What a set of happy coincidences. In my neck of the woods, we’re well into the first day of April. And so to my mind, the first ‘real’ day of Blapril. Although officially, it started with the week in a preparatory mode. This preparatory mode being where the event mentors will be posting up advice, hard won from many years in the trenches as it were.

Last year, before the world was tipped upside down by COVID-19, during Blaugust no less — Frostilyte was amongst the first ever people to tag me into one of these ‘awards’ posts that do the rounds every so often. Second ever, more specifically. So it has a sort of natural rhyme to find myself the grateful recipient of another nomination early into Blapril as fodder for a post. And? Best of all? It even fits with the theme — while I’m not myself a mentor; the main thrust of this tag is all about offering up insight into the world of blogging.

Frostilyte’s post for this can be found here and is well worth the read. If you’re unfamiliar with Frostilyte’s work, he focuses primarily on game reviews and is the example of things done right I hold up to new bloggers with similar aspirations of focusing on reviews.

In any case! Onward.

The Rules

  1. Thank the wonderful person who nominated you and leave a link back to their blogs.
  2. Explain your blog’s origin story or its history.
  3. Hand out two or more pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  4. Nominate 10 5 other bloggers and hook us up with links to their blogs.

Thank-you very much for thinking of me for this, Frosti. I quite appreciate it, especially with the timing! ;)

In terms of tagging other people — it was always this aspect that made me most uncomfortable about this style of ‘award’ post. So upon receiving my first one I set some guidelines for myself on this. But essentially they boil down to: I may or may not tag other people, but whether I do or not — it should be taken as a given that anyone so inclined may jump onboard.

To make that more explicit though: Anyone so inclined may jump onboard. :)

Time to Loot’s Origin Story

Anthem: Perhaps the main reason I returned to blogging.

This isn’t a new story, I’ve certainly recounted it before. Often in comments around the place though it seems. As certainly I struggle to put my hands on a specific post where I’ve detailed it right now.

So! Settle in my friends; it’s time for a story.

I’m not exactly new to blogging. I’ve had several in the past. But before I started here at Time to Loot; my last blogging project wrapped up September 2013 and I’d been absent ever since.

Truthfully?

I thought I was done for good.

And not just WoW ‘done for good’ where inevitably I return with the next expansion. But really done for good, never to be seen in the Blogosphere again.

My Storm; the Wizard of Anthem essentially.

But then Anthem came along. And before release, this seemed like an incredible upcoming title. The promise was immense. The Ironman fantasy brought to (gaming) life. In a system we thought would allow for incredible build diversity. All sprinkled with the love and care of a BioWare story.

I was so invested in the promise of what Anthem could be and the potential aspects to be written about I started down the path of looking into what gaming blogs might still exist and how they were received. From the outside looking in? I was worried. Especially for the informational style of content I was contemplating. It appeared that YouTube and video media more generally had the market completely cornered.

I even went and posted on the Anthem Reddit, posing the question of whether an Anthem Blog might fly in 2019. The responses were surprisingly positive overall. Some neutral. Nothing really negative, but honestly — looking back now, I think my mind was made up. It would have taken fairly overwhelming negativity to dissuade me.

And here we are now? Well- Not quite. For this project; I initially registered a domain along the lines of gaminganthem.com — I was super invested. Boy am I glad I decided to walk that decision back and register timetoloot.com before launching. I honestly don’t know that I’d still be going today if I hadn’t, something I noted on Belghast’s recent post on selecting a name. He has some great advice on having an exit strategy for what you think you will be talking about. Fortunately a lesson I didn’t have to learn the hard way… this time. ;)

Advice for New Bloggers

Don’t be sad! Advice is on the way!

I can tell you first hand, that sustaining a blogging effort is hard. Or at least it is — if you don’t set yourself up for long term, sustained success.

It is so easy to lose momentum, motivation and just let things slide. Until all of a sudden several months have gone by without a post and the mere prospect of coming back to start again seems a daunting, impassable wall.

While things are new and shiny, this might be a difficult thing to contemplate. But it’s real. It happens. The average blog lifespan is 100 days, apparently. At the time of that post, I thought this to be somewhat optimistic. Now I just think it is being buoyed upward by blogs like these which have lasted for longer than 10 years.

If this happens to you — the main thing to know? Just make another post. People will be pleased to see you back. Don’t feel (overly) bad about your time away. Break that barrier down just by making a quick and easy post. Don’t sweat it. Break the no-post barrier down and keep on rolling!

But… How might you minimise the chance of that happening in the first place? I’ll link to two longer advice pieces in headings below, but for convenience will also summarise here. :)

Understand your Motivation

Or in other words: understand your ‘why’. What is it about blogging that is important to you?

For myself? The ‘why’ is to create a personal history. To be able to look back in the years yet to come and see insight into my days gone by. A look at the things that were important to me in the moment that I otherwise might not have remembered. I lost track of the number of times I’d wanted to go back and re-examine something I’d said, or thought, in the past and been unable to do so.

I think some people might call this a ‘diary’. And I suppose there is certainly a lot of overlap in purpose, but not so much in the form.

For you? It might be to chase down internet celebrity. It might be to pursue activism in a cause your believe in. But understanding what it is, is something that will help you when your intrinsic motivation for blogging in it’s own sake wanes once the novelty has passed.

You don’t need to understand the deeper ‘why’ right from day 1. I certainly didn’t. For getting started, having an interest is enough. I’d just say that to set yourself up for longer term success — be on the look out for it. :)

Don’t Procrastinate via ‘Research’

The main quote I would steal from that piece (and I can do that, it’s mine!) is this:

Research is a valuable tool, but don’t beat your passion to death with it.

This probably needs a little context. Before posting that piece, I actually wondered if this was a uniquely Nait-styled experience, but as it turned out, I was not alone.

Not alone in having an experience of becoming hyper interested in some new area. Could be blogging. Writing more generally. Art. Whatever. And then rather than actually doing said thing of professed interest, I would instead research the ever-loving crap out of it.

When I was interested in the art of writing one year, hot on the heels of a successful NaNoWriMo I decided I need to know more. I was following other author’s blogs. I was listening to podcasts. I was researching agents and their advice for submitting work. I found out more about the publishing houses. I was intent on making it big you see, none of this self-publishing business (which was still relatively fledgling at the time).

But what I wasn’t doing throughout all that was any actual writing. There is a bit of a truism often thrown around that, ‘Writer’s write’. It’s sort of right there in the name.

And as these sorts of flash in the pan inspirations go — it fizzled out before I made anything of it.

By this, I don’t mean to say that research is bad. Information is a powerful tool. But try to focus just on what’s important for your next steps. Want to blog? Go to wordpress.com and sign-up. Get posting. Everything else can come later as and when you need it.

Information is a powerful tool — just don’t let that tool be a bludgeon.

Nominations

Well I certainly wouldn’t nominate this guy.

As noted way back at the top of this post — if you’ve read this?

Consider yourself nominated. If you’d like to respond to this with one of your own, please do! And let me know! I’d love to read it.

In terms of a few more explicit tags? I think I might this time, given advice will be coming thick and fast this week regardless! :)

If one or more of you in particular would like to do this, I would really look forward to reading it! :D


This was a post for Blapril 2020, the annual blogging event (albeit usually as Blaugust), brought forward to help bring a sense of community during the challenging time of COVID-19. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year round!