Thinking back on this blog: 2009 Edition
I say “2009 edition” even though it’s really a first edition. First of several, I hope! I’ve been wanting to do a meta post for such a long time but never dared. After all, this blog is still very young, too young to deserve a deep, thoughtful meta post.
BUT! I’m going to use the changing of the year as an excuse to pretentiously write about my blog. I wanted to follow the trend set by Matticus by going over my favorite posts of 2009. However, it would really be my favorite posts of the past three months. Which would be silly.
So instead, I’ll do K’s Pretentious Blogging Meme. I have a lot to say, so my apologies to those of you who’ll be reading this via reader. For everyone else, I’ll use a cut.
1. How long have you been blogging? What made you start? Who inspired you?
That’s not one question, that’s three questions! THE MEME IS CHEATING.
I actually kept a personal blog for, um, I’m guessing 2 years or so. (Surprise!) It was your typical teenagery blog. My friends and I each had our blogs where we’d rant about our parents or whoever we were dating at the time, then leave each other comments. It was lots of fun, but not intended for outsider eyes.
I started up this blog in March/April (I can’t remember!), but didn’t get really into it until about September. I was an avid blog reader and it just seemed like those writers were have so much fun. While bloggers will usually tell you they started blogging because they loved to write, I followed a different route. I hated writing. Hated it! But I loved WoW. Maybe I could use WoW to teach myself to write semi-decently. Maybe it would help me write those pesky school assignments.
Who inspired me? I can’t name them all! But there were three main ones. Siha’s Banana Shoulders was the first WoW blog I followed. I was looking for holy paladin information and fell in love with her writing. Through Banana Shoulders, I discovered the Pink Pigtail Inn. Instead of focusing on class information, Larísa and Elnia (brilliantly) write about their thoughts and opinions of the game itself. I was immediately hooked. (Fun fact, Larísa wrote the very first real comment my blog ever received and I was completely starstruck. It took me forever to calm my giddyness enough to answer.) Eventually, I figured I should check out this BRK person everyone was talking about. Again, I was hooked. While I didn’t care about hunters, his writing was so incredibly entertaining that I couldn’t help but look forward to his next post. I burst into tears when he announced he would be retiring from WoW blogging. (I still follow his personal blog religiously, but it’s not the same.)
Those three blogs together sum up my three ideals when it comes to blogs: well written information, insight and entertainment.
I can’t move on to the next question without mentioning that the Twisted Nether Blogcast was really what got me updating this blog more frequently. Listening to passionate people talking about blogging on a regular basis was a huge motivator and I don’t think I would have gotten this much into WoW blogging without it.
2. About how many hours a week would you estimate you spend on your blog?
It really depends. Now that I’m on holidays, between writing and answering comments, it feels like blogging is all I do. I don’t blog on a schedule though, so the amount of time I spend on my blog is dependent on the amount of free time I have.
If you want numbers, I’d say I’d spend about 2 hours on half assed posts, and anywhere from 4 to 8 hours on the posts I’m relatively proud of. I’m a slow writer, my concentration is horrible and I’m big on detail. Style is super important to me, so I can spend up to an hour just writing and rewriting a single sentence.
3. What kind of experience or background do you have with writing?
But I’ve always been fascinated with story telling and I read a lot. It would be lying to say I have no experience at all with writing. Since I would spend my every waking hour inventing stories, my parents and teachers made me enter a lot of writing contests back in high school. No one else ever ran so I would tend to win by default, which was nice. I got a lot of books out of it.
My proudest moment is coming in second place in a national historical writing competition. I was 15 at the time and wrote a (26 page, omg) fictional journal chronicling the journey of the La Vérendrye family as they explored Canada in the 1700s. I won 400$ and was (apparently) published, which was exciting. 10 years later, I still have the “you win!” letter on my billboard.
The year after that, I wrote a bilingual historical novel as an end-of-high-school final project. It’s a cheesy and terribly embarrassing piece of worthless crap, but I did get a 96% and won a few school-level awards for it. Plus it was a great learning experience. I learned that I never want to write another novel again.
4. Talk about how you come up with blog topics. Where do you get your ideas? What or who inspires you? Where and/or how do your brainstorming?
Another cheating question!
I’m not sure where I get my ideas. I find it funny when bloggers say they don’t know what to write about because I have more ideas that I can handle. I wish my brain would shut up. The paladin-oriented or other informational posts generally come from questions I receive or mistakes that I notice. The silly story-type posts are born when a funny WoW-related thing happens to me. My mind immediately goes into overdrive and tries to figure out how I could share the hilarity of the situation with the world. The shared topics come from the Shared Topic forum at Blog Azeroth.
I do my brainstorming all over the place. Often when I’m outside walking (I love walking, I walk all the time), but sometimes through Twitter, through email. I’ll brainstorm to whoever puts up with my rambling.
5. Do you have any blogging rules or guidelines you follow? Is there anything you will not blog about?
It has to be fun to write about. If I’m drafting something and not enjoying myself, I stop immediately. To me, writing is a hobby, something I do as an aside to get away from the crazy intense world I live in.
Ethics are also very important to me. If I get an idea from someone, I’ll link to them. If I’m writing on a topic, I’ll provide links to similar posts. I try to be as respectful as possible in my writing. I avoid singling people out (unless I’m praising or gently teasing them) and I keep negativity to a strict minimum. I do my best to not use blogging as an alternative for direct communication. It’s hard since I’m a very shy person and blogging is much easier for me than actually talking to people, but I give it my best shot.
Since SOME PEOPLE have complained about my walls of textyness, I’m working on being concise. As you can see, I fail miserably, but I try! (As a blog reader, I personally prefer long posts – I complain that my favorite bloggers don’t give me enough to chew on.)
Oh, and another rule I’ve set for myself is to answer every comment personally, as much as I can. I can see why bloggers who receive a lot of comments don’t have that luxury (even for my little corner of the internet, answering comments is incredibly time consuming), but I get frustrated with bloggers who never answer. There are some blogs I refuse to comment on for that very reason.
6. Do you have any sort of a publishing schedule in terms of day of week or topic? Where do you do your writing?
I do the Shared Topic every week. That’s as far as I go. I know, I know, I’m supposed to update 2-3 times during the week and not on weekends. But I write when I have time and when I feel like it. Then, when I’m finished a post, I’m far too excited about it to wait on publishing it.
I do my writing wherever. At home, at school, at the coffee shop. As long as I have a few spare hours and a computer.
7. How many drafts of potential blog posts do you have right now? In what medium do you draft your posts? How often do you completely scratch or delete drafts or blog post ideas?
My draft bin says “19”, but most of them are tidbits or crappy posts that have been recycled. I usually draft right in WordPress, but I’ll use Word if I don’t have internet access. I’m sitting on 2 actual potential posts right now. I rarely delete crappy drafts because there are always sentences or jokes that could be copied and pasted into a new post.
8. If you had to leave your blog in your will to another blogger, who would you choose? To ask this in a slightly less morbid way, are there other blogs that you feel are similar to yours in content, style, or voice?
This blog goes down with me!
I’m not pretentious enough to believe my writing comes anywhere near the quality of the various bloggers I admire. But I am pretentious enough to say that I work pretty hard on being unique. Whenever I take on a topic, I ask myself, how can I make this topic mine. I like straying from the beaten path, often in ways that are scarily and awkwardly personal. But I love it. The further I go, the more fun I have.
9. Has anything surprised you since you started blogging?
How addictive it is! I used to say “man, I can’t wait to go home and play WoW!”. Now I say “man, I can’t wait to go home and blog!”
It’s just so much fun! I write predominantly for myself, like a creative writing exercise. But when I notice people actually reading what I write, clicking on links and, omg, actually commenting… It’s incredible. I’ve been blown away by the quality of comments I receive and how warm and welcoming the WoW community is.
10. What are your goals or plans for your blog going forward? Any specific goals or plans for your blog in 2010?
One thing I’d love, love, love to do would be a collaborative post. I do have something in the works where I’m tossing emails back and forth with an expert on a topic (I’m expecting another month or so for a post be ready), but it’s not exactly what I want to try. I want to find a like minded person who could actually see the fun in sitting in Skype with me all night, discussing a topic and arguing over wording.
It’s just something I’ve never done before. I love trying new things and adding another challenge to my list.
I’d like to do some more guest posting as well. I was given the opportunity three times, once for World of Matticus, once for Gnomeaggedon and once for More Bars Than You, and each one was both very scary but very fun to write. Definitely a great experience.
In a different vein, I’d like to comment on other blogs more than I do. I’m shy and words don’t come quickly to me, but I’m hoping that with practice I’ll get better at it!
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT.
My not-so-short answers to K’s blogging meme. Maybe I should have broken this up into parts. Ah well.
WoW blogging been a crazy and exciting adventure so far and I hope that I keep finding the time do it. I’ve only been open about having a blog for a few months and I’ve already met so many awesome people. If the past is any indicator of the future, then I can’t wait to see what this adventure will bring me in 2010.