Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2021 – Festival of Blogging – Cometh!

To see more information about Blaugust, check out Bel’s post here!

Back when this blog was just an itty bitty side project, the first thing I ever did was participate in a Blaugust event. While I’d participated in this event long before it was adopted under the “Blaugust” name, that year, it was a great way for me to jump-start this new blog with content and connections. As you can see, it eventually became my main gaming blog in the end.

Blaugust continues to be a great way for any blogger to dip their toe into the blogging world with the support of the blogging community behind them. If you:

  • Have a new blog
  • Have thought of starting a blog
  • Haven’t blogged in a while, but want to get back into it
  • Are a blogger who wants to write content and network more…

This is a great way to make connections, ask questions of blogging Mentors, and flex your blogging fingers.

While 2020 was rough for me, and I ended up sitting the events out last year, I plan on going full force this year. I’ve been trying to build up and organize my FFXIV sideblog – Spot of Mummery -this year, so that’s where my focus is going to be.

I also act as a Mentor for Blaugust in the official Discord channel, and I’m always happy to offer thoughts, feedback or suggestions if you need them! Don’t be shy to ask questions. That’s what Mentors are here for!

If you’re interested in joining us, fill out this quickie Sign-Up form. Below, you’ll find the official prompt calendar – though you’re quite welcome to post whatever your heart desires any time during this month.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Blogging

Pillowfort Launches Free Open Beta

Pillowfort is a blogging platform with a blend of social media features woven within it. Think of the old LiveJournal days of yore – if you happened to have one – with a smattering of Twitter and some Tumblr functionality meshed within it. The UI even has a lot of LiveJournal sensibilities to it (though word is, we’re getting a UI overhaul this year).

Pillowfort has just gone into open beta as of yesterday. I’ve had my original Pillowfort account for quite a while now, and have been actively supporting the platform for way over a two years. While a lot of features are still in the works, it does things that I appreciate and hope to see further developed.

For one, I feel as if I have much more control over my own privacy, filtered content and over what happens with my content. Don’t want someone reblogging something you post? You can turn that off. Don’t want comments on a post you make? You can turn that off, too. Don’t want messages at all? Turn that off.

I also love the concept of Communities within Pillowfort. I don’t know if it’s super obvious to a new user, but Communities really make up the heart of the platform. You can find a community on just about anything you’re interested in — and if you can’t, you can make and run your own.

An example of my community list

If you want your content out there in front of people on Pillowfort, joining and reblogging to a community is how to extend your post’s reach. While you can build a follower list, I find that reblogging to communities is really where my content gets the most traction.

But a community is more than just that. Each one has its own message board, for example, where the members can chat amongst themselves. Each community also should have a moderator who oversees the content and overall community environment.

Another nice thing about communities is if one starts getting a little loud or out of hand, you can Unwatch it (rather than leave it). This mutes the community in your feed without you having to leave it, and gives you a little room to breathe. Once you feel caught up, you can always Watch it again and jump right back in to the content.

Keep in mind that this platform has been fairly closed to new members, only allowing accounts made by purchase or by invite from someone who already has an account. So now, having opened the gates to everyone, Pillowfort is hoping for an influx of new users.

I know that the UI seems a little behind the times. However, another thing I really do like is that you can completely customize your sidebar, adding images and links as well as text. If you’re a creative type, you can go ham with that and have a lot of fun designing your own!

Pillowfort also handles most embeds to other social media and blogging platforms well — uploading a link to one of my blog posts here, for example, always turns out nice looking. I like that there’s a nice big area for posting things like screenshots and artwork – I can really see this as being a place for online artists to group together and share their work.

Anyhow, if you’re interested in trying it out, it’s free to sign up and poke around at it. I’m always looking for friends to follow on my Aywren account there (it’s my newer account). So if you launch a Fort, drop me a follow and I’ll follow back!

Posted in Blogging

My 7th Blogiversary!

Today I celebrate this blog’s 7th year! Every time I hit this milestone, I’m surprised that I’ve stuck with it for yet another year. But I also couldn’t imagine not writing for this blog, either!

Not to start out on a bummer note, but last year was not my proudest year when it comes to maintaining this blog. My mind was on other blogs and other communities, and I really let this one slip through the cracks. I didn’t participate in any of the Blaugust events and I honestly am a little shy to try to poke my head back into that group on Discord (I have trouble keeping up with Discord as it is).

But that being said, I really want to turn that around this year and get back to writing for this blog. I’ve started that already in consolidating many of the mini-blogs that took away from time blogging here. I think that’s been a good direction to go in.

Some Stats

First, I’m super stoked that I have over 400 followers on WordPress Reader now! Thank you all! 🙂

I usually don’t talk about stats on my blogiversary, but I think I will this year. I’m surprised that despite having written significantly less this past year (almost 100 less posts from the year before), it didn’t have a huge effect on my traffic. I had less views, but only marginally.

I only have stats dating back to 2016 when I migrated this blog to WordPress.com

I guess I’ve gotten to a point where the content is basically keeping the blog going even if I take a little break from adding to it. The most popular post of last year is one that I wrote back in 2018 on the FFXIV Bard Music Player! In fact, it was so popular that I even updated that post last year with the newest BMP information.

However, there were some posts I wrote last year that figured in my top viewed, too, such as:

  1. FFXIV – Ocean Fishing Guide
  2. FFXIV: Patch 5.21 – Diadem for Gatherers
  3. FFXIV: A Dragon’s Best Friend
  4. FFXIV: Patch 5.3 – Flying is Coming to ARR Zones, ARR MSQ Consolidation
  5. FFXIV: YoKai Watch Event Returns!

Yeah, FFXIV content is a staple on my blog. No surprise about that!

WordAds

I’m going to talk about something else I rarely do: monetization.

I don’t blog for profit or really for stats and views. That’s never been my focus for this blog, which has always been an outlet for me to post whatever I’m excited about at the moment – be it in the gaming world, or some hobby that’s fascinating me.

That being said, I have posted before that I do run WordAds on this blog. I’ve been told that folks who run pop-up blockers don’t even know this – and that’s fine. I also run a pop-up blocker on most of the Internet, so I don’t blame you.

Somehow, this blog still generates a small amount of revenue. Not a lot – lately it’s been something between $9-$20 a month. But, again, interestingly, despite having cut back in content last year, I still managed to make a bit more than the year before.

Basically, this blog made $141.98 last year.

Yes, I do get paid every time the revenue hits $100 – which has only been twice since 2018. So I can confirm that WordAds makes good on its promises to pay.

Earning about $142 is enough to pay this blog’s hosting cost for the year, cover the cost of the domain name, and maybe another domain name or two I that own. So really, all this revenue goes to paying the expenses of hosting the blog that’s making it, and that is completely fine with me.

Into 2021

Now that I’ve made up my mind to put much more attention back on this blog in 2021, I’m looking forward to seeing where it’s all going to go. I’ve been making an effort to play a wider variety of games in January already, and I’m trying to be more active on my Twitter again.

Hopefully I’ll meet you back here in a year to see what this year turned out to look like. Trying to make it a good one!

Posted in Blogging

New Site Banners

It’s a new year, and it’s time for some new site banners! I haven’t put any site banners into the rotation for quite a while, so I decided with the consolidation of blogs and topics, it was as good a time as any to add some new designs.

Here’s what I’ve got!

My main from FFXIV playing violin. I still had a banner of my main from when she was Miqo’te, so it made sense to go ahead and update it now that I’ve changed race. Also, seeing that I’m adding fiddle content to this blog, and the game just added a violin instrument, this worked out well!

Violin header. This was the banner I used at my previous fiddle blog. I just always liked the image, so I wanted to use it here to reflect the fiddle content I’m moving here.

My snail uke’s sound hole. To represent the ukulele content I’ll be writing this year. I absolutely adore my snail uke, so it makes a great banner to cover that area for me.

A dragon diamond painting. I own this painting, though I haven’t finished it yet. Since it’s one of my favorites, I thought it would be great to represent the diamond painting content that I want to bring over eventually.

Posted in Blogging

2021: A Year of Blogging Simplification

I’ve decided that this year, I want to make this blog the center of all the things that delight and inspire me. Welcome to 2021.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve stumbled upon hobbies and interests that I didn’t originally have when I first created this blog. That’s a natural thing. That’s a healthy thing, too. After all, one cannot only game and game alone. *shock*

I’ve had a difficult time sorting out how to deal with these new interests as I discovered them. Being a blogger, my first instinct was to spin up a blog about the topic of enjoyment. But in doing so, I’ve ended up with so many WordPress installations, Tumblrs, sites and domains. As much as I love all the sites I’ve built, and enjoyed the time I put into them, it gets to be a bit much.

After a lot of long hard thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to do things differently this year. I still want to game and blog about gaming. But I also want to write about the other things I enjoy – learning to play fiddle, my ukuleles, diamond painting, neat-tasting teas I discover, and even looking forward to dabbling with learning embroidery this year!

This blog has always been a kinda catch-all for things since I term it a “Gaming and Geek” blog. There’s a lot of ways to stretch the definition of “geek” since one can be a geek of many things. One can be a geek fiddler. One can be a geek DIY crafter. One can be a geek of neat-tasting teas. Right?

Seeing that my fiddle blog domain is up for renewal in February, I felt it’s a good time for me to start working on consolidating those posts and my practice log here. I’ve already moved my ukulele content here, and plan on expanding that topic in the future. I also want to bring my diamond painting log to this blog, as well.

So this is just a post to say that this blog will be expanding on content and topics going forward. I promise that there’s a lot to playing the fiddle that’s pretty interesting if you’ve never considered it, for example! Or, at least, I think it’s interesting. Hopefully, you will too!

Posted in Blogging, FFXIV

Spot of Mummery– My “New” FFXIV Blog Project

Summary: I’ve imported two and a half years of micro-blogging content from my character-based FFXIV Tumblog to a WordPress blog – Spot of Mummery – where I’m finally embracing it as a full blogging project focusing on gaming experiences, creative stories, screenshots, character studies, etc.

Over this weekend, I launched a “new” blogging project called Spot of Mummery. Spoiler: It’s not new at all.

In fact, I’ve been blogging Spot of Mummery for years on Tumblr. While most of this focuses on FFXIV content, there’s also a smattering of Minecraft as well as Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

You’ve probably heard me mentioning my role play alts on this blog – certainly in goals and in various experiences I’ve had in FFXIV. It’s not really fair to call them RP alts much anymore because many of them are almost just as geared as my main, have cleared content all the way up to 5.3, have relic weapons and some even do relevant raiding.

But most importantly, the cast of characters over at Spot of Mummery are a deeply needed creative and interactive outlet for a MMO that I’ve been playing for the past seven years. I’m less into the role play aspect (at least in-game role play as you might think of it) as I am into developing storylines and characters and meshing them with the lore and in-game environments. In those aspects, FFXIV offers a wonderful world to work with!

I’ve actually owned this domain for several years and have used it as a place to organize all of the stories I’ve developed in conjunction with my writing partner, Syn.

Last month I decided to bring over the rest of the content to this domain. This led to me spending weeks weeding through over 6000 posts (no lie) to ensure only my content remained (Tumblr has a lot of reblogs and interactive posts), pictures were imported properly, links went where they should… all that fun kind of stuff.

Now that the blog is officially released, I’m expanding connections through social media. Tumblr is obviously still a very strong interactive platform for me, but I’m also exploring Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc.

I’m also dedicating myself to blogging here more consistently going forward! I spent a lot of time and creativity on the Spot of Mummery Tumblr over the last couple years, which took away from the energy/time to write here. That’s not something I wanted to happen.

I want to turn that train around and get back to my blogging habits both here and at Spot of Mummery. I know it seems strange to think that adding another blog (rather than a micro blog) would make it more flexible for me to blog more here again but… just trust me on this. 🙂

Anyhow! If you get the notion, please feel free to check out my “new” blog. Give it a follow if you like what you see, and know that there will definitely be lots of gaming content and creativity coming since Patch 5.4 just dropped today!

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!