclaim or figure out how to get back to the point you were before, because that's very likely not going to happen. and it's not a bad thing. i recently opened a site that i absolutely love, that i took a while building because of my busy schedule, and i can't be on it all day, all of the time. but it feels like a place that i can wind down on and not really worry about much, because i have a community of people who are the same, with responsibilities and interests and limited time outside of rp.

 

a break is sometimes the best thing you can do, and it doesn't necessarily mean leaving rp completely. you can always come back. i, personally, needed the time away to reevaluate things and see clearly why i was joining sites and flaking soon after and why my interest felt like it was waning.

 

i really hope you figure it out and whatever decision you come to, it's one that makes you happy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been in that exact same place many times. I did walk away. I did take breaks and when I came back I kept feeling more and more like I didn't fit into places. I went to places that were toxic for me because "friends" were on those sites. It was harder and harder for me to find a muse. Over time though, I built my own forum. I learned which were the toxic friends and dropped them. I got relaxed on my forum because everyone has those times. It's taken a long time but I've had patience. I love where I am now. The folks that I share the forum with are absolutely amazing and great friends. We enjoy our time because we all understand that everyone has a life outside the box. I found my love for it again through this one little forum that I did for me. Everyone is different and sometimes it takes making hard choices to find what you love again. If you make changes and still don't love it? Then simply walk away and come back when you're in a better place. Keep trying when you have the mind for it to do what makes you the most happy. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about. What makes us happy.

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