As part of the first phase of Blapril 2020, I’ve been tagged by Roger of Contains Moderate Peril to answer some questions about this blog. I’ve been reading his blog now for at least two years; a varied mix of gaming activity updates, blogging process diaries and movie reviews. It’s one of the blogs that inspires my own post ideas with some regularity. Do check his blog out if you’ve not seen it before! I also follow him on Twitter (@ModeratePeril) if that is of interest.
Gaming sans frontières or GamingSF has its origins in 2011 back when I was still relatively freshly graduated from a language degree (my second Batchelors, this time in German & Spanish). I was craving more reasons to use my languages than my work could provide, so I was flirting with the idea of playing MMORPGs in other languages, maybe even blogging about the games in those languages.
I was also blogging to practice writing in English about things other than computing. As with the linked post from last year’s Blaugust, I’ve found new relevance again this year in the blog’s name. As part of the currently postponed plans to move to Canada, I was just starting to ramp up rehabilitating my French skills, for the immigration points they can give me. Once test centres re-open in the UK, I’ll be taking the Institute Français TEF Canada exams.
So in the short-term, in this period of isolation, one of things I’m doing to entertain myself is looking for good Twitch streams or podcasts of gamers who broadcast in French (recommendations are welcome!). It’s unlikely this will bleed back into my blogging, I think I’d only ever make that switch if I were to get a job where I was immersed in the language more consistently.
Rather than find all the posts I’ve written on this in the past, I’ll keep this brief and as practical as possible. In my mind the most important advice I’d give is to write what you are interested in. There’s a real danger when writing about gaming that you end up gaming to write and not writing about your gaming. I’ve faced the temptation to log into a game because “I need to write a post tomorrow” or “oh that’s popular so I should play it”. If you want your blog to be a rising star then maybe that’s required to some extent, but this is such a fickle hobby and industry that I’d say, first and foremost, write about what really interests you – it’ll show in the writing.
Secondly, do try and have a schedule of some kind. Some pressure on yourself, if it’s not going to harm your well-being, can be a good motivation. I started out posting daily, then dropped down to every other day, but with the intention of writing slightly more in each post. I’ve maintained this schedule for years now and it works for me. If in doubt, try different schedules (weekly, twice-weekly, 3 times a week, etc.) until you hit your groove.
Read other blogs! It’s easy to let this fall off, but it is a great way of getting inspiration for writing posts yourself. I rather like community initiatives like this as they always bring plenty of good ideas for posts or even series of posts.
Most importantly, just give it a try. I suspect most blogs grow organically and take a longer time to do so. If you’re a social media wizard you might grow your traffic numbers quicker, but in my mind growth in interactions is much more important than raw visitor numbers. Blogging can be a very community-oriented activity; the number of comments and inbound links I receive matters more to me than the WordPress traffic graphs. With all that said if you enjoy the act of writing and have ideas for posts, then just keep on writing 🙂
I nominate the following bloggers to also join in on this community posting round, as blogs that I read – whether they are taking part in Blapril or not it’s a good topic. All is entirely voluntary, of course.