Congratulations everyone on the completion of another Blaugust! Belghast put together another fantastic event, and I do not envy him now having to compile the results. :)
This is the first of my posts where I evaluate my Blaugust performance as part of the Lessons Learned week. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote last year but I recall I wrote a lot, so this year I’m going to try to avoid that.
Here are the writing statistics:
- 31 “official” Blaugust posts, one per day as planned. Most all of those posts were written and scheduled the night before publication.
- 16 “extra” posts published. These were written and posted outside of scheduled parameters, mostly in a futile attempt to keep up with Wilhelm hehe.
- 12 drafts written but not published. These were never finished or otherwise didn’t meet my rigidly mercurial editorial standards. They might someday be posted, but probably not, because I’ve already forgotten what they were.
Here’s what I learned: By pure accident and luck, I picked the greatest possible plan for me to approach Blaugust. I made a list of 31+ games to play. I installed a game every day, played that game, and wrote what I thought. It’s the greatest solution to “I don’t know what to write about” that I’ve ever come up with.
The first couple of days were difficult. The first week was challenging. The second week was easier. The third and fourth week, I was on auto-pilot and barely gave it a thought. It was just an ordinary part of my day, the easiest blogging I’ve ever done. All I had to do was sit down and look at a list, then do what the list says, then write for about 30 minutes about it afterward.
A few times I didn’t feel like playing a game at the appointed time, especially toward the end. Barring weather interruptions, I did it anyway, and was glad that I did. The moment I began the process, the very second that I stepped out of “I don’t feel like doing this” and started going through the rote motions of the process, most of my conscious thought disappeared and I fell right into the habit.
The point there is to stress how much easier a difficult project gets with time and repetition. I’ve never done a livestream every day for a month in a row before. It now seems like the easiest thing in the world. I have blogged every day for a month before, but I haven’t done it in a while, and never in this specific way, and it was hard at first. Now it seems like the easiest thing in the world.
In conclusion, starting is the hardest part of any creative project, no matter what it is. Also, having a project plan is a tremendous benefit. When you have to write 31 days in a row, knowing exactly what you’re going to write about on each of those 31 days is pretty useful. For me, at least. I’m constantly plagued by the “there’s nothing to write about” demon.
The second-hardest part of any creative project, for me, is after it’s over. I’ll be grieving the loss of the project for a while. I’ll be adrift with nothing more to focus my attention on. Once I finish these summaries I won’t have the slightest idea what to write anymore. The Steam Backlog Bonanza will become nothing but a fleeting memory. This always happens to me, and it’s just something I have to get through. It’ll be a rough few days until I think of the next project to work on. The first week of December after the end of NaNoWriMo is a pretty awful time for me, too.
Here’s one blogging-related lesson I learned, which I technically knew already, but it bears repeating: Don’t forget to put in descriptions for all the images you upload to your site as soon as possible. It’s a pain, but it’s a massive pain to do it later. I didn’t do that this month, and now I have probably over a hundred new images with no descriptions sitting in my media library that I can never search for.
What does the future hold? Definitely not blogging about a new game every day. For one thing, my backlog is quite a bit shorter now than it was before, so I couldn’t maintain this pace for very long even if I wanted to. Most of the games left are old retro games that I don’t particularly want to play, or some variation of Assassin’s Creed.
For another thing, it’s a job, and it’s quite silly to do a job without getting paid for it. If anybody happens to be out there looking for a writer to do a first look at a new game every day, I’m available. I’m joking of course. Nobody pays writers a living wage on the Internet. :)
I’ll probably be going back to my regular routine of blogging every now and then whenever the mood strikes me. Most of the “these are the experiences in a game I’m playing” will probably remain in video format, because it’s just so much easier and faster to produce, and can be done literally at the same time as playing the game itself.
The next blog-related project I’ll probably focus on is figuring out how to migrate to a new web host. This one is so painfully slow I can barely stand it (it’s a 5-year-old HostGator account, if you’re wondering). Along the way I’ll be figuring out things like archiving old content, and possibly re-branding.
I’ll talk about lessons learned from the livestreaming part of my Blaugust experience in another post.
One lesson I just learned is that “livestreaming” is one word, not two.