23 May, 2016
So, the big news I read today is that the Newbie Blogger Initiative (NBI) is coming next month. That’s pretty exciting news, as I thing game blogging is a great thing, and having more bloggers is better!
Let’s talk about why you should join the festivities and start your own blog.
Control your words
Look, I won’t lie to you and say that blogs are still the hot and happening thing. A decade ago blogs were the cool place to go for MMO news. You know, back when MMOs were cool, too. These days you’re more likely to see people posting their news on social media site. Get links to game news the same place you find a tweeted link to some celebrity’s Snapchat notification about an Instagram upload. Or, get news between your childhood friend’s baby pictures (again?!?) and your distant relative’s latest racist screed about some government conspiracy.
Your words on social media are ephemeral. What did I tweet about in June 2011? I don’t remember. But, I can show you the posts on here I wrote during that month. I control how they are shown and don’t have to pay anyone or cajole anyone into clicking a “like” button to get my words to appear in front of someone who wants to read them.
As a game developer, this is important to me. One thing I often do when posting on a topic is do a quick search for prior posts I made. I’ll link those prior posts so that people can get background, or so that I can show a prior position I held, and why it’s different now. Having a record of my words is important, and having control over that record is equally important to me.
It’s a community
While blogging is nowhere near as popular as it was before, there’s still a community out there. My own posting has often been sporadic, we’ll say politely, but there are others who are the anchors of the community. Doone at the XP Chronicles, for example, who is running this year’s NBI. Syl over at MMO Gypsy has been doing the blog thing regularly, and she’s a real pleasure to read. (Syl even has a recent post talking about blogs and posting frequency!)
The community extends beyond blogs, too. Some of us tend to hang out on other social media and talk there. Sometimes it even goes beyond text. I’m playing in a great tabletop RPG campaign run by the inimitable Ysharros with super cool guy Tyrannodorkus. (Actually, I saw news about the NBI returning on Tyrannodorkus’ site!) Sometimes the bloggers will create a guild together. Or play games together. I have a few other bloggers on my Steam friends list.
The Newbie Blogger initiative is your invitation into this community. Start by going to the NBI forums and sign up for an account. Read information, ask questions not already answered, and get introduced to people. Learn from others and become part of that community. After that, go follow the Twitter account or join the Discord channel. Participate!
It’s a chance to write
I love writing, possibly more than I love programming. (Shh! Don’t tell anyone, the “real programmers” will probably mock me if they learn this.) But, I’ve picked up a few things about writing along the way.
One common bit of advice is to write a million words as practice. Writing is one of those things that you improve by doing… and doing it a lot. A blog is a great way to get some of that practice in!
Don’t worry about the quality of the writing. Look, we all kinda suck when we start something new. If you go back and look at my posts from 2004, you’ll see my writing was uneven. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this blog, and I posted on a bunch of different things. Eventually I found my voice as a developer who could provide some insights into the game development process.
And here’s the secret: write for yourself. One good thing about blogs being less popular is that it clears away a lot of the bullshit ideas people had about becoming a big-time celebrity. Want to get millions of followers? Go do streaming while that’s popular. Your blog won’t attract a million readers. (Unless you count spam comments, then maybe… ;) But, if you write for yourself and look to improve your craft of writing, that will help you in so many ways in your personal and professional life.
Get ready to blog!
So, get ready to blog. Go participate in the NBI, and made some new friends. Get some free followers and easy links to your blog. Learn what you can from the old, experienced hands. Enjoy an excuse to write more than you would have otherwise!
And remember…. Blaugust is coming!