Releasing a Tiny Game and Trying to Get Paid

Game, Politics, Rambles, Uncategorized

Raik Money


Raik is a text-based game I released in December 2015. It’s a Scots fantasia about anxiety. I work professionally mostly in theatre and poetry, but I do quite a bit of crossover work in games (mostly physical, public and other non-digital forms of games). I was interested to find out how well the self-producing strategies I’ve learned in other artforms could work in games, so I decided to do something like a commercial release: hiring an illustrator to give it a good cover, sending out press packs to try and get coverage, asking people to pay for the game. There’s a creatively thriving sector of independent games, working from obscure artgame-makers to quite wealthy full-time indie studios (a bit like so-called independent music, really), and I wanted to dip my toe in. Six months down the line, I thought it might be useful to share what I’ve learned with other very small-scale game-makers. I’m obsessed by how money works and how it interacts with the arts – partly because I’m trying to make a living, and partly because I think that if you don’t learn how to make the obscene money-system work for you then you’ll end up working for it. I love tiny games and small-scale makers, so I hope what I’ve learned helps you out.

How I Did Publicity

My game is not exactly a commercial heavy-hitter. It’s only 30 minutes long; it’s text-only; half of it is written in an obscure European language; and it’s about mental health and fantasy. Going into this, I knew that sales and coverage weren’t going to by high – instead, I needed to trade on the unique aspects of the game. I billed it extensively as “the first game in Scots”, hoping that that would be enough to grab interest in people’s inboxes, pulling them in with a discussion about the game’s themes. I commissioned an illustrator (Kitt Byrne) to do some lovely cover art, which would grab better attention on social media feeds (I think this was the best commercial decision I made, but I also love the result). And as well as selling it as an unusual game to the indie games community, I sold it as an unusual way to do poetry and Scots to the literary community.

I asked professional games friends for their advice on marketing a game, and also Googled “how to sell a game” a lot. The blogs I found most useful were Chris Priestman, Kieron Gillen and Retro Remakes. I made a very simple two-page presskit with details about the game, me, and Scots. I then made a list of every games journalist and website I thought might be interested, gouging this (out of date) list of websites from Pixel Prospector, Googling, and asking friends for good contacts. In each case, I wrote down some notes about why I thought my game might appeal to them in particular, so that I could personalise each email. Emailing people about my work is my least favourite job in all of the arts, and the one I’m worst at, and the one that has the highest mental cost for me, so I set aside two days to do this and made sure I had plenty of chocolate on hand. I sent around 30 emails, most of which did not get a reply, but two of these emails led directly to my two biggest pieces of coverage.

I decided to extend the experiment and release the game under a “Trust System Sliding Scale Pricing”. In my performance work, I do a lot of “Pay-What-You-Decide” gigs, because I like how accessible they are, and I find that I often get a larger audience and the same size of income as when I set a specific ticket price. In games, I’m a total unknown, so I thought that people were unlikely to download my game unless they could get it free or cheap, and I also like spreading a bit of consciousness about the economics of art. After a preamble about trying to make a living from my art, I wrote, “I’ve set £4 as a rough price for this game based on a triangulation of how long it took me, how much I hope to sell, how experienced I am, how the art market functions, how much I think folk are willing to pay, and sheer guesswork. (Mostly guesswork.) If you’re earning an average wage (UK: c£26k) then pay me that. If you’re earning more, pay me more. If you’re earning less, pay me less. If you’re earning less than the Living Wage (UK: c£16k) then don’t pay me anything, and I hope you enjoy the game. This system isn’t policed, and if you’ve got a better idea of how artists should make a living (I hope you do!) then pay whatever you think is right.”

Then I launched the game! This involved posting release notices on relevant forums, and doing a lot of tweeting and Facebooking for a few days. I didn’t directly ask friends to tweet about it for me (which I think is a totally reasonable thing to do, but I make a lot of art and don’t want to have to do this constantly, so I save up my asks for when I really need it), but lots of them did anyway, which was nice. Then I sat back and waited to get rich.

How Coverage Went

Because I had a pretty unique game, and because I did a halfway competent job of publicity, I got far more coverage for the game than I expected. I was covered in Rock Paper Shotgun and PC Gamer in their indie games round-ups, got a small feature on (which led to a lot of reposts from various reblogging websites and Twitter accounts), and had a big interview and feature video on Eurogamer. The Twitter and Facebook launch went exceptionally well, getting more interest than most of my publicity for theatre and poetry shows (I didn’t keep track of clicks and website visits though, whoops), with a few prominent games figures and journalists giving shout-outs to the game. This felt great!

On the other hand, most of the coverage referred to Raik as a “free game”. There’s an existing infrastructure for “free games”, and trying to get across the messaging that actually it was on a Trust System Sliding Scale price was too much to get into major games platforms. This is a shame, but I also could have foreseen it.

How Sales Went

Raik has been downloaded 861 times, and paid for 46 times.

I was not actually expecting to get rich. I was hoping to cover my costs and get a bit extra on top. I’ve made £206 and 50 pence (about $300 American money). That covers the illustration commission, but on top of that it does not even pay for a single professional day of press and publicity work, let alone the weeks I spent writing it.

On the other hand, that is twice the number of downloads I was aiming for: the game, and thus my wider work, got much wider coverage than I expected. More people have read my work than would have happened if I’d done this without putting serious publicity work in, and that feels good.

Here’s the graph of visits and views to the game’s page on Itch:


This is exactly the graph you’d expect: a big spike of interest followed by a long tail-off. The tail dwindled to 20 views a day by the end of March, 10 views a fay by the end of April, and is now down at 5. For what it’s worth, visitors referred from were more likely to pay for the game than Rock Paper Shotgun, though the game was billed as primarily free on both sites: I don’t know why, and maybe this is within the margin of error. I didn’t keep accurate records, but from memory folk in launch week were as likely to be referred by social media as from one of these sites; in the long tail, folk are as likely to be referred by my professional website as by the archives of indie games sites, but those sites still do provide a decent number of clicks.

What I Learned

Trying to make money from a tiny game when you’re a complete unknown is a silly idea. If you want to make money from small games or artgames, you need to expect to spend years building up skills and reputation. This is the same as in the other artforms I work in.

That said, games is a bit more financially brutal than either theatre or poetry, which is funny, because poetry is already financially brutal. It is harder to get people to pay for games than for any other artform I work in. I could make more money for less work elsewhere. That said, in both theatre and poetry most of my money comes not from sales but from commissions and public funding: trying to make a living off sales in any small-scale artform is a mug’s game.

However, even if you’re extremely small-scale then treating your game professionally – making a presskit, doing professional publicity work – is actually worth it, and if your game is good or interesting enough it can lead to more attention for your work. I only spent 2-3 working days on publicity in total, and I’m glad I did.

A significant proportion of the people who actually paid for my game were people who already had an existing relationship with my work: they’d come to a show, or bought a book, or we were part of the same artistic community in some way. If people had a social connection to me, they were more likely to pay attention to my pricing model; most people felt free to ignore it.

That said, from talking to friends who’ve released similar-scale games on a “voluntary donation” model rather than a “trust system sliding scale” model, I think I got a better sold:downloaded ratio than I would have done if I’d just shaken a tip jar. It’s a bit galling to see so many people just ignore your text about pricing, but it might be worth it just to get a little extra cash and spread a little awareness about money.

I don’t think the game would have done so well if I didn’t already have a decent career in theatre and poetry: it meant I had an existing audience to market a new artform too. Leveraging all existing connections and communities was well worth it.

I could have done a lot more work. I have a tendency to just move on from a project after launch week – I don’t look after the long tail of sales, I don’t do lots of extra plugs and promotions later on, I didn’t in this case use the initial press I got to try and leverage extra press. This is because I find marketing miserable and gruelling: every day I spend doing this is a day I’m not actually making art (or writing funding applications, which is where I can actually make money), and whittles down my desire to make art a bit further. I wasn’t actually out to make money on this, but to learn: if I’d worked harder on sales, I could have sold a bit more. Maybe. But there would definitely have been diminishing returns. In theatre, I’m moving away from self-producing and towards working with professionals to do my sales and marketing for me, because I’m currently hiring a substandard employee (me). When I next do a game on a significant scale, I might do the same.

How I Feel About All This

I feel great! This post may sound cynical and mercenary, but that’s just because I’m letting my money brain out of the box for a while, to try and share learning with you. I had a great time making the game, I’m proud of the result, and it got much better coverage and playership than I expected. I’ve learned a lot that I can build on next time.

That said, if I was wanted to make my living primarily from games, I’d feel terrible. Essentially, I was able to subsidise my work on Raik through my other artistic work; if I wasn’t making a living from that, I would have been subsidising Raik through waitressing (or environmental management, which is what I actually did before going full-time artist). Games is a harder market than I expected, and at the small-scale end of things, it looks to be getting harder. It’s not just tiny makers like me who find it hard to make a buck, but also significant professional independent studios.

I can only make a living as an artist because of public funding. The majority of my income comes not from sales but from grants or via charities and institutions who hire me or commission me and who are themselves largely publicly-funded. I’m doing OK (I’m going to be writing up some more details of this soon), but even then I find the freelance hustle exhausting and not always conducive to good work: I’m actually escaping it for a while into the arms of academia, having successfully nabbed government funding to do a creative writing PhD for three years. If I were in a country (like America) where public funding is very scarce, or an industry (like games) where public funding is very scarce, I don’t know how I’d survive. I think the huge success of games at the mega-commercial scale makes it harder to advocate for public funding for games: I see this in theatre, even, where the success of West End musicals is used as a hammer to hit the subsidised sector, despite the vast majority of West End actors spending large sections of their career also in the subsidised sector.

It seems to me a miracle that artgames have been such a creative success so far. We have a huge wealth of cultural creation that is having an increasingly significant impact on the public imagination. I don’t know if that can keep going. My sense is that more and more game-makers are getting disillusioned, and that enthusiasm for artgames is decreasing (or at least hitting blunt reality) even as commercial games seem to make more and more money. I’m not sure what comes next. Art always seems to find a way, because it’s so central to human living – but who’s making that art, and how, and whether they can live: those are harder questions.


My favourite essay on how to make a buck from art is Why Your Music Is Worthless (And How To Sell It Anyway) by the Indelicates. They’re in music, another arts sector which has sod-all public funding and so has to find a way to live off sales, but their thinking applies very widely. Read it!

Post-Explodem: I Blew Up the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Politics, Rambles, Theatre, Video

Harry Giles, 'I Want to Blow Up the Palace of Holyroodhouse', SPILL Festival of Performance 2014, photo (c) Guido Mencari. For the past year I’ve been researching and performing ideas about terrorism, art, civil liberties, free speech and rage under the banner I Want to Blow Up the Palace of Holyroodhouse. On November 1st 2014, at the SPILL Festival of Performance, it all came to a climax: I built a large model of the palace from cardboard and glitter, and then exploded it for a live audience. Sort of. In the event, as Lyn Gardner wrote, it “went with less of a bang than a genteel pop” and needed the help of a mob of angry hands and feet to finish it off. The possible failure of the bang (and its definite futility) were part of the project from the start, after all. You can watch a short video of the speech and explosion below; this post is a write-up of the year’s work, a post-explodem of the project, with words about what will happen next.

(video: a brief speech about the explosion, and the explosion, and the destruction of the cardboard city)

I’ve told the story so many times I’ve started to stop believing it, but it is still true: I cycle past the Palace of Holyroodhouse most days, and it makes me furious. It’s a symbol of the UK’s still-living feudalism, it’s a vast private estate in the centre of the city in close proximity to poverty, and it’s a centre of authoritarian power. But my anger is completely out of proportion to its status: something that’s built over time, that’s personal, that’s absurd, and that sometimes feels impossible to deal with. I started having fantasies about destroying the building — the most recurring one involving hiring a bulldozer, driving into the walls and seeing how far I’d get — and inevitably those began to involve the iconic idea of blowing it up.

But my anger is out of proportion, and it’s not worth dying or going to prison for, and maybe it would be better just to convert the palace into social housing, and I’m an artist, so: instead of becoming a terrorist, I decided to build a model of the palace and blow that up instead, in the name of art. This turned out to be harder than I thought. My first discovery was that it’s illegal to actually talk about blowing up the palace: under counter-terrorism legislation, it is illegal in the UK to make any statements which encourage or glorify terrorism, and also to recklessly make any statements which might indirectly encourage or glorify terrorism. Worse, it is illegal to access and possess information which could be used to commit acts of terrorism, unless you can prove that you have it for purposes other than terrorism. That means that not only could I not talk about actually blowing up the palace, but that I couldn’t gather information for blowing up a model palace unless I could prove that I was using it for artistic model purposes only.

So I decided to do all my research in public places, afterwards logging every site I visited and what my conclusions were. This was simultaneously a self-protection measure (honest, guv, I’ve nothing to hide!) and a way of absurdly satirising the surveillance state, especially in the age of social media: we are all surveilling each other, and we are all constantly under the eye of authoritarian surveillance. I wanted to taunt that state, to walk as close to its lines as I could without getting in too much trouble. In this, as with the blowing up itself, I am an incurably adolescent artist: I love thumbing my nose. But this was also just a good excuse for Doing Art in public: I like having public conversations, I like putting difficult ideas in public spaces and making them accessible.

The project hit its first major hurdle when the police actually came to visit. I’ve had enough interactions with the police that I wasn’t horrible spooked, but it was unpleasant and invasive nonetheless. And while previously I had been thumbing my nose at an imagined eye in the sky, now I knew I was actually being watched, and that I had to be properly careful. I’d also, after three public-research-performances, got a little weary of the idea: having done it three times (and always unpaid), did I still have a new point to make? Didn’t I just want to get on with making a bang? So the result of the police coming to visit is that I finished the research phase of the project in private. They may still have been watching (it’s not paranoia when they tell you they’re doing it), but I was no longer writing semi-ironic posts about explosives google searches. Instead, I teamed up with a retired fireworks engineer named Nigel Marsh to figure out how to blow up a big cardboard box in a suitably dramatic way. Doing it with someone more experienced made it far more likely to succeed, and doing it in private meant that I was much less likely to have someone turn up and tell me I wasn’t allowed to do it any more.

In retrospect, I’m sad that I didn’t push the public research component even further — it would have been interestingly risky and exciting to extensively document Nigel’s and my experiments, and it would have made an even bigger point if we got stopped — but on the other hand, bringing someone else into it required different considerations, and I’m glad we were able to make some bangs. I’m especially glad, because in September, very suddenly,  Nigel had passed away after his cancer returned. I was shocked and saddened — he was an extraordinary man — and deeply sorry that he wouldn’t be there to witness the final explosion. This performance is dedicated to him.

(video: nigel and me figuring out how to make the right size of bang)

For the record, here’s the method Nigel figured out with me: a much more stable and lower explosive variation on the bin bag bomb. We filled a three foot diameter latex balloon with household propane and oxygen in a 1:3.5 ratio, and detonated it with a long black powder fuse rigged to be more dramatically slow-burning. I absolutely genuinely do not recommend in any way trying this at home. Please don’t. And don’t take my recipe as accurate. Get a professional. Nigel had been blowing things up most of his life and knew what he was doing, and also we were way out in the countryside and just scared some cows and birds.  And for the record, DC C_____ and DS C_____, it is completely impossible to blow up the actual Palace of Holyroodhouse by inflating an enormous balloon with propane and oxygen and detonating it, so I won’t be publishing any calculations on how to do that. And I’m not encouraging anyone to take even a small explosive balloon inside to damage one of those lovely rooms. And, as always, I neither condone nor encourage the actual blowing up of actual public buildings, and will not be sharing my research with anyone who does in an encouraging way.

I have to say that last bit to stay on the right side of the law. This is a little frustrating, because I would like to have conversations with people about the history of propaganda by the deed, about why some political organisations blow up buildings, about how that’s what Nelson Mandela was in part imprisoned for, about why some people might think it’s a valid and useful tactic in some campaigns, but that it’s also been historically used by far-right groups, and that it scares me, and that I don’t know how to talk about it properly, and that I can’t talk about it properly because it’s against the law to talk about it in a direct and personal way. “I want to blow up buildings” is something I’ve said and I think is just on the right side of the law, but if I were to say “I think we should blow up buildings” that would definitely be illegal (so I am categorically not saying it).

I want to have these conversations, but as well as it being hard to have them, I’m not sure I have the right to have them. I grew up somewhere where there was no political violence (or rather, where all the political violence is perpetrated by the state on people who don’t look like me and who are mostly far away). “Blowing things up” means something different to me than to my friends from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, for a start; it means something different to all sorts of people from all sorts of places, and I wouldn’t be surprised if me talking so flippantly about it rubbed some of them up the wrong way. It probably ought to. My ability to do this comes from a place of privilege. I wanted to have a public conversation about rage and political violence , and for me one of the ways into that — one of the ways of making it more palatable to more people — was to dress it up in humour and cardboard and glitter.

But by the very act of making it accessible, I also risked not taking it seriously. All this was in my mind as I tried to find a home for the actual explosion. I was determined to do it at an official, funded performance festival — in part because I’m a working artist and need to get paid sometimes, but mainly because I wanted that official approval. This project was in part about art and the futility of art, and for those themes to be in depth I needed it to happen somewhere where it officially looked like art. All my fears about the police and seriousness and practicality were compounded when the project got rejection after rejection — more rejections than I’ve had for any other project, I think. I’m sure many of the festivals just didn’t like it (which is totally fine) but more than once the language of “this isn’t quite for us” indicated that it was just hard to find someone who would let me do an actual explosion (which is also reasonable). I was pretty despairing about the project, worrying that I’d spent six months barking up a ludicrous tree, when SPILL finally got back to me and said yes. I was delighted. I needed the context artistically, but sometimes a leg-up just feels good.

Harry Giles, 'I Want to Blow Up the Palace of Holyroodhouse', SPILL Festival of Performance 2014, photo (c) Guido Mencari.

I couldn’t have hoped for a better producer or for better support than SPILL. They were extraordinary in general, but two things were particularly delightful: they got Ipswich Borough Council to approve my explosives plan, and they secured a decommissioned police station for me to do it in. My gas canisters were kept in a former police dog kennel, and I built my cardboard model in a former interview and search room. Thanks to this, the project gained whole new layers of meaning: it had the official art context, but it also had municipal approval, and it also got to rudely repurpose a former hive of cops. The project was naughty enough to get police attention and to seem hilarious to perform in a police station, but nice enough to get the council and festival green light: exactly the line I was trying to walk.

Derrick Jensen wrote “Every morning when I awake I ask myself whether I should write or blow up a dam. I tell myself I should keep writing, though I’m not sure that’s right”, and that’s been a guiding quotation for this project. Why do I make art about blowing things up rather than actually blowing things up? (Of course, “I don’t condone or encourage actually blowing things up.”) More broadly: Why do I make political art more often than I engage in political action? More personally: Why can’t I find the motivation to do direct action as much as I used to, and am I always going to feel guilty about doing art instead? More abstractly: Why does art feel like such a cheap substitute for politics sometimes, and such a brilliant form of politics at other times? All of this is compounded by doing officially-sanctioned political art: I want to make risky performance, but if it’s approved by a Borough Council, can it truly be that risky? Does the fact of doing something which can get public funding mean that it’s not actually worth doing, politically? Is I Want to Blow Up the Palace of Holyroodhouse actually a form of radical politics, or is it just the image of radical politics projected onto a cardboard model? I’m happy to have been able to ask these questions, and asking them makes me feel less worried about them. (Which may in itself be a problem.)

As well as building my palace at SPILL, I spent three days inviting people to make cardboard models of buildings that made them angry — models that were also scheduled for demolition in the climactic event. I encouraged everyone to cover the things they hate in glitter, and asked them pointed questions about what it all meant. “Why are you angry at this building?” and “How will it feel to destroy it?” were good starters, but the best question was always “So, do you actually want to blow up the building this building, or just the symbol of it?” The question caught most people off guard, as if they hadn’t realised that blowing up actual buildings was an option. And they had to think about this question more than any of the others. Again the question of accessibility-vs-seriousness arose: I created a space where we got to have fun and have difficult conversations, but it was very hard to balance both. I think I erred too far on the side of fun throughout, and should have pushed people for more conversation as we played with crepe paper and glue. Finding ways to structure those conversations is important for me to figure out.

Harry Giles, 'I Want to Blow Up the Palace of Holyroodhouse', SPILL Festival of Performance 2014, photo (c) Guido Mencari.

And then there was the bang, or the pop. I spent an hour setting up the building, the cardboard city around it, and rigging the explosion. People started to gather. It was a completely new sort of performance for me, and I hadn’t realised I was going to do it: normally I’m a host, a talker, an extroverted performer, but here was an audience primed to watch people do strange thing in silence, and I was rigging a pink balloon explosion in a glitter city. I had ear protectors round my neck and goggles on my forehead; it was great fun. I gave a speech, setting the context, and I lit the fuse.

I don’t know exactly what went wrong. It was supposed to go more bang than it did, and I repeated the method I’d practiced with. I suspect that at one stage too much propane leaked out of the balloon, or that otherwise the propane:oxygen ratio went out of whack. The walls of the palace shook, but remained standing. As planned, to finish the job, the audience rushed in to tear everything to pieces instead. I can’t say I’m not a little disappointed. To see my beautiful horrible palace ripped to shreds by an explosion would have been extraordinarily cathartic. But that it took our hands to destroy it is still hugely in keeping with the ideas of the project: I refuse to call it a failure or apologise for it, or rather, the kind of failure we performed was itself a riotous success. Because the actual Palace of Holyroodhouse is still standing, and it hasn’t been converted into social housing, and one symbolic performance can’t change that. Unless, somehow, it can. Thinking about this, but talking about another project, I wrote this to a friend:

I’m not interested in all types of political failure, and I don’t want to fetishise failure in a world of suffering. But I do want to talk about our failures, our losses, and how we keep going in the face of them, and I think that’s vital and important.
Because I do want revolution, but I don’t want apocalypse. By which I mean, I don’t want a lifting of the veil: I don’t believe that there will be a revolution and that after that all oppression will be gone and everything will be fine. I believe that there will always be oppression, and that we will always need revolution to fight it, and that revolution will always be ongoing, BUT ALSO that things can get a hell of a lot better. So I don’t think there’s a “there” to get to that we’re failing to get to, but I do think there is a journey. I’m worried that if I did enough reading I’d stop believing in any time’s arrow of history, but I do for now.
There are two codas to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The whole project was bought and sponsored by Florian Feigl through Auction Achtung!, an excellent experiment in what it means to sell live art. Florian bought “the right to be credited in all communication materials about the performance as the owner of the explosion; the explosion; moral responsibility for the explosion; and all physical and emotional remnants of the explosion”. This post-explodem is thus dedicated to him as his emotional remnants, while this beautiful presentation box of cardboard scraps is on its way to Berlin to be part of his physical artistic collection:
Harry Giles, 'I Want to Blow Up the Palace of Holyroodhouse', SPILL Festival of Performance 2014, photo (c) Guido Mencari.
As part of selling the performance, I agreed that I “will not reperform this explosion”, reserving “the right to commit other aesthetically distinct acts of non-terrorism in the future”. I Want to Blow Up the Palace of Holyroodhouse is now over. However, it has given birth to a new project, scratched at Arches LIVE and incorporated into the performance at SPILL, called SMASHY SMASHY. In SMASHY SMASHY, participants build and destroy a city of cardboard and glitter; it grew from I Want to Blow Up… but it’s about more things, and it’s not about my rage: it’s about your rage. It will be coming back. It hopes to see you soon.
All photos (c) Guido Mencari, SPILL Festival of Performance 2014

Radical Campaigning and Scottish Independence

Politics, Rambles


I’ve been hitting the indyref campaign trail quite a lot for the last month, and there’s another month and a half ahead. I’ve never been so involved in a ballot-based campaign before: it’s not my natural home. And while I believe that an independent Scotland will win short-term gains and create a better environment for radical social, economic and environmental justice, what I believe in most is using the energy and momentum of the independence campaign to strengthen the wider struggles in Scotland. Here are two pieces I’ve written for National Collective about radical campaigning in Scotland: why we need it, and what you can do.

Class Matters: A Provocation for Radical Campaigning Now

Scotland is not special. Scotland is not unique. Scottish people are not uniquely disposed to be progressive, welcoming, wealth-redistributing citizens in solidarity. (Nor are Danes, Norwegians or Icelanders, by the way.) Every victory for workers – from minimum wage to the weekend – has been fought for, won, and defended by ongoing struggle. A struggle which has always been threatened, and always will be threatened, by bosses and politicians. We live in a part of the world with a terrifying degree of neoliberal consensus. We shouldn’t be mistaken in thinking that the current Scottish government, and any likely Scottish government in the near future, is anything but neoliberal.

Five Radical Campaigns to Support Before, During and After Independence

Campaigning can be wonderfully empowering, but also exhausting! There’s a lot of work to be done, and lots of violence to fight against, but we all have capacities and limits. The best thing you can do for any movement – all of these campaigns, and the movement for an independent Scotland – is to look after yourself first, to look after all your friends and comrades second, and only then to start campaigning. That way, you’re less likely to burn out, less likely to make demands on people’s time and energy that they just can’t meet, or more likely to find these extraordinary struggles something that makes your life richer.