Monday, September 2, 2019

What Has Happened To Your Review? : Blaugust

"And so it goes, on with the show,
And all I hope, hope all your dreams will come true."

Another Blaugust over. Time to reflect.

I wasn't going to do this. I know Belghast scheduled a "Lessons Learned" week for the beginning of September but it feels a bit "after the Lord Mayor's Show", somehow.

Then again, everyone's doing it and I've enjoyed the reflections and self-examinations. So why not? I'm going to keep it short, all the same. Oh, yes I am. Quiet in the back!

I think the main Lesson I learned this year was that I should have skipped being a mentor when I realized I wasn't going to be 100% fit. I was in Discord for the week before the official start but then I had my various health scares and when that settled down it was a couple of weeks before I even remembered Discord was a thing.

By then it felt too late to jump back in and anyway I do find Discord quite a difficult proposition at the best of times. Either I respond immediately when it makes that little dinging sound, which means interrupting what I'm doing, or I leave it and hope to pick up on whatever was happening later, only by then I've either forgotten about it altogether or can't find whatever conversation might have been going on.

In all the years I've been computer-literate, going back to my first office job in the early eighties, I have never used any of the various instant messaging or real-time conversation programs/apps. I've always been an asynchronous communicator, replying in my own time to emails and forum posts and, these days, blogs and comments.

I think to be a really good Mentor for Blaugust, like Naithin, who was called out for service above and beyond by Quin, you do need to be able and willing to respond faster and more flexibly than I ever manage. That said, I'll probably flag myself up for Mentoring next year because by then I'll have forgotten everything I learned this time around.

I prefer this version of the logo. It's also very difficult to come up with illustrations for posts about Blaugust...
As far as posting goes, Blaugust '19 taught me that, given the free time to burn, I can blog more often than once a day with ease. I posted forty-two times in August (hi, Douglas), which is ten posts more than my previous monthly record, set (of course) in Blaugust last year. Even so, I still didn't overtake Wilhelm, who managed 49 posts in August as well as managing a full-time job and family life at the same time! Not that I'm competetive in any way, shape or form...

Last Blaugust I was at work and getting a post out every day was tough, particularly mid-week. It doesn't surprise me at all that the limiting factor for me is time, not inspiration or ideas. There were plenty of days when I could have done a second or third post from the half-formed possibilites buzzing around my brain. I only held back because I also wanted to play some games and even with the entire day to yourself there are only so many hours.

I also learned that opening up the blog to topics other than MMORPGs is an option. I posted a lot about music and writing those posts was always exciting and entertaining... for me. I'm not quite sure how far that goes for the readers here - the stats show the music posts tended to get fewer views than the rest - but I did get some positive comments.

The main thing I learned from The Blaugust Music Experiment is that I ought to follow my own advice. I am always telling Blaugustians that their blog should be for them, first and foremost. That they should write about what interests and amuses them and if they can be interesting and entertaining about it readers will go along with whatever they choose to focus on. And if even if they don't, it doesn't matter, because your blog is your blog and your readers are not the boss of you.

Ok, I've never actually said that last bit. It's true, though, even if saying it out loud does make you sound like a petulant adolescent who doesn't want to do his chores. Adolescents know the world as it should be, not as it is, and we could all do with some of that as we get older.

Somehow I missed this one until today. Would have used it more.
So, I plan on dropping in a few posts about music, here and there, when I feel like it, for as long as I enjoy it. Also I might post something about comics now and again, although there I really am going to sound like one of those bloggers who's locked in the past, when everything was better. I haven't read a new comic since about 1993. Well, a few.  Also books, movies, TV... I don't plan on going full media blog but a little variety couldn't hurt.

Lifting my gaze from my navel, Blaugust 2019 seems to me to have been a resounding success. Last year had, I think, more participants, but the engagement and energy levels this year seem to have been raised more than a notch.

There's been a ton of cross-pollination, with bloggers old and new linking and commenting and just mentioning each other in posts all over the place. And, as I said, I was absent from Discord, but from what people are saying it sounds like it was buzzing for the whole month. There's been a real sense of community about it all. Shame Gevlon's not around to tell us why none of it means anything, with the stats to prove it.

The sheer quantity of posts was overwhelming. Even with all day, every day to read them I still couldn't quite keep up. I was using my blog roll to follow everyone and there were days when so many people posted, some scrolled down so quickly I missed them altogether.

I don't really want to pick favorites but I did particularly enjoy Everwake's Internet Adventures, which has fast become one of the blogs I most look forward to reading. I was also very happy to see the return to more frequent posting by a few names from earlier Blaugusts, like Kluwes at I'm Not Squishy.

Anyhoo... I said I'd keep this short and I guess it is, for me. Every year at the end of Blaugust I swear I'm going to do more short, pithy, posts instead of 2000 word essays and every year my posts get longer. I'm not even going to bother saying it this time.

Goodbye to Blaugust 2019, It's been a blast. Discord will keep on ticking over, I'm sure. I might even log in once in a while.

Let's all come back and do it again next year!


  1. I thought I was keeping up OK (by my standards) at the beginning of the month, but after being on holiday for a week I was too busy just keeping up with my own playing and writing to pay much attention to Blaugust anymore... also, as a reader I definitely skip more posts when people post every day or even multiple times a day - it's just too much! That said, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and ultimately that's what matters with events like these.

    1. Yes, there were times when I definitely felt I was getting too much f a good thing in the sheer number of blog posts I was offered to read. Happened last year, too. I'm always quite glad when things quieten down in September, although I wouldn't want to go without the excitement of Blaugust. It's just as well it's only once a year, though!

    2. Agree with all this. Honestly I sometimes struggle to keep up as much as I'd like even *outside* of Blaugust.

      Still -- like you mentioned Bhagpuss, the excitement and energy levels of the event were really high. I did notice a bit of a tapering at the end, perhaps. But that's only natural I think when for most people this was more of a marathon event than their usual every day activity.

  2. Hey thanks a lot for your words about my blog. I've been reading you for longer than I can actually remember and that was a really great moment for me reading that.

    In fact, if I remember correctly, I think I found out/was reminded about Blaugust through your blog.

    So what I'm saying is that a lot of this is your fault.


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