Balancing RL and RP

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Balancing roleplay and real life can be perilously difficult for some roleplayers. You’re already in school and you’ve got extracurricular activites, along with real life friends — sometimes it may seem impossible to keep up with your roleplaying posts. There are a few things you can do to make your life easier, though.

Techniques for Balancing Roleplaying and Real Life

Use RPG Post Logs

Using a post log to keep track of your RPG threads can be a really good way to help yourself stay on top of roleplaying. Post logs provide a handy overview of your currently active threads, who needs to reply, and so forth. You can either build your own post log customized to your exact needs — or use one of the a pre-existing post log templates.

Stop Using RPG Post Templates

If you change your roleplay templates and avatars more often than your underwear, stop. Find something you really like and stick with it for your avatar, and scrap templates altogether for the meantime. You fighting with code, finding the template, previewing and previewing to make it right — no, that is a big waste of time! This time can be better spent actually roleplaying.

Roleplaying Post Schedule

Set aside an hour a day for posting. Don’t aim to get through all of your posts — just use that hour for posting. Don’t hang out on Facebook or post in the OOC areas of your forum — just post! You may be surprised how effective this technique can be.

Take Fewer RPG Responsibilities

Drop down on the number of RPGs, characters, or RP responsibilities you have. It always stinks to walk away from something — but it’s better to know your limits and walk away than to be removed from a game for inactivity. It reflects better on you if you know (and adhere to) your own time limitations. Make sure you communicate with the roleplayers involved in your character’s threads before you go, and you’ll likely come back to a warm welcome. Leave everyone hanging, and don’t be so surprised if a few people are frosty!

At your current RPGs, if there’s anything you spend a lot of time doing that is “extracurricular” in nature (i.e., hanging out in an art forum, editing the Wiki) cut down or cut it out. You can return to these hobbies of roleplay later, when time permits.

Another option is to try roleplaying with shorter posts. For many roleplayers, writing a lot in a long post is the aim. However, you can try a little experiment — try to write only 200 words (and no more) for each of your posts. An exercise in brevity is a great writing experiment that can also help you write more posts in less time.

You can also try finding and joining a less intense roleplaying game. You might benefit from something low responsibility. If you’re not expected to be online every day or even every week, it will be much easier for you to keep up with your roleplaying.

Handwriting Your Roleplaying Posts

If you find yourself with a lot of free time in which you are not in front of a computer, write posts out. Yes — write your roleplay posts on paper and type the reply later. Hand-writing is great during downtime — for example: during lunch at school or on the long train ride home). If you want to really bust out some posts, try carrying around a small notebook with you. Anytime you have a few minutes you can scrawl a few lines of a post — hopefully, this will add up to several posts by the end of the day!

You can print out roleplaying posts or even entire threads. If you have a smartphone, you can probably access your RPG on the phone instead. Be careful of huge data charges, though. Make sure you find out if your data plan is unlimited.

Remember, It’s Not Forever

It’s important to emphasize that any of the above techniques can be employed in the short term. You probably won’t need to do these things forever, after all. They can be a short-term solution to your activity woes. Later, when you have time — you can go back to typing all your posts, keeping up with roleplay “hobbies,” and joining different games.

Don’t get disheartened or think you have to “quit roleplay forever” because you have less time. If you’re really struggling and you don’t want to roleplay anymore, that’s understandable! On the other hand, if you do genuinely enjoy roleplay and want to continue, there are ways to make time and optimize the time you have.

Real Life is More Important than Roleplay

You should never neglect your real life responsibilities, sleep, or your real social life for the Internet and its communities, no matter how fun it may seem. People can become addicted to all manner of things, and Internet addiction is one very real possibility.

If you’re having severe trouble balancing your real life and your online life, talk to someone — a guidance counselor, parent, or close friend may be able to help. You can also, in dire circumstances, ask the administration to ban you from the roleplay. This will prevent you from ever returning!