In looking back at the posts I have made lately, I haven’t really taken a step back and looked at the blog and how far its come. It was a perfect time for self-reflection, as one of my favorite blogs, The Well-Red Mage, brought up a great reflective post idea: “What Have You Learned Since You Started Blogging?”
To begin, this blog is my first real attempt at a blog. I have been a part of message board communities and the like, but never to the depth or independence of my own blog (until now). Therefore, my reflection really centers on this blog.
The guidelines for this reflection are to explore what you’ve learned, why you started blogging, and a look back at some of my first posts. I think the best analysis will be looking back at my original motivation for blogging, and what I have come to learn from that.
Reason #1: Outlet and Motivation to Play Games
Originally, my big push to finally start a blog was to give an additional outlet to discuss the games I had been playing. Sharing my experiences online, delving into the hype, and summarizing my thoughts just gave more meaning to all those hours sunk into games.
What I’ve come to learn is that the blog has fueled this purpose as intended. I have been more active in playing games in my backlog, more active in getting newer titles, and most importantly, more active in my critical review or viewpoint when playing through a game.
Ultimately, playing games should just be something we all want to do, not something that has to be done. Funny enough, by sometimes telling myself that I need some new blog fodder for discussion, I am more motivated to play a title I would otherwise ignore.
Furthermore, I have been much more cognizant of what the game I am playing is trying to accomplish, and what its strengths and weaknesses are. This has actually helped get through some of the weaker titles, as I can recognize its flaws, and still look for some positives to include in a review.
Reason #2: Creation of Own Online Space
Back in the early days of the Internet, I was very much into creating web sites, learning HTML, and just figuring out the whole online formula. I had been away from any kind of web site design/building for so long, I wanted to see what it was all about all over again.
What I have learned since starting this blog is that the ability to create and design your own personal online space is so, so much more powerful (obviously). WordPress is free, and has many powerful functions within just the free side. Paying for hosting and the additional upgrades isn’t too much. The whole process is highly accessible.
I’ve also learned of the wealth of material available for those who want to start out. YouTube, tutorials, and other bloggers are all producing content to help you get your content out there.
Reason #3: Collaboration/Community
The last impetuous for my blogging genesis was to connect with and share gaming experiences with those who share a similar passion. Increasingly, I have found many people in my day to day life are not able to play with the same breadth and depth of the past. When I want to talk about new or niche games, I need to go online.
I quickly learned that there is a great community right here on WordPress that has been welcoming and collaborative. I have also learned that as you find a group of like-minded bloggers, you will quickly find other associated groups and soon you are following more great blogs than you can keep up with.
Which leads me to a corollary to all of this…
Just put it all out there, and it will work out
The big thing I have learned independent of my original purposes is that the key to continuing a blog for a long period of time is to just “go with it.”
What I mean is that you need to not necessarily worry what others want, or what would be the popular choice. Talk about what you feel like talking about. You don’t need to post everyday, and it doesn’t all need to be long posts about the hottest topics. Genuine content about a topic or subject you are passionate about comes across much better than the alternative.
Another blogger I’ve followed for awhile who made a similar point is cary over at Recollection of Play. I feel like my point is another way of saying to right for yourself, rather than try to force something for an audience.
Original Post Analysis
My first “real” post was this review-esque blog about Persona 4.
I remember writing this post on a plane and not really having any idea on how to organize my thoughts. I was trying to fulfill all of my reasons stated above, and I was clearly not sure how to get there.
The post itself is real short and leaves a lot to be desired. It’s actually funny to see how far my posts have (hopefully) come since that time, as I’ve come to find more of a voice and also a much better format for review and impressions.
In sum, I’ve enjoyed this reflective exercise in taking a meta-look back at this blog’s roots and seeing how far it come. I am quite surprised I’m still getting out weekly articles more than a year later. Here’s hoping for at least another year!