The Value in Bla(pril/ugust)

Last night, Bhagpuss posted on the subject of the recent wave of expressions of exhaustion. I read it while I was out of the house1 so couldn’t respond in much detail at the time.

Now, much of what Bhagpuss wrote — I agree with. There are a number of very good messages in there. Your blog is yours. Write in a way you enjoy. Vary your voice- your subject; anything you need to do to keep enjoying it. I even agree with the sentiment that if you stop enjoying it in a rather fundamental way, you should stop doing it. Remove that pressure from yourself, that feeling of ‘must’ and it’s entirely possible you’ll find your passion for it all over again.

What I felt might be missing from the piece though, was an acknowledgement that not everything worthwhile is easy. Or perhaps less that, and more that there is value in challenging and pushing yourself to a place that might not be fun in the moment but at the end- when you’re done, and can look back on what you’ve achieved? That’s quite the thing. It can be a morale boost. A source of pride. Something to shout, ‘Yatta!‘ (I did it!) about.2

Last year, I noted at the end of Blaugust just how tired posting every day had left me feeling. And it did. There is no doubt that, for me at least, posting every day is a challenge. Not something I would do for normal blog operation. But it also grew my respect and appreciation for those who can do it that way. It’s also a challenge I’ve now taken on three times — once for Blaugust 2019, once on a crazy Five Game Challenge whim and now for the third time with Blapril 2020.

I wouldn’t call this an easy challenge, but it is one that gets easier with practice. I assume like a marathon (not that I’m meaning to compare the degrees of effort involved here!) that these things may not be very fun in the moments in the lead up to the finish line, but rather the accomplishment and pride that comes once you have.

In any case; I hadn’t meant to dwell on this for so long. I actually have another post topic for tonight which is only loosely connected. But before I can move on to the originally scheduled post for tonight, a comment reply to Bhagpuss’ post pulled at the heart strings a little. A comment from Belghast — the creator of Blaugust (and Blapril) himself.

I always feel bad when folks seem to struggle a bit. It is this moment when I start to question if I should ever do another event like this again. I am never certain how it is going to end up. I think blaugust as a community has been good, but I am not sure if blaugust as an event really bears the fruit I ultimately hope it will. Those of us who are regular bloggers will stay regular bloggers, but I am not sure if we are really making any new ones from our mold.

Belghast (2020), in reply to ‘It Was Fun For A While‘ on Inventory Full.

To which I say simply:

Each a fantastic blog, with a fantastic owner, who wouldn’t have entered our community sphere without the event you run, Bel.

And I know I’ll have missed some. These were the only ones that came top of mind to me. I apologise to those I have missed — I mean no slight or to make you feel unwelcome, because you absolutely are.

But even if that were to be the sum total, that’s five more active blogs which have carried on the torch.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t reflect on ways to improve the event — and it’s possible I’ve read way too much into this comment than was intended. But just in case I haven’t, I really want to make it clear how much value there is in this Bel and we love that you continue to set it up for us year on year and even brought this one forward to assist everyone with a sense of community spirit through an otherwise really challenging time.

Perhaps brainstorming ways to improve the outcomes we’re after can be a topic for another day — but in the meantime, know that these things are already a success. Any improvements will be just that — and not out of any need to otherwise fix some fundamental flaw in the plan. :)

…Although speaking of topics for another day; I think the one I initially had planned will need to wait. It would be a little shoehorned now. But it was on the topic of keeping up motivation, and one possible way of achieving that vary up the degree of effort each post requires. Sometimes high effort posts are great and rewarding, but sometimes lower effort posts can be equally as entertaining!

More on that later. :)


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!


Footnotes

  1. On a walk with my mother for the first time, now that New Zealand reduced our state from a full lock-down (Level 4) to almost a full lock-down, but now fast food is available again via delivery / drive-through (Level 3).
  2. Sometimes I still miss Heroes, and then I remember the later seasons and don’t miss it so much any more.

Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

10 Responses

  1. belghast says:

    Thanks for your comments. I think you have caught me in what I refer to as a “down cycle”. The weight of the world is sorta resting heavily on my shoulders as I near the end of week seven of isolation. I maybe took Bhagpuss’s comments a little too harshly, because I remember reading the comments after the very first Blaugust and how it caused some folks to drop off the face of the earth after crossing the finish line. Mostly I don’t want to be doing more harm than I am doing good, and there are times I question if that is the case. The last thing I want to do is exhaust the creativity of the community and send folks into hibernation.

    You are right however, we are if not outright inspiring new blogs linking bloggers together.

    • Naithin says:

      All but one of those linked were created in direct response to Blaugust/Blapril, the remaining one yep — linked into the community as a direct result.

      The rate of blog death is so high generally, that we can pick even five that have survived past that initial rush and continued to flourish is an amazing effort.

      I hear you though on getting caught in a down cycle — we’re a little behind now in Week 5 over here in NZ; and even though I’m very much at the ‘introvert’ end of the scale… The weight is starting to press down as you say. Motivation for general things (although ironically, for Blapril I had my issue up front then took it fairly well in stride the rest of the month) has been hard to come by, despite some fairly exciting projects at work to occupy my time (albeit remotely).

      Like I noted in the post; there isn’t any harm in questioning whether things might be improved for future iterations while keeping the same core goals. But if you were wondering whether any good was coming from these (or at least; whether there was more good than harm) — then my answer at least is a rather categorical ‘yes’.

  2. Bhagpuss says:

    Totally agree on your comments to Belghast. Blaugust/Blapril has a huge bolstering effect on the corner of the blogosphere where we all reside. We’d be very much poorer without Bel’s efforts, that’s for sure.

    On the absence of the “it was a slog but it was worth it” aspect from my post, that’s probably because I almost never feel that way. Doing things I don’t enjoy – or at least feel neutral about – in the moment is something i very much try to avoid. When I do muscle through something and get to the end, the lesson I usually learn is that it really wasn’t worth it. That the reward or the outcome did not validate the irritation or frustration or boredom it took to get there. And, most importantly, that I could have spent my time more profitably, more enjoyably, doing something else if I’d not been so stubborn.

    That’s very much not to say that I don’t believe it’s worth putting in the time and the energy in the first place. What I believe is that the energy should feel good while you’re expending it and the time should feel well-used as it’s going by, not just in retrospect. There are many things we all have to do whether we enjoy doing them or not but when it comes to elective activities I see no reason why they shouldn’t be enjoyable in the anticipation, the execution and the memory. If an optional activity can’t meet all three criiteria, why take that option?

    It’s clearly a personality thing, though. Loads of people feel good about things they’ve achieved even when the process of achieving them wasn’t enjoyable. I’m just not one of them! The main effect doing that has on me (and I do do it on occasion) is to make me feel I should have made better choices to begin with and I had better make better choices next time.

    • Naithin says:

      My wife’s personality is very similar to yours in this regard, I believe. In particular on: “What I believe is that the energy should feel good while you’re expending it and the time should feel well-used as it’s going by, not just in retrospect.”

      Although how it often manifests for her — so I’m curious whether this is similar for you, or whether this has not only gone on a tangent but leaped the tracks — is that any complaint or sign of discontent, in the moment, of doing something ultimately ‘good’ for us (be that exercise, cleaning, or anything else that you may not necessarily want to do at the time — but agree that the benefits/end results are worth it) can be viewed in a rather negative way.

      I wouldn’t perhaps go so far as to say it is viewed as a personal attack, but it could head in that direction depending on how close to her the thing in question is.

      She is capable of enjoying both the time spent in achieving the outcome AND the outcome; where for many of these things I do what needs must only in order to achieve and enjoy the outcome.

      It’s not something I’ve been able to change, but I HAVE learnt to complain a lot less. Not nil. But less. ;)

  3. Only just got around to reading this one. Thanks for mentioning me there :D

    I guess, BLapril/august is more of a challenge anyways and has to be at least a bit challenging. I noticed that I burnt myself out quite a lot by doing two posts per day for the first ten days but I think I’d be more confident now about posting more often than I would have beforehand. I mean, if it wasn’t hard people wouldn’t do it. And once you get to the 31 posts, you can post until you reach 42 or set a new goal or take a break :D
    So uh… yeah, that’s my thought on it :c

    Solid post! :)
    (also comment on this one with anything so that I get notifications for testing purposes)

    • Naithin says:

      Do you mean if it wasn’t hard more people would do it? Or do you mean that less people would participate than currently do, if the ‘challenge’ part was reduced?

      • Well, if something is acquired too easily, people tend to get bored. But at the same time having too much of a challenge tends to scare off people. So, essentially a bit of both.

        Personally I think that Blaugust is in a good spot. It’s really just “as much as possible” and “possible” is defined by your own limits and the effort you put in. If you can’t post more due to your schedule, that’s your limit and you learn about it. If you are able to post every single day but it stresses you out or it exhausts you, then that essentially shows you how much you can do and where (again) your limit is. Testing the limits is importing and Blaugust is a good way of testing that and experiencing what a blogathon like that feels like.

        If it was something like “post every single day” instead of “as much as you want/can” then people wouldn’t participate. If it was easier, there would either be more people or some people would find it too easy and jump off.

        The most fun I have with the Blaugust events is the sense of community, anyways, so I guess the challenge in itself is only secondary but I’d keep it as it is, if I was to be in charge. :)

  4. Solarayo says:

    Thank you very much for the mention! I am certainly grateful for the Blapril event. I met a lot of cool bloggers through it. Yeah, I did feel a bit of pressure some days, but that was self-imposed and not to be blamed on the event at all. :)

    • Naithin says:

      Greater than the pressure on the writing side is, I think, the pressure caused by the inability to even keep up with the reading. There will still be a great many posts out there I’ve missed entirely through the lack of hours in the day after pesky things like work and sleep.

      In any case, definitely glad you found our little neck of the woods through the event, Sol. :)

      • Solarayo says:

        Uh, yup. I just spent several hours today catching up on blog post reading. They add up quickly! It was an enjoyable labor of blogger community love though, haha.

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