This year there’s a ‘Blaugust Prep Week‘ run-up week before Blaugust proper starts. Kind of like the pre-patch stuff in World of Warcraft that just dropped on our laps this week too. For anyone looking to get into blogging, here are some thoughts on how I got started, why and what I’ve learned along the way.
I began the blog back on the 8th February 2011 with a clear motivation, having a reason for blogging can help to keep your momentum going, to keep you passionate about blogging itself. I was an avid gamer already, have been all my life, but I also wanted to write more. As an IT professional it’s too easy to never really write much of length in my native language – the IT world is full of slang, buzz-words and abbreviations. As I was planning to embark on study at the time I was conscious of the need to be able to express myself well and chose to start this blog just to practice the art of planning out thoughts, writing them up and editing the results.
I named it GamingSF, because at the time I was thinking about playing games with the language set to Spanish or German to practice those languages while having fun. Gaming Sans Frontières was a jokey, language+gaming title that I came up with off the cuff. I shortened it to make it easier to remember, thus GamingSF. It does make it look like I’m based in San Francisco, somewhere I’ve long wished to live, but the cost and problems of emigrating to the USA make that an unlikely occurrence. So, as Belghast discusses in the prep-week post I linked above, it’s well-worth taking some time to think about the title you want to use.
At the time there were more choices, perhaps, of platform than there are now. I chose WordPress.com, the free version, because I wanted this to be about writing blog posts and not about me spending precious free time fiddling with my own server’s config or administration. I still use this platform today, and haven’t found a compelling enough reason to move off it yet. Were I to want to make some small money on the adverts that appear amongst my posts, that would be one good reason. Others use Blogger (the main historical rival to WordPress), though I imagine there are probably newer platforms out there if you want to compare options.
For a few years I posted daily – I’m not quite sure how I kept that cadence going to be honest. For the remaining years I’ve tried to mostly keep to an every-other-day posting schedule. It works for me, except for when I’m away on holiday or on business. I like to post frequently, although my posts are shorter than many of the long-running blogs out there.
Topic wise: although I dip into MMORPG industry/game analysis on occasion, my mainstay for posts is “gaming diary” entries, that’s probably why I post with this frequency – I just find lots of aspects or occurrences interesting in the games I play. I have played more than one MMORPG for almost all the time I’ve been playing the genre (starting in 2007). At first it was just World of Warcraft, but less than a year later I went on to try Warhammer Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online alongside WoW. The list of new MMOs goes on and becomes confused by my returns to various games. Swapping between a few games at any given moment keeps me from getting bored with the grindy nature of the genre, and as a bonus gives me plenty of ideas for new posts.
The other mainstay of my blogging output is the use of screenshots in as many posts as possible. I just love taking screenshots in games, my hard drive and backup are full of thousands of them from all the games I’ve played for over a decade. If only I had a decent way of organising them…
So anyway, some thoughts on how I got started, what I write about and how often. Here’s to a happy Blaugust!