Me time, retro gaming, music, and a lesson for the #NBI

I think that one point that gets hammered in by veteran bloggers tossing out advice to new writers is as old as the ages: Write for yourself first and foremost.  You simply won’t have fun otherwise and you won’t succeed in anything.  This extends to gaming as well.  I mean, I’m not dumb; I know that if I just played and blogged about the most current and popular MMOs, I’d probably rake in a lot more hits than jawing about LOTRO and Space Freaking Quest.

But I almost never look at my hits.  I used to obsess about them early on — they and comment numbers meant so much as a concrete measure of whether I was doing well.  Somewhere along the line, I stopped caring because whether ten or a thousand people read my post, I want to write it because I want to write it.  It’s an outpouring of my enthusiasm and interest, and if it connects with fans, great.

I sometimes wonder whether Bio Break readers get annoyed at my retro gaming posts.  I try to do a standard (usually MMO-related) post early in the day so it’s not just retro gaming wall-to-wall here, but I can’t shake the impression that I’m making a fool out of myself to some people who might come here for serious gaming talk.  And here I am, gushing about EGA-era titles, a rapidly-approaching-middle-age guy apparently attempting to relive his childhood.  But it’s fun and I’m quite used to feeling foolish, so why not write about it?

Documenting my journeys through both MMOs and retro games have given me a greater sense of purpose to gaming.  Some people may whinge that blogging is dead and aren’t we dabbling in an archaic medium, but I call wet blankets for what they are.  You may express yourself through art; I do it through writing and occasionally stammering on a podcast.  It’s a format that lends itself well to thought-out, detailed, and flexible articles that can be written and self-published easily.  You can read faster than listen or watch videos, so I think that blogs and articles will always have an advantage with people who value their time.

Through blogging, I’ve certainly gotten my money’s worth from those titles that I binge-purchased over at GOG.com.  How many games do you have sitting in your digital libraries that you’ve barely or never played?  Blogging’s provided ample motivation and a weird sense of public accountability to engaging with them.

MMO video game music?  Aren’t we just insane for taking gobs of time to put together a podcast that reviews such a niche-within-a-niche-within-a-niche interest?  Battle Bards will never sweep the globe and we know it, but the numbers and fame aren’t our goal.  We do it because we feel we must, because it’s a hoot to do, and because those who appreciate what we do share their gratitude and perspectives.

I can’t not write.  When I started MMO blogging, I publically stated that I’d be posting three times a week.  I broke that by day two and haven’t stopped since.  Writing pours out of me because I want to share these nutty thoughts and to entertain and to hopefully become better at this one skill that’s better than most that lies within my vaults.  Recognition?  Acclaim?  Money?  Connections?  These are all perks and are nice, but they’re incidental.  I’d blog no matter what and I will probably keep doing so for a long time to come.

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14 thoughts on “Me time, retro gaming, music, and a lesson for the #NBI

  1. Personally, I love the retro gaming posts. It’s a nice change of pace from most of the other blogs that I read.

  2. So wait a second here. You’re not filthy rich from blogging? The world is full of lies!!

    Aside, imagine if you couldn’t write, where all that energy and thought would clog up. It’s so therapeutic.

  3. Actually, I find the retro gaming series easier to connect with than posts about current happenings in MMOs that I’m not playing (which is most of them, since I only do two, and only one overlaps with your set). I rarely comment, but as long as you’re enjoying writing I’m enjoying reading. Good thing you don’t care about comment numbers, eh?

  4. Well said. Blogging, like most things, is worth doing because because you want to do it or because you have to do it. How the idea of fame or fortune got mixed in there is beyond me.

    And yes, I like the retro posts too, even if I rarely comment on them.

  5. Exactly. I look at hits for fun, to see what seems to trigger eyeballs on a page, but I never let it stop me from posting or writing what I want to write.

    Honestly, if we wanted to monetize a game blog, the simplest would be to go the dulfy and ‘make gold fast’ guide route. I wrote one tiny Marionette guide this January and advertised it on the relevant Reddit, and it just… exploded with hits. That one post probably would match the rest of my posts for the year combined.

    You don’t see me rushing to write a guide for every last little thing. That would be -work-. I’m blogging for fun and because there are things that want and need to be said.

    In the long run, I think that’s what also makes successful bloggers. Being yourself, sharing your interests and your own unique viewpoint. Readers who want to read you will find you, and it really doesn’t matter how many there are, when you write first and foremost for yourself.

    It is just nice and flattering when you eventually find out that there are people out there who do read and enjoy what you have to say. Others will hate or not care. So be it.

    And newbie bloggers just need to realize that they can never please everyone. Playing it safe, being intimidated by what other people think, being disappointed if no one responds, it stifles your own creativity and the well dries up. No, write for yourself, to find your own voice, because ultimately, it’s you who receives the primary benefit from articulating and recording your thoughts and memories.

  6. Nutty Thoughts; Do robotic squirrels dream of electric nuts?

    keep your nutty thoughts flowing please :)

  7. Lovely to read :) I had been going forth and back regarding my two blogs, as I had been feeling uncomfortable for having two separate blogs for specific reasons. Thinking of combining the two together again and go back to my original reasons why I started blogging in the first place. So, an assuring piece for me :)

  8. Sound advice, and count me in as another reader who’s been enjoying the Nostalgia Lane series. It basically lets me see all the games I only ever heard about as a kid, without actually having to invest any significant amount of time into actually playing them myself – plus I get to skip all the annoying or boring bits. How is that not awesome?

  9. Depending on the game, I may enjoy your retro posts more than current titles because of the nostalgia. I have been wondering if you ever played the ZZT series of ANSI adventure/action/puzzle games. http://www.classicdosgames.com/online/zztfull.html
    They used a lot of classical harpsichord music throughout as well, though the midi version is not quite as good as I remembered.

  10. I read every Nostalgia Lane I see… except for Gabriel Knight 2, which I fully intend to play myself. In this age of spoilers, where no matter where you go people are in your face about spoiling the latest thing, I still prefer gaming purity. If I knew the full story before going in to play something, it’d kill my enjoyment immensely. And isn’t that the whole point? Enjoyment?

  11. I just want to chime in and say that your Nostalgia Lane posts are some of my favorites. I’ve thought about doing something similar myself, but haven’t quite found the right game yet, and I’m not sure if I would be able to do it as regularly as you.

  12. Pingback: Weekly Round Up #2 | The Newbie Blogger Initiative

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