Blaugust is upon us. We are off and running. If you want to see everybody involved, I am trying to keep the list I made up to date on my first post about this year’s Blaugust.
And according to the organizing post this week is:
- August 1st – August 7th – Topic Brainstorming Week – posts about ideas for topics that the participants can then mine for the rest of the month.
After a dozen years you might think I have a plan here, a guide as to how to crank out a post almost every single weekday for year after year, with enough ideas left over that I have to double up some days or move into the weekends. According to my eleventh anniversary statistical nightmare post, I had written, on average, 1.097 posts per day over the life of the blog up to that point.
And I seem to be keeping on that track. I wrote 34 posts just last month, 32 in June, 31 in May, and 32 in April. You have to go back to March to find me slipping under one a day, and then I wrote 27, which is still more than my target of one every weekday.
So how do I manage this?
I’ve covered bits and pieces of this before, especially during the old Newbie Blogger Initiative, where I tried to dispense what little practical advice I could muster. In a lot of ways blogging is a very personal thing and the topics I pick and the way I go about writing work for me but likely wouldn’t work for you. Different experiences, different lives, different values, all sorts of things drive what we do.
But I will straight up say that one piece of advice I gave out during the 2015 NBI stands pretty true:
And Low standards. I cannot emphasize how much just wanting to write something, versus wanting to write something good, helps out.
A lot of days it is that simple. I don’t want to write something epic or filled with deeper meaning or pithy quotable passages or that is headline news and gets thousands of page views or retweets. I just want to jot down something about video games I am playing. Some observation or change or marking or a current or past event.
There is a strong nostalgia thread in what I write, or a history thread if you prefer. I am still cranking out posts about TorilMUD, an online game I started playing back in late 1993, which was almost 25 years ago on my calendar. (I actually have three more posts about TorilMUD in draft form, so we’re not done there yet.)
But in writing about that I often come across things I wish I could remember or had written down some place. I wish I could remember, as an example, the start and end dates of the various iterations of the MUD. So, to some extent, knowing that I am missing so much information on games I have played in the past drives me, and that is basically everything before late 2006.
There is the difficulty of finding some of that information. Yes, WoW is pretty well documented. I can find a screen shot of Captain Placeholder when I need it. But there is this line in the late 90s, before digital cameras were everywhere and when disk space was at a premium compared to now, where information dries up pretty quickly. And even more recent but smaller games can pass by without much coverage. And none of that marks what I was doing at the time. I need to do that, and to do that I must write!
So you might reasonably expect this blog to have a lot of very short posts. I think one every weekday is too few for my state goal. So how am I doing so far this year?
So I am writing about a post a day. July 31 was the 212th day of the year. But I am writing what many might consider longer posts. An average of a thousand words each feels like a lot to me. I will run on.
Sometimes I run on to capture details that I know I will want. Often in my EVE Online posts about fleet operations I will mention things that happened in the fleet, like an argument breaking out over BBQ sauce, because that flavor… heh… my memories when I go back and read the post a year later. Other times I run on in order to pile up a few things into a single post, so rather than three posts about World of Warcraft I might end up getting everything into one longer post.
Sometimes I wish I would just opt for shorter, single topic posts. It makes going back to look for details easier at times. But pushing things together also has value in at least establishing context and relationships between topics.
And, of course, I cheat a bit as well. I have a structure to some of my posts. There are posts that recur monthly, or even weekly in the case of Fantasy Movie League, which give me something to write about on a regular basis. Knowing that on Wednesday I have a post already can be a help. Knowing that the last day of every month will be the Month in Review posts is nice. And that is one I can start working on in advance. I already have the bulk of August in Review written, since those posts are mostly the looks back to what was going on a year, five years, and ten years ago. And knowing that I am going to do a post about the New Eden Monthly Economic Report and SuperData’s digital sales charts fills in some of the gaps. Some times it is nice to have a regular topic. It is almost a day off. And then things get busy and I have a dozen topics I want to write about and I end up doubling up on those days all the same.
Back in the early days of the blog, maybe through the first three years, I used to feel I had to play a lot of new MMOs in order to keep things interesting for both myself and the reader. I played games simply to blog about them. I am pretty sure that explains Warhammer Online. Writing about a new game gives you lots of topics to delve into and also gets you more page view. New is much more likely to attract people than old. But with the old comes history and evolution over time.
Then there is the time factor. Where does one find the time? Again, I’ve already written on that. People find the time to do the things they really want to do. If you see somebody’s blog and say wistfully to yourself that you wish you had the time, you’re only kidding yourself. I tell myself I wish I had the time for all sorts of things. And I do have the time. I just choose to spend the time elsewhere. In the end that is how you know what is really important to you. I spend time writing about video games, often more time that I spend playing them on a given day.
And here we are more than a thousand words into a post… again… and I haven’t even thrown out any actual concrete ideas about which one might write. Typical me. All theoretical, no practical.
Then again, by my own philosophy, I shouldn’t worry too much on what I should write about and focus more on writing something. It is better to write something than nothing at all. When in doubt, make a list or do some bullet points.
Or you could just do what Syp wrote, which is far more to the point.