Friday, August 31, 2018

Then We Came To The End

It's been a trip but I can't say I'm sorry it's over. Turns out there's a very good reason I don't normally post on work days. It makes me slightly stressed, it mildly irritates Mrs Bhagpuss and sometimes I just don't have much to say.

Okay, that's not true. I always have something to say. I had plenty to say last night, when all I ended posting was screenshots. I just didn't have time to say it.

Now that the summer's over and Blaugust with it, several people have chosen to cast a glance at what's behind us. SDWeasel, Gracie, Aywren, Marathal, Mailvaltar, Shadowz, Nogamara, Eldarieal, Wilhelm, Sandrian, Endalia and probably many  more I've missed. Of all the wrap parties, perhaps the most intense was thrown by Endgame Viable, where UltrViolet, all of whose Blaugust posts I have very much enjoyed, chose to engage in a vigorous session of self-criticism worthy of the Cultural Revolution at its most unforgiving. I can only admire his rigor.

I would never be so harsh on myself. One of my fatal flaws is the innate self-confidence born of being an only child who grew up in a stable and loving environment. I do tend to feel pleased with myself a lot of the time even when there's little objective justification for it.

Looking back at my Blaugust output, I find that I managed to hit my target of posting every day. I even threw in a bonus post somewhere because when I post this wrap-up I'll be sitting pretty on thirty-two posts for the month. I said "post" too often then, didn't I?

Over the month, I ranged widely across the usual topics, repeating myself and trying to justify doing so by drawing attention to it. I guess I'm still a postmodernist at heart. (That sentence would run so much better as "I guess I'm still a postmodern girl at heart" but even in 2018 I don't think I'm going to go there...)

I was planning on subbing World of Warcraft for August just so I coud get some Battle for Azeroth posts out of it (without actually buying BfA, of course) but in the end I couldn't justify it because I had too much else going on. I would never have logged in. I very much enjoyed reading everyone else's experiences of the new expansion, which sounds pretty good to me. They varied so wildly it often sounded as though people weren't playing the same MMO let alone the same content.

Instead I bought Bless Online, which gave me a good run of posts mid-month. I'll be going back for more, most likely, although the biggest effect Bless has had on me is to remind me how much better Twin Saga and Dragon Nest were - and Black Desert, for that matter - so I may return to one or more of those instead.

Most of my Blaugust posts were lengthy. There's not too much filler in there. I did notice my fact-checking was slipping a little in the latter half of the month but mostly I still managed to do the requisite due dilligence before making any statements or claims I couldn't readily wriggle out of.

I'm pleased with that but I had, as always, hoped Blaugust would encourage me to write shorter, pithier pieces. As usual, I was disappointed. It's particularly annoying because I'm very well aware that shorter posts get a stronger response and I know that I sometimes weaken my own arguments by burying the main thrust of the post under the weight of all the connections I make while writing it.

In a way, the problem is that my posts aren't long enough. Some of them really need to be 5,000 word essays, not blog posts at all. And then there's the polish - or lack of it.

Back when I used to write reviews and articles for fanzines I would sometimes spend an entire week or more working on a single article of maybe fifteen hundred words. These days I often knock something like that out in a couple of hours. I don't know whether that's progress or not.

Whatever it is, it seems to be what I do and Blaugust has taught me, yet again, that I'm likely to keep doing it whether I want to or not. I'm verbose and I'll just have to live with it.

The best thing about this Blaugust hasn't been anything I did, though. It's been what everyone else was doing. Going in, I was really feeling the lack of good, new blogs. My Feedly was thin. Blaugust fixed that.

That's partly because Blaugust this year also incorporated the Newbie Blogger Initiative. The NBI always kicks up some great new writers but this year it outdid itself. There genuinely were more posts than I had time to read even though I did try. That's a happy problem to have.

Naming names is invidious and I'll leave it to Belghast to hand out the awards but I would just like to say that, of the bloggers I had never read before, I did particularly look forward to posts from Mailvaltar, Unidentified Signal Source, Moonshine Mansion, The MMOist and MMOsey.

Those are by no means all the new blogs and bloggers I really enjoyed reading, either. It was a vintage year all round. I very much hope you'll all keep posting after Blaugust ends even if right now you've fallen in a heap, mopping your brow with eau de cologne and croaking "Never again!"

Indeed, I hope everyone who gave it a crack carries on, at their own pace and in their own time, whether what they write is to my taste or not. Blogging isn't dead yet and it's not likely to be, not with this crew at the controls.

Congratulations to everyone who made it to the end - let's do it all over year!

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