Roll (New Blogger) Initiative!
The New Blogger Initiative 2014 just kicked off, and I’m happy to again be a part of it. I’ve found it to be a meaningful exercise for everyone involved: it helps prepare and encourage new bloggers with posts and forum responses with tips and answers to questions, and it helps more veteran bloggers reflect on their time, their successes, and often more importantly, their mistakes.
The New Blogger Initiative can be found here: http://www.newbiebloggerinitiative.com/
Before this year’s addition, here’s a link to my old NBI posts in case any strike your fancy:
What, then, for this year? I’ve been thinking a lot about that since the NBI 2014 was announced, and I was, for a long time, at a loss. During the NBI AMA, I did have one good tidbit to contribute:
When a Red Dragon gives you an Exc++, you’d better take it seriously!
But really, that was pretty similar to what I’d said last year, which might be why I had such a good response prepared.
Since for the last two years I’ve tossed out advice on how to blog, I thought that this year perhaps I should examine why to blog. It’s been covered very well before, as the NBI archives show you, but it’s not anything I’d ever really carefully examined.
I started blogging in 2011, a half a year after I’d moved from NYC to Illinois. I didn’t have full time work, wasn’t teaching in the public schools, didn’t have a serious raiding guild, and felt, largely, bored and lost in my game playing. My professional identity – teacher – had been lost, and it was a major blow to my self-identification, and now my gaming identity was feeling weak, too. To feel more connected to a larger community, I decided to start blogging. It wasn’t really in response to anything I read, but more a sense of inflated importance of my own ideas and a lack of a larger group – something I had in NYC – to share them with.
Sharing, then is one of the reasons we blog. We all with our discreet backgrounds have different impressions of the games we play, our reasons for playing, and our interpretation of what happens while we play. We’ve all seen brilliant ideas come from bloggers – ideas that would never have occurred to us – because the bloggers’ unique backgrounds informed their perspective. Sharing those unique perspectives is one of the best reasons to blog, and when your sharing gets a really positive feedback, nothing feels better.
Often, though, the posts that attract the most attention aren’t the sharing posts, they’re the venting posts. Venting is another reason we blog; we all have bad experiences from time to time, and getting them out there for the world to see is cathartic. Sometimes, of course, you don’t get all positive feedback; I’ve been accused of causing the problems I was complaining about in the past, but sometimes that outside perspective is helpful when trying to really parse out what happened, and when I saw those more critical responses, I had to pause and reflect on what I’d done.
Of course, I exonerated myself in the end. I’m totally forgiving like that.
Disagreement, too, is a reason to blog. My NWN buddy mentions from time to time that the whole reason he got into blogging was because he disagreed with someone in such a long form that he needed to just write his own post (there’s more, but I’ll let him tell that story if he so chooses, which I’m encouraging him to for the NBI <wink wink nudge>). Of course, you shouldn’t build a whole blog around disagreement or you won’t make many friends, which, yes, is important in blogging, but not for a self-fulfillment kind of thing.
Having blogging “friends” is more for collaboration, which is another reason to blog. Working with others in our shared communities is one of the greatest joys that bloggers can find; just ask Doone and Roger Edwards, who are collaborating on running the NBI now (send them a thanks on Twitter when you get the chance). I’m sure they can talk to no end about the pride in their accomplishments. Of course it comes with hard work and some logistical frustrations, but when you see the outcome of that work, it’s truly beautiful. I’ve done a few collaborations, and whether they were larger team projects like the Individualism and Collectivism in MMOs series several of us ran a few years back or just swapping guest posts like @snozell and I did for PAX this year, I’ve really been proud of the outcomes. And remember that collaboration doesn’t even need to be formally announced; just responding to someone else’s post with a link back to the original is collaboration. I encourage you to do the same; seek out partners in crime!
So whatever your initial reasons for blogging, be they listed here or not, remember that there’s a variety of approaches you can take. Altering those approaches from time to time helps avoid burnout, as does the collaboration; nothing gets your motivation back up liking working with new partners, which, incidentally, if you’d like to partner up with me for any sort of collaborative endeavor, just ask! I’m always open to new ideas.