Welcome to Blaugust!
On the first day of Blaugust, my family gave to meee — one sore throat, two runny nostrils and a cough that echoes out past our treeeees. … Alright, I know that’s not at all how the structure of that song goes, but I’m sticking with it. Last week, my youngest son was fairly sick. I’m going to go out on a limb and say flu rather than just a cold/man flu. He came home with it after spending a week at camp during the school holidays the week prior.
It’s really not surprising that I got it too — only that it took until now to pick it up.
So far, though? Not feeling too bad. My throat is probably the worst of it so far, with that shards-of-glass-just-beneath-the-surface feeling.
That aside, it’s Blaugust! Welcome one and all!
Scanning through the list of participants (so far, it isn’t too late to sign-up), I see a number of new names, and that’s fantastic! I have to admit that every year, I have a small period of wondering, ‘Is this the year we don’t get anyone new?’ — but nope! Not this one, at least.
Plans? We were meant to have plans?
‘Planning’ isn’t really a thing I do terribly often around here. Things just sort of… happen… This is a process I’ve become comfortable with. So with that being the case, I don’t really have much of substance to share with you.
I’ll be here. I’ll be posting. I’m going to try for every day, even. If I can help someone else along the way, all the better! So please feel free to stop by, either here or in the Blaugust Discord and ask anything that might otherwise be burning a hole in your brain.
It’s probably also worth clarifying that I’m from New Zealand, with a GMT+12 timezone. So Blaugust is already here for me, but still coming for most the rest of the world as I write this.
That hasn’t stopped a couple of others from sharing their plans already, though!
- Tipa is letting AI take over, generating game ideas for the days of the month.
- UltrViolet is also playing with AI, but for his header images. Alongside that, will be pondering randomly selected philosophical questions each day.
So herein lies the first piece of advice — don’t worry about where you sit on the pantser/planner continuum. Blogging can accommodate all kinds.
Oh; and getting this far has clarified what I’m going to do with this welcome post. Advice!
Collected Advice from Years Gone By
I’m not going to cover the technical ins and outs here. That’s the easy bit. Pick a platform and go! Don’t procrastinate by way of ‘research’. That said, if you do run into any issues of a technical nature — head over to the Blaugust Discord and perhaps we can help.
- Finding your Motivation to Blog — For most of us, ‘What’ you want to cover won’t actually be your motivation. Finding out your ‘Why’ will help you greatly to keep going when the shine wears off, but don’t worry if you don’t understand your why right from day 1. I didn’t!
- Just Have Fun — Blogging is a hobby that can easily grow to fill whatever time you allow it. While there is absolutely a certain joy to throwing your all behind a passion project — have care that it’s sustainable. This post also goes into some things to watch out for in that regard.
Generating Content Ideas
Sooner or later, the wellspring of ideas will run dry. Doesn’t matter how many you start with — it will happen. Not to mention, depending on what you’re covering — some ideas require much higher effort to execute than others. e.g., writing a review is much more intensive than simply writing about the experience of a play session!
- Regular Features as a Form of Content — Giving yourself something regularly scheduled to focus upon can help. Right now, the only regular feature I run are the monthly journals, but this has fluctuated over time. If you start any such regularly scheduled content, though, always know you can drop it at any time for any reason. Don’t let something no longer fun for you be the reason you stop blogging entirely.
- Capture Ideas as they Come — Yep. Pretty simple. Find a way to capture the idle thoughts that might otherwise pass you by — plus some ideas of where they might come from.
- Bouncing Ideas Off Other Bloggers — The capturing ideas post started down this path, but this post expands on it. ‘It’ being the fact that blogging is a team sport. Or at least- it can be. Bouncing ideas off other bloggers and their posts and writing up your own take is some of the most fun and rewarding content you’re ever likely to generate.
Keeping it Going
I’ve written a number of times over the years on the subject of keeping your desire to blog alive over the longer term. But I think one post rises above the others and is worth sharing here.
- The Shape of Motivation and Enjoyment — Digs into the differences in drive. Particularly those who enjoy the ‘doing’ vs. those who enjoy the ‘having done’. Blogging can be challenging when it comes to the long haul. It’s OK to find your spirits flagging from time to time. This isn’t a sign of failure, nor should you let any absence (even an extended one) become, itself, a barrier to jumping back in the saddle when you’re ready.
- Not Every Post Needs a ‘Point’ — There was a period where I forgot some of my own advice. Namely, that just… talking about your gaming experience or whathaveyou is ‘enough’. Not everything you write needs to be something. Going at it that way is exhausting!
- Don’t Post in the Weekend – Part 1; Part 2 — This was perhaps a little flippantly titled, so to be clear: Posting over the weekend is absolutely fine. Mostly. If you’ve spent time writing a ‘high effort’ post, or heck, just one you specifically would like to be engaged on, the best shot at that you have is to post on a weekday. Part 2 even goes into some of the stats from Time to Loot to paint that picture out a little further.
Hopefully, something in here finds a home in your head. This blog has been running a little over 3-years now, but I’ve had several going back many… many… years into the much earlier days of WoW blogging, and I suppose much of this comes distilled from the learnings I’ve had over the years.
Others will no doubt jump in with their own tips, many of which have been doing this consistently for a lot longer than I have! If I was going to leave you with one final reinforced point, though — is that all types can be successful at blogging. I’m a very different style of blogger (in how I approach things, at least) than many of my community colleagues. So my advice may or may not land with you. Someone else might speak more directly to the type of person you are — or vice versa!
Take what works for you, and leave the rest.