Sunday, July 29, 2018

I, Me , Mine

By now, everyone reading this knows it's Blaugust. Okay, technically it's not Blaugust until Wednesday but this is Blaugust Prep Week, which might as well be Blaugust for Mentors, of which I am one.

Belghast's plan was for everyone who threw their hat (mine's one of those elaborate affairs with a feather) into the mentor ring to come up with some sage advice that might help and encourage the less-experienced, more nervous or possibly completely unprepared among this year's Blaugust intake.

There's been a plethora of posts already, all of which make some excellent points, but there are a couple I would particularly like to endorse, re-iterate and expand upon. This post is also a practical example of both the suggestions in question, so that's neat. There's probably a word for it. Autological recursion, that's the thing!

Wilhelm, who I would pick out as the blogger from whom I have personally learned the most over the years, says

"Don’t worry that somebody else has already posted about a topic if you want to write about it."

Too right! If you sit there, crossing off topics that you feel have been done to death and trying to come up with something new that no-one has thought of before you will literally never post anything at all.

If you do have some amazing insight previously unthought of in the annals of blogging, yay for you! They do exist. I read posts like that every so often and they're amazing. If I had to wait for one of those every time I wanted to read a blog, though, my Feedly would be nothing but tumbleweed for weeks at a time.


There are two great reasons to write a post about something everyone else has already written about (some of them twenty times over). 
  1. You're already thinking about it. That means you're interested in the topic, whatever it is. If you're interested in what you're writing about, your writing will be interesting. Or it could be. That's up to you. You can be as fresh about a stale topic as you can be stale about a fresh one. 

  2. Your potential audience is already thinking about it - and out there actively looking for posts about it. There's a reason the same subjects come up over and over again - they're what matter to people. Plenty of those horses aren't really dead; they're just sleeping. The issues themselves have not been resolved. Just because everyone and their Aunt Ethel already had a thrash doesn't mean you can't get a few licks in as well. Get in there and see if you can't wake the darn thing up!
What's more, if you haven't written about it before then everything you say about is going to be new. And even if you have written about it before, maybe your opinion has changed or you've learned something since the last time.

Aywren, one of the most articulate and insightful bloggers in this quadrant of the blogosphere, has something to add which dovetails perfectly with the point Wilhelm is making. She talks about the importance of finding both your voice and your audience. She says 
"...establishing your blogging voice and knowing who you’re writing for early on makes things easier". 
It really does. Ironically, it can also be a lot harder than you might think. Some writers seem to be born with their own, unique, unmistakeable voice but most of us have to go through the same process as the video games we play.

Your blog probably won't emerge full-blown, first post, in all the glory and splendor of mid-WotLK WoW.  More likely you'll look back on your early efforts as some kind of pre-alpha. Here, take a look at one of mine from just under seven years ago.


At that point I hadn't thought of starting every post with a picture and I hadn't discovered the trick that breaks Blogger's inbuilt width limits. I also thought small spot illustrations akin to those I used to use in apazines were cool and for some insane reason I thought it was a great idea to begin every post on MMORPGs with a link to a music video on YouTube.

And none of those were bad ideas. I could have stuck with them all and maybe made them work. But they weren't my best ideas. They were stages in a process, stations on a journey. Blogging is iterative. Each post builds on the post before. Keep putting up those posts and your voice will emerge. Eventually.

It's one of the things that throws some people off at the beginning, but don't despair. If you stick at it your voice will find you - and so will your audience. Keep writing, keep experimenting. Switch things up a little sometimes. Don't be afraid to try something different.

It won't always come off. Apparently I was the only one who appreciated Furglebin although Milo struck a chord with some. I wonder what Milo and Furglebin are doing now...?

One final thought . I ended up there linking to myself and talking about me. I can do that. This is my blog. I made it to entertain and amuse myself and seven years on that's still the main reason it exists. Your audience is important but never as important as you.

We none of us in this corner of blogdom are doing this for a living. We may be doing it for fun, to meet a creative or emotional need, for attention, for self-improvement, for lack of a better idea but in the end, whatever the reasons, we are doing it because we want to.

See how much I've learned in seven years? No, don't thank me, you're welcome!


  1. I admire your double wide columns. And the writing as well, of course. Your older column was wonderfully composed and analytical. You clearly were born to blog.

    1. Thanks! The weird thing about re-reading that post is that it obviously made sense to me when I wrote it but now it's just a huge load of detail about something that means nothing at all. It may be composeed and analytical but it's also incomprehensible!


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