Why Write About Games?

It’s been a while since I busted out an Anthem screenshot for anything, but I suppose it’s only fair given it is what brought me back to the blogging fold earlier this year. If you go alllll the way back to my initial ‘Hello!‘ post you can see the barely constrained (and ultimately undeserved) optimism I held for the game.

Initially, this blog had been envisioned as being Anthem only. I had a different domain registered and had started down the path of setting things up there.

I already knew in the back my mind that such a narrow path was a mistake. But with just how broken down my normally quite dense armour of jaded cynicism was, I was in no mood to listen. Fortunately, before I publicly unveiled anything I came to my senses and went with the compromise position you see before you today — Time to Loot.

One of these days I’m going to get around to doing the long overdue version 2.0 of my About page. But if you look there at the moment you can still see traces of the original vision there. I was going to be a useful site. Packed with guides and in-depth coverage of game systems and optimised builds.

While I have no aversion to that style of content and have done a few pieces of that nature, it turned out not to be what most excited me about coming back to game blogging again. What did most excite me came as an epiphany a month or so after my initial return.

It was far less about writing technical, practical material — and far more about keeping a personal history. A place to reflect on who I had been vs. where I will end up in the years to come, perhaps. Memory alone is a fickle beast, so having this sort of journal could be very enlightening.

I credit making this discovery of what motivates me to blog to Wilhelm. I read his about page and simply gasped when I realised that what he talked about was precisely what I wanted. Needed, possibly. That it should take someone else to spell it out though, in hindsight, is a little baffling. How many times had I lamented to myself at the loss of history, of connections?

Many. I’ve even run several blogs before, but all (clearly) lacked any sense of permanence. And so the connection between the blogging platform and this personal history wasn’t one I’d ever consciously made.

This isn’t my only reason. But it lies at the heart of it. For the others, you can actually jump over and read Kluwes’ post. He essentially wrote the rest of this post already. I agree with everything he included. :)


As a side note — I wrote this post a little differently than usual. Differently even than what I’d outlined in the changing approach to writing post. I was struggling to get words to the page for this one starting out, I’d write a paragraph and then delete, dissatisfied.

So! To bust through that wall I went full stream of consciousness, NaNo-mode ‘Sprint’ on it. Just started writing, banning myself from editing other than typos or grievous grammatical errors (that I saw, I make no promises that none remain)!

It turned out to be a very different post from how I first imagined it, but this might be a style I play around with a bit more in future. I think there might be something to it, especially for helping specifically with uncovering my own writer’s voice.

Changing the Approach to Writing Posts

I alluded to making this post in my June Journal entry. About how I run things here. Specifically for this post — how I run through the act of constructing a post. I feel that there are some improvements I can make in this area, and I hoped to also get some input on this from you all.

How I do it at the Moment

Getting Started…

What does this have to do with the post? Nothing. I just really like itAlli did an awesome job. :D

Ideas can come from anywhere. Random thoughts. News pieces. Game happenings. Other bloggers, via conversation or their blog posts I’d like to comment on or otherwise respond to at length.

When I can, I’ll construct a draft post — generally containing just a title to prompt memory of the idea later. Very rarely I might include some bullet points of things I want to cover in the post.

Sometime after the initial ideation, magic happens. But — and this is important — the magic can only happen while I’m not at a computer. While driving, say. The post will fully form, crystalise even, in my mind — a near masterwork of engaging writing and compelling argument.

Later, back at the computer with time to write the post — I’ll start tapping away, hacking together a far lesser version of itself. Not the best post in the world, merely a tribute. ;)

Putting the Post Together

During the process of failing to translate what once seemed a perfectly clear and constructed post in my mind to actual written word, I’m prone to distractions in all forms. I don’t think that’s the cause of the translation issue, but it certainly doesn’t help either.

The main distraction comes in the form of working on the post layout while writing the first draft. By which I mean I will insert images, format them, and if I need to jump into a game to get the screenshot I want — I’ll even do that.

I’ll eventually wind up with a completed post, which I’ve put together piecemeal. Editing as I go. A final review (often far more cursory than it probably should be) and then an instant publish.

I’m not very good with being patient and scheduling posts. Once done — it needs to go right then!

The Next Experiment

What I feel I should do instead — and will be experimenting with — is getting out a full, complete draft before doing any of that. Consider that first go in the same vein as a NaNoWriMo writing sprint. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a NaNo writing sprint — basically you write at speed for a set period of time. You completely shut down the inner-editor for the duration. Corrections of anything beyond a typo should be considered forbidden.

After the sprint is over you may consider your review process. Be that a rewrite or some intensive editing.

At first I thought my success metric was around time taken to write a post. This experiment was initially about reducing context switching between writing and formatting.

I actually don’t know that this approach is going to save me any time but perhaps it’ll result in a better quality of post with a rewrite/intensive edit phase put in. A harder metric to track meaningfully perhaps, so I’ll have to use my own satisfaction with a post when ‘done’ as a proxy.

But already I can tell making this change is going to take some very sustained and conscious effort. Cos uh… I’ll start with the next post? I did this one my ‘normal’ way. Hmm.

Anywho — as I said at the start, super curious how other bloggers out there go about constructing their own posts, and if there are any things that seem to work for you, or anything that you might consider changing. :)

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