Posted in Blogging

Gaming Blogosphere Lull (Creative Encouragement)

blogging-quote

I wanted to take some time today to talk about something I’ve sensed since mid-April, but is just now being voiced by other bloggers in various ways. This is a lull I’ve been sensing in our general gaming blogosphere.

Dat Lull

For a while, I thought it was just me. I’m not so much seeing a dip in readers (it seems that BDO Horse Breeding Guides are much needed right now), but I sensed a lack of engagement, perhaps. I could tell other folks, who usually seem enthusiastic… were less so.

Now, I’m hearing various bloggers speak up about underlying issues, often dealing with a decline of interest in MMOs and MMO blogging. Like it or not, things that happened in the MMO space this year have shaken up even the most dedicated players/bloggers. We got a rash of posts about whether MMOs are dying. Morale overall took a dip.

I read about Bel coming to terms with blogging what he thinks is fun vs. blogging about MMOs that don’t currently spark his inspiration.

I read about Liore who is struggling with feelings of boredom, burn-out and overall discontent with some gaming attitudes.

I read about Weakness who is strong enough to break away from gaming and blogging when he feels like the hobby has overtaken more important things in his life.

Dat Inspiration

My response to all of this: This is good and normal for creative folks!! Don’t let it steal your creativity.

In risk of sounding corny, let me encourage you:

FOLLOW YOUR INSPIRATION!
FIND YOUR THING IN LIFE, AND DO WHAT MAKES YOU SHINE!

do-it-with-passionBecause when you’re doing what you love, it shows. When you’re struggling to do something just because you feel obligated to do it… that shows, too.

When you feel the creative well running dry, or you feel burned out, then it’s time to take a break or change your direction in life. And you don’t need to feel bad about doing it, either. Because you’ll be happier for it, and that joy will reflect in your work, your life, and your creativity.

Writers and creative folks can be fickle minds. I know that, and accept that about myself… though it’s not always easy when you WANT to have the discipline to do something long-term. Then you get disappointed in yourself when you feel burned out or when creativity/inspiration calls you a different way.

But, if you’ve lost the joy in creation, then you’ve lost what moved you to create to begin with. Don’t do that to yourself.

Dat Summer Internet Lull

I also wanted to touch on what I call the Summer Internet Lull.

This comes from being a webcomic creator for over 14 years. I can confirm that no matter how consistent your updates and how much you engage with your audience, summer time is a lull for everyone online.

You’d think it wouldn’t be — kids are out of school and should have more time to be online. But that’s just not the case. Folks are out on vacations. The weather is nice, and actually entices people away from their machines. Whatever the reason, there’s always a consistent lull that only seems to let up starting in late August, about the time when school starts again.

This effects everything: Blogging, MMO guildie logins, guild recruitment…

This is why I always thought that the Newbie Blogger Initiative was quite strategically placed at the beginning of this summer lull. The event drums up excitement as new folks get involved with existing bloggers, and that momentum seems to help carry the gaming blogosphere over the summer.

I was a tad bummed that it didn’t happen in May this year — but I just discovered we’re going to have it in June instead, so that’s fantastic. Let’s make some waves and encourage new creative minds! Sometimes giving to others refills our own creative voids. 

Still, don’t be surprised if you find this a lull time for your bogging numbers, if numbers are the metrics you measure success by.

Be Free to Be You

creativityAnyhow, if you’re still feeling inspired by gaming and blogging, do your thing. If you need a break, or want to expand to different types of content, do that, too.

Part of the reason why I don’t call this a gaming blog, even though that’s what I tend to write about, is because I learned my lesson about pigeon-holing myself into a specific topic. I want to give myself the freedom to be whoever I am at the point in time when I sit down to write a post.

The truth is, we are people who play games (gamers), but we’re more than just that. I love reading about games, but often, I’m following a blogger because I like reading about a person.

So, don’t be afraid of being a person, instead of just a gamer. That’s fascinating to your readers, too! 🙂

Author:

I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects! https://aywren.com/fantasy-fiction-webcomics/

13 thoughts on “Gaming Blogosphere Lull (Creative Encouragement)

  1. I thought about contracting in response to my perceived diminishing interest in MMOs and decided to expand instead by making another blog for my writing which has garnered a following that does not really overlap with people who read about gaming. What you’ve written here is a revitalizing gust of wind on the heels of spring in the faces of some of us who may have been wondering how we can come to terms with our creative identities outside the context of writing about games. Just as “play what you like” is always the correct answer to “what class should I play?”, “blog about what YOU are passionate about” should be the mantra of anyone who’s sitting there thinking they need to write something primarily for an external audience. Certainly you can and should take them into account, but writing for yourself without giving a flying flip is the source of much of our most powerful creative works.

    I just posted on a previous blog I hadn’t touched for nine months because I decided I don’t care any more and I’m going to write about whatever the hell I want. I’d strongly encourage anyone who’s read your post here to explore their writing interests without caring about page views.

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    1. Good on you! Keep writing!

      This blog has only lasted as long as it has because I write what I’m excited about and don’t care about the page views. I’ve learned that page views sometimes come when you’re doing something that you love consistently, because that passion and excitement attracts others. A reader can sense when you’re doing something because you love it. They walk away much more entertained than if you’re writing something because you think that’s what they want to hear.

      I’ve had a number of much more “niche-focused” blogs that failed before this where I tried to write about things that I was interested in, but not consistently passionate about. And no matter how hard I worked to drum up interest and an audience, it didn’t happen. A lot of those posts now rest in my “Museum” section. 🙂

      For this blog? If I’m excited about a Steam game I’m playing, no matter how old it is, I write about it. Did I get a new mount in a game? I write about it. Did I hear a cool song? I blog about it.

      If I want to write a guide about breeding horses in BDO? I write about it. And it turns out to be the article that earns page views — that’s cool, because that wasn’t my goal but it happened! It was useful to other people and it was something I was passionate in putting together. Win-win!

      Creativity is a personal expression from within… and often, it’s hard to justify why we do it because it’s so… difficult to quantify. We’ve started to muddle it all up by looking for validation through page views, comments and retweets.

      While I love the Internet for giving us a way to communicate to each other, when numbers become the end goal, it can become a bad thing. What people don’t realize is that you’re the most attractive when you’re creating freely and not caring about any of that.

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  2. Oh that’s great news about the NBI. I just googled “NBI 2016” only a couple of days ago because I hadn’t heard anything and nothing came up. I thought we weren’t going to have one this year which would be a great pity.

    I think a big part of the problem, if there is one, is that MMOs are much more of a specific hobby than a lot of people have realized. Blogging is a hobby in itself as well, so you have a hobby about a hobby and people do tend to go through hobbies. Some people keep them up for life but a lot more people “take up” a hobby for a while and then put it down for another one.

    “Gaming”, on the other hand, is an entire spectrum of entertainment, like movies or novels or music; it’s really quite unlikely that anyone is going to completely lose interest in gaming altogether any more than they’ll stop reading or going to see movies or listening to music.

    They may very well fall out of love or patience or interest with specific types of game though, just as we generally don’t all go on watching teen movies in our thirties and forties. Ok, some of us do. MMOs are extremely time-consuming and the brief window when they were almost cool closed a good while ago. It’s not surprising that all but the real hard-core hobbyists are feeling the strain in keeping up the interest.

    As for Summer being a low readership time for blogs, oddly form the first four years of my blog all the peak months were in the summer and my highest ever page views were in July 2015. We’ll see how it goes this summer.

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    1. I was really happy to read about the NBI 2016 as well. When I first drafted this, that post hadn’t gone out yet, and I was afraid it wasn’t going to happen this year. As soon as I read that, I quickly edited this post. 🙂

      I think you’re right about having a hobby about a hobby. I guess I never thought about it like that. It could be because writing is just what I do (IRL work), so blogging is like fun-writing for me. I can just sit down and knock out a post without much effort compared to technical stuff I usually do. I forget that’s not the same for everyone (sorry!).

      When I play any game, I usually play with blogging in the back of my mind. Like… “Oh, this was a cool moment. Take a screenshot for tomorrow’s blog.” I get excited about little moments and silly things and blogging is my way of sharing them.

      If nothing interesting happens, I don’t kill myself trying to fill the silence for a few days on my blog. In fact, I often take the weekends off from blogging all together because I’m gaming and recharging during that time to gather inspiration for the next week of posts.

      I don’t commit to any sort of post length, topic or consistency — I blog when I want to. Just so happens that I have enough to share that I blog fairly consistently. But I did make sure I didn’t box myself into a specific type of game or topic on this blog so that I was free to talk about whatever I wanted, which I think is very important.

      It’s interesting that you have an uptick in traffic in summer. I can look back at all my stats and see that it’s usually lull time for all of them. I do think the NBI gives a nice boost that gets people excited for a bit, and summer might give them the open time to keep it rolling.

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  3. Nice post!
    I agree with all that you’ve mentioned. While most of it is common sense and seems so easy to follow through on, it is difficult, actually.
    I saw all these posts, as well- and more. The comments on Liore’s blog seem to indicate that Belghast and Wilhelm Arcturus might join the ranks. I already miss Murfy’s MMO posts and there have been others. Maybe this is how the decline in the MMORPG industry shows- not by fewer games or lower sales, but by the community drifting away.
    Some years ago i read a blog post similar to yours- it told us to take breaks and don’t apologize for them afterwards. I try to follow that advice when i’m in a writing lull (as i seem to have hit right now), because it makes us think from a wrong direction, i think. When times are good and posts come regularly, we are confident that we’re doing this writing thing mostly for ourselves (encouragement doesn’t hurt, though), but when we need a break, suddenly we feel like we’re letting someone down.
    The summer lull is obvious. It’s one reason why i advocate and follow through on a summer break in july&august in our small guild- we’ll take some time off from our planned activities, because in my experience the attendance rate is very low from june to august. And i think it hurts guilds more when they have to cancel planned activities instead of making a dedicated break. Come september, we’ll be looking forward to continuing our adventures.
    Lastly, that being-a-person-thing. It’s nice, and for me, i’ll probably make another push in that direction, but it’s also difficult, because my “gaming identity” is not really connected to my real life persona. I don’t have any gaming RL friends and usually, i don’t talk about gaming to real people, so having a connection between those personas feels a bit off.

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    1. I understand what you mean about being disconnected from your gaming identity. My online persona and RL persona, while being pretty much the same voice, tone, and attitude, are very separate to me. Most IRL people don’t know this blog exists or that I even game! *gasp*

      I purposely choose not to talk much about my personal life. I feel that you can still be a person to readers without telling everyone what you ate that morning, that you had a fight with your (insert family member), or there’s drama in your apartment complex… etc.

      For example, your posts and pictures about your trip to China are super cool! I learned something about you and about the places you visited. You became more “real person” to me because you shared a special moment.

      I find that sharing something extra special (like travel) or more mundane things we can all connect with really help break the ice and make someone more real. It doesn’t have to be personal details, but sometimes when someone shares a “this happened to me” story, and I say “Oh, I know how that feels!” that’s a connection that makes that online person more tangible to me.

      That’s why I also share things like music I discover, my drawings, updates about what I’m writing. I hope that it shows I do things other than just gaming, and some of it might be interesting to someone. 🙂

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  4. I was gonna write smt along these lines today albeit with more snidy sarcasm than you, so thanks for taking this off my shoulders. 😉 After so many years blogging about mmosin this neighbourhood, I feel entitled to say the following:

    decline bla.

    The end. 😉

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  5. I really appreciate your comments. I been kicking around what I intend to do for the long run lately. I think I am probably going to dial back a bit from the every single day thing, but I just haven’t been able to force myself to break the routine and simply not post. I have a vacation coming up when it will be difficult for me to post during, so that might be when I take my first break in over three years.

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    1. Honestly, I don’t know how you post every single day like you do. And I understand the reluctance to stop doing that after having done it for so long – I’m like that about missing my webcomic updates.

      If you’re starting to feel that’s something you need to do, however, then follow what your heart is telling you. If you still feel the need to have some structure to it, maybe set a different schedule (Maybe only weekdays, and take weekends off?). I think all of your readers and friends (me included) want for you to feel inspired, refreshed and happy about sitting down to blog!

      Like

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