Are We Loosing Our Creative Breathing Room?

Technology allows us to deliver content and spectacular speeds to an audience of ready fans.  We writers can get our eBooks out faster than anyone in publishing dreaded of a decade ago.  Those of us in gaming can get out a game in parts, or keep the DLC flowing until a game's sequel comes out.  Musicians can deliver one tune at a time until the DVD burns or concert season comes up.

We can keep delivering content all the time.  There can be almost no gap between one product than the next – in the case of novels, with continual e-chapters, it never has to end.

I'm wondering if this is a good idea, or if at the very least it'll be hard to adapt to:

  • In a realm of constant delivery, where's the time to rest?  If your game is coming out in pieces, or as packs of DLC, when do you step back?  When your novel is a continuing series of eNovelas when do you take a break?  I'm concerned getting used to a constant media flow means less breaks for the media geeks who need it.
  • When is there a time to fix things?  When do you make that game patch, release that novella that ties up plot threads you forgott, patch the software, etc.?
  • When is there a chance to truly innovate?  Maybe your next game could have radically different mechanics, but you're stuck making expansion packs of the old one.  Maybe you want to try something new with your writing, but you're too busy meeting expectations you set ages (and half the series) back?
  • When do you get the chance to well . . . do anything?  I can easily see some kinds of content delivery getting so regular, so "in chunks" that producers and writers and the like forget other issues about the business.  Speed could become such an issue all else would fall behind.

So I'm getting a bit cynical, progeek that I am, that all this speed is good for us in media production.  Some of it is good, some of the changes are great.  But I'm thinking it's got its downsides, and those of us in media production – or who want to be – need to pay attention.

Steven Savage