Newbie Blogger Initiative 2014 Starts Today

Over at the official, permanent NBI HQ site, the kick off for the 2014 campaign has begun.  There are community building activities planned for people who want to start new blogs as well as current bloggers who want to help a new crop join their ranks.


I am not planning to do much myself as part of the 2014 NBI campaign.  I’ll join in a group blogging topic if one comes up, but I haven’t signed on for anything in particular.

Mostly that is because I am not sure I have much to add… certainly nothing new since last year.   Or the year before.  And for all my talk about community, I am bad at community.

I wrote a post almost two years back that had nine items I thought were useful to consider if you going to start a blog.  And of those, I only felt one was important.  I’ll repeat that one, so you don’t even have to go back and look at my old post.

Be The Blog You Want to Read

Even that seems to be sort of a “duh” statement.

But seriously, I presume that you have decided to jump into MMO blogging after having read some other MMO blogs.  And those blogs have probably made an impression on you.  And I bet some of those sites had aspects you did not like.  Don’t do those things.  Your blog should be the example you want others to follow.

Anyway, if you want to start a blog, the NBI is a fine way to get some support and advice on blogging.  The only thing I would flag is that most everything is opinion based on what has worked for that individual.  Certainly my own list linked above is pretty much what has worked for me.  It may not work for you.  Hell, you might not even want to write a blog you want to read for all I know!

As an example, over at Contains Moderate Peril, there is a post up about starting a gaming blog that has a very heavy emphasis on writing as a craft.  Excellent stuff in that post.  If you are starting a blog and you want to be taken seriously as a writer… say you want to become a paid games journalist or find a way into the game industry… you should live those rules.  They are excellent.

But I wouldn’t say they were strictly necessary to be a blogger.

Liore of Herding Cats once asked me on Twitter how I find the time to write so many posts.  My response was:

…Low standards. I cannot emphasize how much just wanting to write something, versus wanting to write something good, helps out.

It made an impression on her, and has worked for me because if I spent the time to work at my blog like it was my profession, I would drop to about 10% of my current output.  Instead of a few quality posts, I push out a lot of crap. (Unfortunate comparison intentional.)

Most of what you read here is banged out and posted in pretty much a first draft state after something like an hour or less of work.  You can pretty much assume I have pushed the “publish” button too soon for any post.

Sometimes I have a post that sits for a while and I add to it over time, but that often ends up looking just as bad.  My thoughts change over time, and you can see, sometimes in the same paragraph, or even the same sentence, where I went away and came back with a different impression of what I was about.  And the typo density remains the same.

So my stuff tends to be short bits… short being a relative term here, I seem to be able to bang out a thousand words pretty quickly… that often reflect not only something that happened recently, but how I feel about it at that moment in time.  And that latter can change over time.  Part of what is interesting about the blog for me is charting my own opinion on things, my focus, my enthusiasms, and how they shift and change.

So it is important for me to say what I want to say when I am as close to the moment as I can possibly be.

That said, I do go back and fix my typos.  I am embarrassed by them.  I find them distracting.  I do not want them to be there.  I am just incapable of seeing them until a post has been published.

As an alternative to the CMP post linked above, there is a more philosophical post on starting a blog over at ALT:ernative Chat.

My point is really that you shouldn’t take anybody very seriously who says you must do “X” to be a blogger.  The blog will be your own and, if you stick with it and enjoy it, you will work out what is important to you.

Finally, I will say that my only real regret as a blogger is that I did not start sooner.  I really wish I had a chronicle that went back to the launch of EverQuest II, or to the early days of EverQuest, or my time back in TorilMUD, or my days back in the 80s playing games like Stellar Emperor or Air Warrior back on GEnie. (Of course, there were no blogs back then, but you get the idea.)

I can write about those times as bits of history, but I can never really explain how I viewed those games and the people in them at the moment I was there.  Lots of little bits of detail and color have been washed out of my brain over the years, to the point that I can now remember a sense of a feeling of excitement over something that might very well have happened to somebody else.  See what getting old does?

So, if you’re going to get to it… well… then get to it!  You may regret the time you waste.

Oh, and link whoring.  Must not forget that.

See?  I totally had nothing to say about the NBI. (Word count: ~1,000)

10 thoughts on “Newbie Blogger Initiative 2014 Starts Today

  1. Roger Edwards (@ModeratePeril)

    I agree entirely that there is no definitive way to blog. I love the contrast between Brian’s article on CMP and the one on ALT:ernative Chat. Both offer good advice though. Ultimately it’s up to each individual blogger to find what’s right for them.

    I take a lot of time with my posts (although they’re still riddled with typos). I will revise a draft numerous times before hitting publish. Different people with different temperaments, means different approaches. I try not to be too emotive, so often avoid rage posting etc. other don’t and it makes for good reading sometimes. I also copiously edit my podcasts because I like things a certain way.

    Everyones blogging journey is different. Some know what they want to do straight away and just do it. Others evolve overtime. I certainly favour experimenting with every aspect of a blog. The thing is the sooner you start, the easier it becomes to find your own groove.


  2. Suzariel

    Be the blog you want to read — amen. :-) I used to blog in a community of fellow writers, but this is my first month of MMO blogging. I’ve found that if I feel like I have to impress people, I get sick of the whole thing very quickly. I write what I want. If people like it, okay, but there’s just no way to impress/please/entertain everyone.


  3. Izlain

    I’ve always said to write for yourself. You are giving a gift of yourself when you choose to share what you write. People will either love you or hate you, but in the end all that matters is that you were able to say what you wanted/needed to say.


  4. zaphod6502

    The quality of Wilhelm’s posts are very good for “crap”. Like other readers I am always amazed how people find time to post blogs especially TAGN which has regular interesting opinion and content.

    I also started a blog but I rarely post to it. I struggle to post coherent thoughts to the blog. It probably doesn’t help my grammar is shocking and I find it a struggle to write “well”. I’ve resigned myself to simply being an occasionally commenter on other peoples blogs.


  5. Isey

    I love blogging about what I am feeling at that moment as well. It’s a more conversational style, and as I re-read I am tempted to edit (but rarely do). When I first started I was concerned about readership numbers and reach and I used to link a LOT of posts to other blogs I liked – now I just post when the urge hits, and I link less to others but make a lot of comments on other people’s blogs. Sometimes I write 3 posts a week, sometimes 1 every two weeks.

    I just enjoy it, and participating in a pretty neat community =)


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