A Bit of Reflection: “What Have You Learned Since You Started Blogging?”

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.

Backlog Meme

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.

Wordpress Logo

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.

Mario Playing Games

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.”

Fallout Thumbs Up

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.

Persona 4 Golden Logo

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!

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13 thoughts on “A Bit of Reflection: “What Have You Learned Since You Started Blogging?”

  1. Glad to see you did a post like this as well! I recently answered the Well-Red Mage’s question myself, and it was fun to see how far I’ve come since my days as a silly teenager complaining about high school 😉

    I also love the WordPress community! It’s great to connect with like-minded people who share your interests.

    Isn’t it crazy how far graphic design/ website building has come? I actually have an A.S. in Computer Graphics and Design, and sadly, most of the skills I learned are pretty obsolete now. I remember building my own website with Notepad or TextEdit and nothing else… I typed out all the code!

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  2. I found this discussion interesting. I also found it enjoyable playing a game, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the game, identifying interesting or unique aspects of the game, considering how to explain the game and my feelings while playing the game and writing the post. I have also completed games just so I can create a blog post to describe the game and how it can be improved. I was not expecting to find out that you are able to write HTML code and can create websites. The advice seems useful as well, with the reviewer describing their own personal opinions about a game, rather than following a general consensus.
    What games have you played just to create a blog post? Would you consider creating your own website? With the code written by yourself? What would you change about the first post you wrote?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I should clarify and say that I havent really played a game solely because it would make a good post. Its more like, when deciding what game to play, if it could provide some interesting blog content, it might be the tiebreaker for me to try it first.

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      • Sorry, I think I didn’t express myself very well. I know some reviewers would deliberately play an unpopular game so they could create a review that would entertain readers by providing a brutal criticism of the game. I meant that, if I was playing a bad game, I would finish the game to the end, rather than abandon it. I would complete the game so I could still provide an in-depth review, that would analyse the game’s weaknesses, rather than forget about the game. Is this something you would do?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh I see your point now! Oh yes I think I definitely would. If it was so bad that I actually abandoned it, it’d probably be one awful game. And I’ve seen those types of intentionally brutal reviews normally done for the humor (same with movies). Luckily I’ve avoided most duds so far

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  3. A fantastic and interesting post! (Thanks for the mention, as well.) Post want you want, went you want, and the rest will follow. You’ve done a nice job fulfilling that. 🙂

    “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.”

    I have to admit that this notion has come to my mind more than once in recent years. Given just how hard it is to ignore that lots of games are happening outside of one’s personal gaming space, the thought of stepping outside that comfort zone simply for a blog post or two is both questionable and compelling. Like, right now, I’m feeling that way about Persona 5. It’s not something I’m interested in playing, but, I think, if I were to play it, would that give me something to talk about? I don’t know. And I don’t know that it would be worth it in the end. Gaming can reinforce blogging, but blogging shouldn’t force gaming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree in that I don’t think I’d purchase and play a game simply to be able to blog, but more that when deciding what to play next, if I think I can start a nice discussion on a certain game, I might be nudged that way. So I guess its a better way to say it can be used as a tiebreaker.

      I will also say that having a blog has made my appreciation of certain games all the much more. Witcher 3 for instance – I love hearing what people think about the game after I’ve put my thoughts out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic reflections!

    Learning to keep it consistent was a really important lesson.
    If you intend to do one post a month, do the one post a month.
    If it is once a week, always do once a week. You can always
    write bonus posts & extra content (for times when you have
    writers block, or are busy) but not blogging regularly leads
    to inertia. The four stages of blogging are as follows.
    ACTIVE, FREQUENT, INFREQUENT, INACTIVE.

    The lower the frequency, the higher the inconsistency, the
    faster the blog disintegrates. Consistency is KIng 👑👓👑

    Outside of that, the sky is the limit, you can blog about what
    ever comes into your mind, experiment, try new things, edit,
    update, explore other blogs, collaborate, it is really amazing!

    The WordPress community is so fantastic & there is always
    something new to discover & learn. It really is a self-directed
    learning process which encourages so many different skills!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment! And yes, I try to tell others that ask about blogging, but are often offput by what they think is a huge commitment, to just start and see where it goes. You get to pick your schedule, so why not try?

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  5. “Sharing my experiences online, delving into the hype, and summarizing my thoughts just gave more meaning to all those hours sunk into games.” This was exactly my mindset when I started to and I try to use it now and then to convince someone interested in writing on games to go ahead and just do it. As I get older and my time is split between entertainment, family, work, and so on, I really had to reevaluate why I was spending so many hours playing video games. Writing about them is a good “excuse” and very enjoyable.

    Thanks so much for participating in our little community exercise. I love being here at WordPress because I get to rub shoulders with so many talented writers. Being a part of this group of bloggers has been a really encouraging experience and reminds me how much we need each other, to speak into each other’s lives, as humans. Just getting your work out there, like you said, is a great word of advice! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for promoting the topic! It was a nice exercise of self reflection that I had not touched on or had really thought about recently.

      Also, I agree that such a mindset works as a nice “excuse” especially with other commitments. Sometimes I get so dialed in on being “productive” that I have to add some layer of productivity to what really is a relaxing and leisurely activity. All about mindset I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

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