Posted in Blogging

Blapril Cometh – A Call to Bloggers

I have been terribly out of the loop in the blogosphere lately, mostly because work (despite working from home) has super ramped up for me lately. When you write for work, and you’re putting all your energies into that, it’s not as easy to scrape off the left-over energy to write for fun.

That has effected my blogging, sadly, and my creative writing lately. I know this won’t last forever, but for the foreseeable future, I’ve only been posting when I find a topic that I can handle in a smaller scope.

But for those creative souls who have a lot more time on their hands lately, there’s a stirring within the blogosphere. Similar to Blaugust (blogging in August), I’d like to introduce Blapril (blogging in April).

How To Get Involved

Check out the official info post here to sign up for the event. Also, take a gander at the overview of the goals, the how-tos, a suggested schedule, and other fun things there.

If you want to jump in and meet other bloggers, bounce ideas for posts, ask questions, or just be social, you can also join the Blaugust Discord.

In the past, I’ve served as a mentor during Blaugust, and I’ve done my best to drop some informational posts during last year’s event. I’m afraid I can’t commit to it this time around – this one sprang up out of the blue (understandably) to encourage folks who are stuck at home to dust off the blog and find a helpful outlet during these times.

I think it’s a great idea, but as I noted, I’m way in over my head with work right now. I just can’t see myself being able to participate in the event in the capacity I’d like to. I’ll be cheering folks on from the sidelines, however, and I encourage anyone who wants to give blogging a try, or has an existing blog, to check this event out!

Posted in Blogging

Happy 6th Blogiversary!

Here we are, another year come and gone, and this blog is still here!

I know that it’s not quite as active as it was years in the past, but much of that is because my interests have fractured off into several other blogs.

These were all things that really needed their own space, but they do take away from the time I spend writing this blog. Still, 2019 has seen me keeping consistent goals each month here, as well as discussing my progress in games. Since Shadowbringers launched this year, a good chunk of it has been FFXIV content. But I have a smattering of Switch and Steam gaming in there, too.

I also heavily participated in Blaugust last year, writing a post a day for the whole month of August. While much of this was gaming, it also touched on topics like:

So, as you can see, I also wrote a chunk of posts for the newer blogging crowd I saw pop up during Blaugust this past year.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t have a log of big plans for this blog going into the 6th year of operation. I’m pretty content with continuing it the way I have – a casual blog where I write when I’m inspired or have something I want to share.

As my interests spread out, that may mean that content here comes and goes a bit, depending on what strikes me as interesting in the gaming/geeking realms. And that’s okay! I think that the reason this blog continues on is because it’s low-pressure and something I view as for fun.

Hopefully, I’ll see you back here next year for lucky number 7!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, FFXIV, MMORPGs

Farewell Blaugust & August Gaming Goals

It’s the final day of August – we all made it through! I did write a summary of Blaugust and how I’ve successfully posted (including this post) every day this month. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to tackle that, but I did!

What else did I do?

FFXIV Goals – My Main

  • Level Dark Knight (Daily Beast Tribes) 
  • Level Carpenter 
  • Level Trusts (With Bard)
  • Level Fisher 
  • Gear up with new Tomes 

I made excellent progress on my main! I did keep with Beast Tribe quests for my Dark Knight, but doing these every day only got me to level 58 this month. This is fine. I’ll finish this up and start on Gunbreaker next month.

I leveled my Carpenter and Fisher to 80! That means all of my gatherer classes are maxed and I have my first level 80 crafter.

I did manage to buy the two most expensive parts of the new Tome gear for my Red Mage this month – the chest and legs.

However, the one thing I didn’t touch were Trusts. Even though they got a nice experience buff, I just haven’t sat down and worked on leveling my alt jobs yet. I did get my Bard to level 72 through FATEs and other things, but did not use Trusts. This isn’t a huge deal since Yoshi-P confirmed that for any MSQ dungeons going forward, your Trusts would be automatically leveled, even if you don’t level them outside of that.

FFXIV Goals – Amon

  • Level Miner to 80 
  • Earn Scrip gear sets for Botanist, Miner and Alchemist 
  • Level Fisher 

I didn’t have a ton of goals for Amon this month aside from finishing my gatherer leveling. I did this, and I also geared up a couple of my gatherers, as well as Alchemist. I’ll go back to getting Scrip gear for my other two gatherers next week.

FFXIV Goals – Tai

My goal for Tai this month was to level him to 70 and get him through the Stormblood 4.0 content. While I dragged my heels on it some, I absolutely did get this done! I also just finished his Dragoon job quest last night and got him the level 70 AF armor.

At this point, I just have three dungeons and one trial between Tai and the new expansion. I don’t count all the quests because those are easy to breeze through. I’d love to get him into the First by the end of this month. I’m actually finding Dragoon pretty fun.

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2019 – The Month in Review

I know that tomorrow is technically the last day of August, but I always post my monthly gaming goals outcome on the final day of the month. I’ll be drafting that up to go tomorrow as my last post for Blaugust.

This is mostly a wrap-up post to reflect back on how much blogging I did this month. And I have to say, yes, I did way better than I thought I would. In fact, once tomorrow’s post goes live, I will have officially blogged every single day this month!

Here’s some graphic proof (up to today’s post):

Posts I Made This Month
This counted the last post in July, too. Tomorrow will make it 32 days!

This wasn’t really a difficult experience for me, though I did decide to write several posts on Thurs/Fri so that I could queue them up over the weekends to take a break. I also tended to pick the shorter and easier topics for weekend posts.

Statistics-wise, I actually had less traffic this month than the last two. The reason being, the previous months were fueled by people hyped for the FFXIV expansion. Even this month, none of the posts I actually wrote during Blaugust outdid posts views from my FFXIV topics overall.

People still really want to know about the Bard Performance in FFXIV

But that’s just fine. We had a lot of great discussion about blog/feed readers, valuing content, what motivates us, using Gmail Tasks for lists, WordAds and ad blockers, and that sort of thing. Overall, I hope something I posted this month was of help to someone!

I’ve also met a number of great new folks, read blogs I’ve never seen before, and was happy to see the Discord hopping (even if I tend to be quiet in Discord). I hope folks who started a new blog or just revived an existing one will carry some inspiration into continuing their experiences.

We need more blogs and bloggers. We need more comments and conversation. It’s up to us to keep this alive and kicking. I’m glad to see that Blaugust had some amazing participation this year with lots of new talent. Let’s keep this fun going!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust: Staying Motivated

Will you look at that – it’s the final few days of Blaugust! Wow, you’ve almost made it! And this week is Motivation Week. So I thought I’d write a bit about what motivates me.

And… this is a terrible topic. Not because I’m not motivated – I’ve been blogging for many years, but this blog in particular hit the 5 year mark in January. So I’ve been motivated enough to make that happen, even if some months have less posts than others.

But the problem is, I really don’t know what motivates me.

I don’t have a specific reason to blog. I don’t do it to make money, though I did talk about how I did make a bit this year, but hardly enough to cover the cost of the blog hosting. I’m not really a huge presence on Twitter or social media, so it’s not about being well-known or keeping up any net persona.

Really, blogging has just become a part of my gaming experience. Last Blaugust, I wrote a post about always being ready to take screenshots to capture great moments in game. I still play like this. Blogging is a normal extension of the experiences I have in games. I don’t play to blog, but I do enjoy the feeling of sharing moments from gaming in posts.

My in-game friends are quite used to hearing me say “I’m screenshotting this for a blog post.” Sometimes they even tell me when something is going on that should be a blog post. Sometimes they take the screens for me if I’m not there! 🙂

I also keep my blogging very casual. I usually don’t blog on weekends, but I do store up things that happen over weekends for a Monday post. I don’t push myself to have a certain number of posts per week or month. In fact, this WordPress chart will give you an idea of how often I write:

It’s sporadic, and some months I write more than others. But the important thing is that I haven’t stopped blogging, and I really haven’t even considered giving it up. What would I do with all those screenshots I take?

Anyhow, I told you this is a terrible topic, because I really can’t give definitive advice on how to make this work for you. Motivation is very fickle.

Some people need more structure and organization. Some people would feel boxed in and suffocated.

What works for me:

  • Having the freedom to write about whatever I’m interested in today
  • Not forcing a posting schedule – I write when I want
  • Making blogging a natural extension of what I enjoy doing
  • Not focusing on traffic stats or making money
  • Writing for myself first and foremost – and if other folks enjoy it, that’s fantastic!

This may not work for you. But if anything here gives you ideas to try, feel free to run with them!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust: RSS Feed Readers – The Big Switch

Yesterday I posted about using WordPress.com Reader to keep up with your content. So, what about blogs that aren’t part of WordPress that you’re interested in? That’s where the old fashioned RSS Feed Readers still serve well!

I’ve been using Feed Readers since before the demise of Google Reader, and I still lament the loss. I’m confused as to why they shut it down, but I assume money. Anyhow, it was a huge inconvenience, and it forced me to look for alternatives.

Hello Feedly, Goodbye Feedly

Back in 2015, I wrote a post about using Feedly as my reader. It quickly became the go-to replacement for Google Reader for a lot of folks. It imported all my feeds easily, and was a great service. Until…

They forced monetization into the system.

Feedly Pro had been a thing for a while, but I ignored it. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to pay for a feed reader. I’ve been using readers for years for free, so that’s just how it goes.

Then, one day last year, I went to add a feed to my Feedly, and got denied. What was this?

I did research and discovered this:

Wait a second. So free accounts can only have 100 sources and 3 feeds? I’m confused by this. What’s a source and how is it different from a feed?

I don’t know, but I did understand one thing…

While they didn’t remove any of the feeds I currently subscribed to, I was faced with the reality that I’d hit a limit and couldn’t add new feeds to my reader. Needless to say, I went reader shopping that day and found an alternative pretty easily.

Hello Inoreader

My current reader is Inoreader.

This one may not work for everyone because the free version is supported by ads. And in order to use the reader, it did keep prompting me to whitelist the reader domain when I visited (YMMV). I know from a past post that a few folks out there feel pretty strongly against this, but I just whitelisted it for the sake of…

150 feeds for the free account.

And to be honest, they offer a $20 yearly package for 500 feeds and no ads, which isn’t terrible. So far, I haven’t had any issue with the 150 feed limit, but I don’t hold on to feeds that go inactive for super long.

BUT, if I were to upgrade, I think I’d fork over the yearly $20 sooner than I would a monthly fee. Yeah, I know above I just said I’m not paying for a reader (and I’m not), but this is the most likely case if I did.

Right now, this is the reader I recommend. There might be other good ones out there – if so, let me know in the comments – but this works for me. If you want to know more about how to set up your feeds in Inoreader, check out their comprehensive help!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust: Let’s Talk About WordPress Reader

I do a lot of praising about Tumblr’s great dashboard because it’s a feature that is at the heart of the blogging environment. The platform does an amazing job at delivering other people’s content to you and encouraging people to share content around and recognize it.

This is an area that WordPress.com as a platform could really improve on. It’s also the reason I choose Tumblr over WordPress when it comes to needing to create blog that’s highly interactive (such as an RP blog). However, that doesn’t mean WordPress doesn’t have tools. In fact, it has a pretty great feature, if you are on WordPress.com, called the Reader.

So, when you click that little Follow button on WordPress blogs, that actually does do something – it adds that blog to your your Followed Sites in the Reader. It creates a flowing dashboard of content for all of the blogs you follow. To access it, just click the Reader button on the top WordPress bar of your blog.

There, you’ll see a bunch of options! View your Favorites, Discover new blog content in the WordPress.com environment, see what you’ve liked before, or check out Tags.

Tags is actually a pretty cool little feature, so let’s take a look at it. Basically, when you click on Tags, you get a list of tags that you’re following.

Not following any tags? Click Add and type a topic you’re interested in. Then, when someone else writes a blog post and tags that post with a tag you’re following, you can see it by clicking that tag name in this list.

It’s pretty darn cool, and a very good reason why you should make sure you’re tagging your content when you write blog posts! Not only does it help you organize your writing, but you never know who might have saved tags you use, and will see your posts because of it.

The great thing is that WordPress has these options in the Reader. The sad thing is that I don’t know that people are aware and using it… at least nothing to the extent that they do in Twitter or Tumblr.

If more bloggers got involved, watched tags, discovered new blogs, and really put the Follow system to use, then WordPress could become much more social.

It really would benefit all bloggers who use the platform. This would lead to creators becoming readers and more exchange of comments and ideas. Other than writing a post about it, and encouraging folks to check it out if they don’t use it already, I’m not sure what else can be said.

Soooo… if you haven’t used WordPress Reader, check it out! It’s really a great snapshot at what other people are doing, and gives you a quick look at all the blogs your Following in one place.

It’s also a part of the WordPress App if you prefer mobile!