This past weekend I was so exhausted I completely forgot about writing for this blog until late Sunday night as I was getting ready for bed, thus the delay in posting something today. I’m not sure what the issue was; I slept twelve hours Friday night, another ten on Saturday night and I took naps off and on all weekend. This from someone who generally gets about six hours of sleep a night. I might have gone ahead and worked out a post last night had I already decided on a topic for today but with nothing specific in mind (or nothing that I could write quickly at least) I figured I would just skip a day.
It turns out I have some time this afternoon in between finishing up a few work projects and so I decided to write a little about my blogging from the first three months of 2016. I’ve been posting something five to six days a week for almost three months now; something I would have never thought possible when I started blogging last year and I’ve learned a lot from the activity. This started in January with a new approach to blogging which I’ve continued to adjust until reaching a more or less comfortable equilibrium of writing and gaming during the free time that I have available without compromising the central importance of family and of Jesus Christ in my life. With three months under my belt I’d like to reflect a little on the experience.
Quantity, not quality…
Okay, that’s not exactly my philosophy but I have found that writing shorter posts consistently is much better for me in the long run than trying to write longer, more involved posts that often take up hours and hours of my time. I’ve learned to write somewhere around 500-700 words and have it posted all in about 30-40 minutes which is much better than the 2-3 hour posts of 1200 words I was writing more often than not last year. And while I certainly am not the greatest of writers, I do think the challenge of writing succinctly on a regular basis and allowing myself only one editorial pass per piece (I do cheat a little sometimes) has improved my abilities.
I’ve also seen more traffic on my blog because of the amount of writing I’m doing, which is something I had never thought about before. It makes sense now that I’m looking at the statistical reports on wordpress; if you have one hundred posts each being read once per day you’re going to have more hits than if you have 20 posts being read by twice as many people. This of course is not a reflection of engagement or quality, but it does create a kind of momentum and I’ve certainly seen far more followers added to my list and at least a couple of regular contributors via comments or “likes.”
Churning out ideas
One of the challenges to writing this often is coming up with ideas for daily postings. At first it was easy; having taken off from writing for about six months I was fit to burst on things I wanted to include in the blog. However in time either the well of ideas ran dry, or I found that a few concepts didn’t have the legs to make a full post, or the time between conception and execution was so long that I was no longer interested. I never erase those unused ideas from my list— even now I have a backlog of potential blogs from back in January—but the longer they go unwritten the less likely it seems they ever will be. That’s one of the reasons I started writing daily again rather than trying to do it all in a 2-3 hour block on the weekends. Often ideas have a momentum that can be easily lost if they aren’t put to proverbial paper quickly enough.
My Sunday posts I’ve found to be the most challenging. This is the day I’ve set aside to write on spiritual concerns related to my daily experiences as a follower of Jesus Christ but it’s not always easy to write a post of this nature. They take a lot more work so I’m learning I need to start them sooner than the night before (something that works throughout the rest of the week) and honestly whether or not I have something to write is a pretty good reflection of where my head and heart are at spiritually at any given time.
Lately work has been busy and I’ve come home (or gone back to a hotel more often than not) completely exhausted. Prayer and reading the Bible are both these funny activities that often require a bit of “oomph” to get started but once you do get going they become extremely refreshing. In other words, they are both opportunities to find rest in the Lord but often require overcoming the barrier of getting started and I’ve failed more often than not to do so in the last two weeks. It reminds me of physical exercise in that regard. I do plan on picking these writings back up again soon as they are some of my favorites to publish; hopefully you’ll see something posted this weekend.
Where do I go from here?
I’d like to continue writing more or less as I have been, however I do think creating a little structure might help me continue writing for the next three months. To start, I’d like to continue setting goals each month for the games that I’m playing, although I am going to tweak that a little bit because as March has illustrated, I bit off way more than I could chew and I need to be a little less specific with the side games I’m playing. Nevertheless, it’s a good way to have a focus for how I spend my time gaming in general and I’ve certainly appreciated the outline I set for The Secret World, even if I didn’t accomplish everything on the list.
Using the monthly goals as a starting point, I’d like to write regularly on the games I’m playing from that list; perhaps once weekly on each game. That will give me at least two to three posts that I can count on each week and will leave me a couple days for writing about anything else that comes to mind. This isn’t a rule set and stone, just a springboard for weekly ideas that I can use so that I’m not staring down five posts a week and wondering whether or not I’ll have an idea for each day. This month you’ll probably continue to see a lot on The Secret World with the addition of Stardew Valley and Tree of Savior. I also plan on playing The Deadly Tower of Monsters once a week or so until I’ve completed that game and I finally started Life is Strange so I have that to look forward to as well.
Beyond using a monthly list of goals as a regular source for topics, my other blogging goal is to write one or two of these posts each evening either before or after I’ve been in game and to keep them at about 500-700 words (not this one of course, it’s already at 1200…) Basically I want to continue with what I’ve been doing but refine the process a little more and make sure I have enough source material to keep going. It’s been a lot of fun getting back into the blogging scene during the first quarter of 2016 and if I can keep at it for the rest of this year I’m really looking forward to seeing how I grow as a writer.