Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, Uncategorized

Blogging: Importance of Voice & Choosing your Audience

It’s prep week for Blaugust Mentors, so I decided to sit down and write about something that’s been on my mind lately. Prep week focuses on giving some advice to new and upcoming bloggers — so you’ll see a lot of useful information about blogging platforms, choosing topics, consistently writing, picking your blog name/URL — very important stuff!

I wanted to tackle some things that aren’t always so obvious to think about from the start: Voice/Tone and Audience.

These are actually concepts to think about no matter what kind of writing you’re doing — blogging, fiction, bussines, etc. And while you might be going… “Oh gosh, I’m just trying to put some words on the page, when do I have time to figure this out?” …I feel that establishing your blogging voice and knowing who you’re writing for early on makes things easier.

What Attracts People?

Think about those folks you follow on social media. Think about your favorite streamers or YouTubers. What do these usually have in common?

They’ve established a personality (voice) that’s unique to themselves, and that’s something you’ve connected with. You start to like them as a person, and therefore, you come back to see what they have to say again and again.

They don’t have to share anything super personal for you to feel like… Hey, I jive with them, and they’re cool to listen to. If they take time to interact with their audience, oh man, they’re really a hit then!

There’s really no secret to what they’re doing (though it’s not always easy to maintain). They’ve just established a voice/personality and they’re consistent with producing content around a specific audience that responds to it. YOU!

Granted, this can take time and effort to achieve. Often, your own writing voice will evolve and change the more you learn about the craft of writing and the people you’re talking to. That’s totally okay! It’s a part of growing as a blogger.

But that doesn’t mean that when you sit down to roll up a blog that you can’t already be thinking: Hey, who am I writing this for? Who do I want to reach out to? 

Do you want to approach things with humor and an honest down-to-earth slice-of-life personality?

Or do you want to be known for someone who says what’s on their mind, no matter how brutally honest it is?

Maybe you want to establish yourself as someone who provides ground-breaking strategies and has an powerful authority over the topics you choose to write?

tone-of-voice

Different approaches will connect with different kinds of readers. It’s important to consider the pros and cons of the voice and approach you use — will you be able to maintain it over a long period of time, for example. Or will it exhaust you (or confine you) to try to step into the persona that you’re building?

Sometimes even refreshing an existing blog is just about taking a different point of view and changing your voice. 

With my blog, I’ve chosen to establish a casual and laid-back personality. It’s very much in line with who I really am IRL, so it’s easy to maintain.

You’ll hear me talk about what’s happened in my gaming life. I like to post things that make people laugh, if possible. I stay away from more somber and serious topics, even if that’s the direction everyone else seems to be taking. And if I do write things like a game review, it’s generally something based on how it made me feel, rather than a professional take on the game.

Thinking about your blogging voice and audience from the start will also help you decide on the overall feel and presentation of your blog. Once you know who you want to be, and who you want to write for, you can center your theme, blog name, and everything else around that to present a consistent face (a brand) to your audience.

 Join us at Blaugust!

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Posted in Blogging, Gaming, IRL, Uncategorized

Vegas Pokemon Conglomeration

Apologies in advance, this is going to be a really random post. Mostly, it has reference to a number of recent posts I’ve made, and a little to do with geeking and gaming. So, I figured it was relevant enough to ramble about.

Yesterday was my birthday. Syn, who has been my best friend for many years, was cooking something devious up, and I knew it. She mentioned it the night before, but I had no clue exactly what she meant to do.

Last night, she dropped the bomb on me: She bought me VIP tickets and a Photo op with my favorite band in the whole world – The Moody Blues. In Las Vegas. This September.

I was beside myself — mostly because it wasn’t cheap (but she had it in her head to do this, so I accepted the gift as graciously as I could). And then I thought of the planning I’d need to do for the trip.

And finally, the fact I really need to get into better shape before going on another trip. I spend my work time sitting in an office all day, and the time after that on the computer at home… and have for many years. I’m embarrassed to admit that my personal endurance and level of activity are both rock bottom, and have been for a while.

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I needed to start paying more attention to diet and exercise now that I’m not as young as I used to be. (Git off my lawn! :p ) And there’s nothing like a trip that requires being out of your normal elements to show you just how out of shape you are.

We had thoughts of attending the FFXIV Fan Fest again this year (not sure if that’s a thing that’s going to happen or not), and I told myself that I needed to get more active so I could feel better when I was in Vegas. Well, now I have show tickets, and am going to meet my musical heroes face to face. I really need to start moving!

And that leads back to Pokemon Go.

Yesterday, I joked and said that catching my first shiny was a sign that I needed to get back into the game. Well, here’s another sign that I need to get back to it, for health’s sake.

The nice thing is that there’s now a Pokestop in the local mall. Summer is starting up full force already — it’s going to be 90+ degrees today — and braving the heat at the local park is just too much (and dangerous).

While the park is much better due to having 2 gyms and several stops, having one stop in the air conditioned mall gives me a reason to walk the mall. Previously, the mall didn’t have a stop, much less many Pokemon to speak of (it was odd – lots of Pokemon in the parking lot, few inside the mall itself). I hope that’s changed!

Anyhow, that’s my ramble for today. I’m taking tomorrow off in celebration of my birthday, so I’m going to have a long weekend. Hopefully I can spend some time with Death Road to Canada and have something to write at you guys next week. 🙂

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

May 2018 Gaming Goals

Welcome to Goals: Let’s Try it Again edition. Last month, I didn’t do so well on finishing what I hoped to accomplish. I’ve been caught up in a flurry of creativity, and haven’t been in the mood for gaming, so I have an excuse.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to get stuff done, though. So, here’s some holdovers from last month.

FFXIV Leveling Goals

  • Level Ninja to 50 ✓
  • Level Some Job (to 70) ✓

I’m not sure which job I’m going to focus on for my Roulettes-to-70 next. I started White Mage, but healing makes me anxious. I know I should just stick with it, practice and get it done with, though. I’ll probably do that. Will have to wait and see.

FFXIV Cleanup Quest Goals

  • Ninja – Lv 40+45 Quests ✓
  • Warrior – Lv 40 Quest ✓
  • Summoner – Lv 60-70 Quests
  • Scholar – Lv 60-70 Quests
  • Machinist – Lv 60-70 Quests
  • Paladin – Lv 60-70 Quests
  • Miner – Lv 70 Quest ✓
  • Botanist – Lv 70 Quest ✓
  • Fisher – Lv 60-something – 70 Quest
  • Check all Crafters to make sure they’ve completed up to Lv 60 Quest at least
    • Finished the Leatherworker quests ✓

This list just got longer since I finished leveling Summoner and Scholar last month. Getting so far behind feels bad. I need to clean up my crafting quests, especially since we’ll get a crafting-oriented beast tribe series later this month. I know I’ll be taking advantage of those!

And… honestly… with the new patch coming out and my fixation on painting horses in Second Life, I think I’ll leave my goal setting right here for the month. That list of job quests is intimidating enough!

Have a great May! 

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

FFXIV: Tales from Tells – Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Over the weekend, I was actually working on finishing some of my many job quests I’ve ignored for far too long in FFXIV (gasp!). Man, Black Mage quests are a pain in the tail… but that’s not what this is about.

So, I’d just returned to town to complete one of my quests, and hit the normal cutscene…. when I heard the ping of a /tell pop up. At first, I figured it was a friend or a FC member poking me for something. But when I went to read the tell, it was from someone I’d never met before.

Their question was cryptic.

ask1

I pondered how to answer this, since I didn’t actually know why. Then, me being a writer who loves words, I became curious and decided to Google it. After reading through a quick article, which I thought was pretty interesting, I shared the info with this questing soul.

ask2

There was a bit of a pause… and I got this in return:

ask3

I guess he asked the wrong person if he didn’t expect an answer.

Just when I thought that was the end of it, I heard another ping:

ask4

Oh, dang. I didn’t know this one either.

And to Google I went. When he realized I didn’t respond immediately, it dawned on him that I was looking this one up, too.

ask5

But, “bruh”… if you can type these things to me, you can type them to Google for yourself. 😉

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

FFXIV: Summoner & Scholar Level 70 Get

I’ve had a pretty crazy week IRL with work and stuff, and I’ve mostly been in my MMO holding pattern again this week. I did finally reach one of my monthly goals, which was to level my Summoner/Scholar to 70.

This was mostly through doing my normal stuff — beast tribes and Alliance roulettes. Nothing fancy.

The main point of leveling this job was to finally consolidate all of my caster gear into the one level 70 set. It felt pretty good to clean out my inventory last night and to sort through which items in my piecemeal level 70 stuff for healer I wanted to keep as well.

I think I may be taking a break from roulettes for a little bit since Syn is going to be away for a few weeks. I’ll try to focus on getting my Ninja to 50 and finishing up my job quests for many, many jobs.

ffxiv_04192018_182735

 

Posted in Gaming, Second Life, Uncategorized

Second Life: Modding My Arabian Horse

When I was growing up, like many girls, I loved horses. And there was one series of books that fueled that love — Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion. We had a small bookmobile that came from our main county Library and stopped by my neighborhood. They almost always carried a book from this series, and if they didn’t, I could put in book requests to get more.

I devoured these books as a child, fell in love with the Arabian horse, and the art on this book cover in particular was my measuring stick for all horse artwork I drew:

blackstallion

I probably still have a box set of these books somewhere in my closet. And if I don’t, I might just take it upon myself to go and collect the series with this particular cover art just to keep for myself.

Anyhow, what does that have to do with video games? Well, a few weeks back in Second Life, I stumbled upon the Water Horse Riding Horse… which isn’t really a horse but a fantastic, realistic bento add-on to your SL avatar. The Posse has been getting a lot of mileage out of our horses as we explore some really awesome places on the grid.

That little spark of Arabian horse love still burns in me, so I knew when I saw the Arabian Horse Mod for the Water Horse weeks ago that I’d be making that a project of mine. Over the weekend, I did just that.

While I think that my original Warmblood bento horse is very lovely, I have to say that the Arabian mod has transformed it to something above and beyond.

horsecomparisons

A lot of work from talented creators went into this horse. I wanted to take a look at how all that comes together and give them my props for wonderful creations that bring me joy!

It Started With a Skin

I’m a huge fan of Hap’s work at Painted Pony. There’s a lot of great content out there for these horses, but her skins and content keep pulling me back in. She develops a lot of work for the Arabian mod in particular.

When I saw the new specular silver coat in her Highlights section, and noticed it could be used with the Arabian, I was struck by it immediately. I can’t really explain how this coat catches and reflects the light, but it’s amazing in person. I can just sit here and look at the way light plays off of my stallion… Beautiful work!

Painted_Pony_Vendor_--_Silver_Specular_coat

So, this prompted me to head to the Jinx store (another creator I really love) to pick up her Arabian mod. This was the most expensive part of the modding process, and also the most tricky.

Jinx__Arabian_Add-on_mod_for_the_WHRH_-_Postersm

This is a full body replacement for the Water Horse. This means when you add this to your avatar, you essentially have two horse bodies. You make the original horse body and tack transparent, and somehow this mod meshes beautifully to show instead.

It uses the Animation Override within the original Water Horse tack, so it moves and controls exactly like the original. Here’s a video of this horse in action (Note: lightly dressed female avatar warning):

If I had to nit pick about anything in this mod, it’s the tail portion. I’m not sure what it is about the tail, but the textures in the originals just don’t render right for me. Especially the white tail.

But that’s easily fixed with a texture replacement from Painted Pony. I picked up the Arabian Tail Fat Pack 1 and the Happy Tail add-on (which makes the tail swish from time to time like a real horse).

Painted_Pony_Vendor_--_Arabian_Mane_Tail_-__MP

And the final cosmetic piece was, again, from Painted Pony. I already had this from making my Miss Daisy setup — a lovely Tropicana Blue eye.

Painted_Pony_Vendor_--_Tropicana_eye

Syn and Amoon like to tease me that the eyes make my Arabian look spooky, so I’m almost tempted to name him Specter. XD

Anyhow, I needed one final touch to really make this all come together. If you watched the video above, you’ll see the custom Arabian animations created by Mythril in action. Great stuff!

Snapshot___A_Lovely_Place__Pegasoi_(215__166__2002)_-_Moderate

So, I learned how to mod the tack AO to replace the standard animations with these. They included a very regal idle standing pose, a floating trot, and a lovely canter replacement. I also picked up a new gallop animation that I really liked.

What’s even better about this animation set is that it includes sidesaddle animations, which I was looking into picking up to fit a medieval dress that I bought. So a medieval warmblood project might be my next focus — we do have the Fantasy Faire coming up this week in Second Life!

And finally, the tack. I chose the new Sultan tack by Jinx. This is currently exclusive to the March Fantasy Collective, so I have no idea how much longer it’ll be there, or if Jinx will sell it in shop after the event is done.

sultantack

Much of the Arabian tack available is quite ornate, so I liked that this was less flashy and didn’t take away from the horse. These are cosmetic add-ons, and not a replacement for the AO tack. They look great and come with a HUD that allows for color change and minor modifications.

In the end, I’m very pleased with the overall results of the mod. What do you think?

Snapshot_254

Snapshot_296

Posted in Uncategorized

FFXIV: Patch 4.3 – Under the Moonlight (Drops Late May)

There’s a few things here that caught my interest from the newest Live Letter. Since the translations are posted on Twitter instead of the forums now, I’ll just be pulling from the official Twitter account for info. Sorry that WordPress pulls the parent tweet into the post above the tweet I actually want to post. Bleh.

Story is good, but the Namazu beast tribes are better! We had a feeling they’d be the tribe for crafters to use. I have plenty of crafters that need to catch up — Leatherworker, I’m looking at you!

Happy this is coming out so soon. Will have to add the Namazu to my dailies. 🙂

I’ve not been a huge fan of the new 24 man raids for quite a while. But, I did enjoy some of the encounters in Sigmascape, so I’m going to hope they might be going that direction with battle design. I’ll wait and see.

YEEAAAAAAAAH!!! 

We all had a suspicion that this structure was going to be for the next Deep Dungeon. So happy this is going to be a thing. Especially if it’s supplementing level 60-70 leveling. Leveling isn’t bad right now already, but I’ll always take more options.

*sigh* I haven’t really been all that involved in Eureka (but I kinda wanted to be). Maybe I should get back out there and see what a low level noob can do. I dunno.

I would actually probably use this. We heard about this app a while back, so it’s good to see it’s coming!

Other things from Reddit:

  • New Squadron dungeons added (Yay!)
  • Return to Ivalice raid – The Ridorana Lighthouse (with associated crafter/gatherer side story?) (Hmm?)
  • New Custom Deliveries client (Woo!)
  • Job Adjustments – DRK, SAM, AST
  • Cross-world linkshells (Oh?)
  • Items converted into glamours can be reclaimed. (YEAH!!!)
  • Squadrons can use glamour dresser. (YEAH!!!)
  • Glamour plates saved to gear sets. (YEAH!!!)
  • Loot system changes to Alliance Raids – All Greed (Huh… wait… that’s not good!?)
  • Normal raid roulette (Nice for people catching up, but I’d never run it. 😛 )