Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2 – Keeping Two Blogs (How Did That Happen?)

For most folks, one blog is enough to keep up with. But for those who are dabbling with the thought of more than one blog, is it something I suggest?

Possibly, but only if you’ve got the time to invest and a reason for doing so. The reason could be that you want to write about a topic/niche so far afield from your original blog that you can’t justify merging the content. Or maybe you’re writing for a totally different audience and you don’t want to lose the audience you’ve already built on your first blog.

It’s a slippery slope, so let me tell you why I’m running Blaugust on my “second” blog this year. I’ll try to keep it as short and sweet as I can.

Spoiler: It probably won’t be short.

Where It Started

It was the summer of 2018. I had two things in mind:

  • I wanted to nudge myself to write for Camp NaNoWriMo
  • I was looking for a creative outlet in FFXIV

At that point, I’d played FFXIV for almost five years without a drop in my sub. And while I still enjoyed the game, I was pining for a creative project to enhance my enjoyment with it.

Prior to playing FFXIV, I’d rolled up a couple Guild Wars 2 Tumblrs for this very reason. White Charr had been my more “general” GW2 Tumblr while Snaff Savant was my story and “RP” Tumblr.

Both of these had a pretty good following and strong engagement with the GW2 community at the time. While I’d fallen out of sorts with GW2 itself, I remember having a lot of fun interacting with folks and writing stories on my Tumblrs. I also had a decent idea of what I’d done to build an audience on Tumblr, and felt with the right character/story, I could replicate that for FFXIV.

And so, I launched Spot of Mummery as a Tumblr where I could post the fiction I was writing for Camp NaNoWriMo. What started out as a short 15 chapter experiment has turned into a full on webserial.

Tumblr Uncertainty

I was, indeed, able to replicate building and audience and interaction on my new Tumblr. It now has well over 1,000 followers. For a little FFXIV fan Tumblr, that’s not bad. However, as time has gone on, I’ve become more and more uncertain about Tumblr as a long-term platform for my content.

I don’t need to go into any detail on the fact that Tumblr doesn’t have the best reputation as a social media site. Even the folks who use Tumblr know what the Internet in general thinks of it. And while I’ve met plenty of really nice creative people there, and Tumblr itself continues to work towards focusing on those creative types, a number of things have nudged me away from Tumblr over time.

A major one is just uncertainty with Tumblr all together. The platform tends to make controversial choices that upsets its user base. For example, the banning of adult content back in 2018 (though I was actually on board for this as I have no interest in being associated with a site that permits child pornography).

Lately, Tumblr is rolling out a monetization scheme (it feels like a scheme) that the community is super dissatisfied with called Tumblr Post+. While I have no personal gripes against Tumblr looking to make some money, I don’t feel like this is going to be successful. I just can’t see that many people on Tumblr ponying up subscriptions (sorta like Twitch subs) to individuals on Tumblr.

Heck, I have a hard enough time just getting people to reblog and like my stuff much less asking anyone to pay for it. But that’s a topic for a different post.

While I’m not particularly upset about these things, it concerns me as to the longevity of the platform. Especially when I’m seeing the devs rolling out features that the majority of the community are vocally telling them that they do not want. Despite asking for user feedback on the issue. It’s fairly obvious that the feedback isn’t really being taken into consideration.

Making the Leap to WordPress

So, all of that is to say, I certainly didn’t feel great about leaving my writing and screenshots only on Tumblr. It’s also a platform where if you cross whatever line, you can get banned and your Tumblr blog can get wiped without notice.

As far back as the adult content ban in 2018, I’d already begun backing up my story onto a self-hosted WordPress just for safe keeping. I didn’t want my content stored all in one place, and out of my hands to restore, should something weird happen to Tumblr or to my blog.

Originally, this WordPress only contained the story, and it really didn’t see much in the way of traffic or interaction. But fast forward to December of 2020 – I had a lot more content on my Tumblr at that point, and I felt it was time to move a bulk of this to a platform that felt more secure.

After going back and forth on whether to make it a self-hosted WordPress or a WordPress.com blog (I’ll write a post on that later), I chose to host it on WordPress.com. And the blog you’re reading now came to be.

Transitioning Content

At first, this WordPress was a repository for my old Spot of Mummery FFXIV content. As I posted new screenshots and writing, this was the main site with Tumblr being a mirror to the audience I’d built there.

But as time went on, I decided that it’s a shame to have a nice new WordPress and not really take advantage of it. The blogger in me wanted to do more with the site than just post screenshots — that kind of content works well on social media, but a blog needs more meat than that (also a post I plan to write later).

So, I started to write a bit about what I learned about creativity and role play in FFXIV in my years of interacting in game and on Tumblr. This brought about posts such as:

Some of these have become my top-read posts (yet again, another post topic I plan to write on).

I’ve also begun to experiment with repurposing old content (you guessed it, another topic for later) and have learned the importance of making my WordPress.com blog known on Reader (and… yeah… another topic for later).

Basically, much of Blaugust 2021 is going to center around many of the things I’ve learned in making this transition from Tumblr to WordPress, as well as my experiences trying to start a “new” WordPress blog in 2021.

Some Drawbacks With a Second Blog

I do want to note what you can already guess: that upkeep for more than one blog does have drawbacks. This is both time and money (since neither of my blogs are on a free hosting package).

I know that for sure my main gaming blog took a bit of a new-content hit, especially back in 2019 and 2020 when I was much more involved in Tumblr than I was writing about games. However, that blog has established some pretty strong pillar posts, so the traffic there remains fairly stable even when I’m not adding a lot to it. (You can’t always rely on that, though, I know!)

Secondly, my two blogs somewhat “compete” with each other since this one is mostly FFXIV related and my main blog’s major topics can also be FFXIV related. One of my goals is to get this blog back to writing in the “Amon persona” it began with to differentiate it from my main blog. That could be a topic for another post… 🙂

Should You Keep More Than One Blog?

The answer is: it depends.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you have the time and the organizational skills for a second blog?
  • Is the topic of your second blog so far apart from the first that they absolutely can’t be one blog?
  • How much time and attention will the second blog take from your first?
  • Does your first blog already have steady traffic and an audience?
  • Is the topic for your new blog sustainable long-term?

Do you feel like you want to start a new blog because your existing blog isn’t performing the way you’d hope? I’d say it’s better to repurpose and rebrand what you already have than to jump ship to something new. At least then, you have a foundation of content and what bit of readership you’ve already worked to find.

Starting back at square one is much harder than pivoting the direction of an existing blog and experimenting with what you already have. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck!

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 Writing

I’m Doing Something Stupid: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo used to be my jazz. I haven’t participated in an official NaNo in many years, though.

I know most folks reading this are familiar with my blogging gaming and geek stuff… and some even know that I am a technical writer in the adulting world. The truth is, I started out writing fiction as a kid — fantasy fiction to be specific.

Like many writers, I have trouble sticking to it when inspiration isn’t heavy in the air. When I discovered NaNoWriMo in 2002, I found a challenge that kept me motivated enough to spout out 50K words in 30 days. I’m not sure why it worked for me, but my author stats speak for me:

nanostats

And the years you don’t see there — 2014 ~ 2016 — I was participating in at least one, if not two, Camp NaNoWriMo events instead. I tend to prefer Camp NaNo since it allows you to set your own pace and word count. Back in the early years of NaNo, I was in college, so it was a lot easier to find the time to spin stories of fantasy. Now days, not so much.

That’s why what I’m doing is stupid.

I almost didn’t write at all this year. I’ve actually been in a bit of a creative slump.  I passingly considered doing NaNo, and even mentioned it to Syn. But I didn’t commit.

bahamutkei
Concept art!

Back in 2015, I was writing a Camp NaNo for my story Runne. The final few chapters of that writing session turned into something completely different. That’s the beauty of writing for NaNo… you never really know what you’re going to get if you just let your story go. (I’m a partial pantser, I admit it.)

Out of the blue, I stumbled on two characters who had previously never shown up in any of my writing and honestly had nothing to do with the main story thus far (though they will eventually). I knew I was going off on a tangent, but the characters were just fun to write and ponder about. They even got a piece of concept art, as you can see.

This tangent turned into something that nagged at me even after I closed that year’s Camp NaNo event. I was really interested in taking a deeper dive into this part of the story, but it didn’t fit in the overall scope of Runne. I set all of my writing aside this year, as I noted, thinking I wasn’t going to deal with any of it.

I was wrong.

Over the past two years, I’ve been kicking around an origin story, trying to figure out why this character is the way he is. He started showing up in RP sessions (it’s Syn’s fault), and I continued to think about and discover things about this character.

I don’t know what possessed me to get this all out in writing. But, suddenly, this week, I couldn’t stop it from happening. I rolled up a new WordPress blog (which will remain secret for now) and just went at it, spewing this rather morbid origin story that told the reasons for this anti-hero’s rather broken personality.

I’m not used to writing morbid and darker stuff, so I feel a little dirty doing it (there’s nothing actually dirty there, I promise). But I also keep telling myself that this is the truth of this character, even if I glossed over all the grisly details on purpose.

Anyhow, it took me about 10K words to get all that backstory out of my system. But I still had more story to tell. That’s the point when I realized I was going to do something stupid: I was going to join NaNoWriMo… on Day 15.

That’s halfway through the month! What am I doing?!

I’ll tell you what I’m doing: At least 2,500 words a day until the end of the month. XD

So, if I get a little slack over the rest of this month, just know I’m drowning in Dragons.

Posted in Art, Gaming, Webcomics

New Year, New Creative Goals

I’m finally back home after a good chunk of time away on holiday vacation… which means I’m going through that readjustment period where there’s no food in the house and I have to clean up the messes the cat made while being cared for by someone else… and that kind of thing. I’m also shaking off the cobwebs on my blog like I do every year.

I already wrote about my gaming goals for the month, but I also want to talk about some creative goals I have in mind for 2017.

RPG Making

I didn’t buy a whole lot during the Steam sale this year. In fact, my only big ticket purchase was RPG Maker MV… something totally unexpected. Mostly because it costs $80 when not on sale.

I’ve puttered around with many of the older RPG Makers in the past. Some of my best memories were while making a game using the fan-translated RM2K by Don Miguel back before it officially came to the English audience. I also messed around with the RPG Maker VX, but didn’t like the limitations I found in that version.

The new MV is supposed to fix a lot of the things I didn’t like in VX. It has a lot of nice features that I feel are essential, such as side-view battles. But again, it’s so pricey that I didn’t consider purchasing it until this sale.

Nefol RPG

So what is the purpose of purchasing the new version of RPG Maker? Well, because once again, Syn and I have started kicking around the idea of making a Nefol RPG game.

This is not the first time this idea has come up as it’s something we both really want to work on. I hope we can put some time into it, because it could be fun to have a long-term collaborative project like this again.

“But didn’t you just start posting up Nefol as a webcomic?” you might ask.

Well, yes, I did. And if we do start developing a game, obviously, I won’t continue working on the webcomic version because of the time trade-off.

The webcomic really just came about from me messing around with Inktober last year and the fact that I really want to make some progress on the Nefol story in one form or another. To be honest, I haven’t had much response to the comic, anyhow. So I don’t think anyone will be too sad to see it discontinued in exchange for a game.

Inking Explorations

On the other hand, I also don’t want to give up inks just yet. Practicing using more traditional media is a challenge for me as I’ve become too reliant on digital art tools. If anything, I really want to make time to practice inking more.

Obviously, if I’m nixing the Nefol project, then I need to find another project to ink. Now don’t hold me to it, but I’m considering the possibility of reviving the old Shimmer webcomic project. Only, if I did, it would be a complete remake that followed the revised Shadows of Zot storyline with a darker tone and inked style.

When Shimmer first started back in 2004, it was meant to be an experimental art project. Just something I did on the side when I felt like it. But I got a lot of strong positive feedback, which encouraged me to make it a weekly comic, so I managed to keep it going while I still had the time to do so during college. After graduating and getting a full-time job, I ended up having to cut back on a number of my creative projects, and Shimmer was one of them.

I know that Shimmer is still some folk’s favorite story, so it’s one that I’ve tried to keep around in some form or another. Novelizing it has helped flesh it out a lot, and I think that it would be a fun story to practice inking. I can’t promise I’ll color it and all, though.

We’ll see where it leads.

Posted in Fantasy Fiction, Writing

Crud NaNoWriMo July 2016 – Shadows of Zot

Well, crud. Look what happened.

zotcrud

I wasn’t going to write for the July Camp NaNoWriMo. I was pretty discouraged after suffering through April’s NaNoWriMo, which was decidedly one of the worst NaNo experience I’ve had yet (no fault of NaNo, it was all me). And then I felt that all the effort went to waste as I didn’t even post anything I wrote in the end.

For the past few months, I’ve really wondered if I’ve lost my skill for fiction writing. Sure, I can spin a blog post like this in little to no time, and shoot out technical articles for work without batting an eye. But there’s a huge difference between inspired fantasy writing and conversational or technical writing. They’re all writing, but they use different muscles.

Where blogging had begun as a way to keep me writing consistently between my fiction sprints, it’s now become so, so much harder for me to write fiction in general. I’m not going to lie, I’d almost decided to give up on all of it. But then I get the little unexpected encouragements like…

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Merrybelly… you just don’t know how I almost cried for joy to see a kind compliment during a dark time in my creative landscape. Thank you. 🙂

It also got Shadows of Zot back on my writing radar, which is something I’ve wanted to do anyhow. So, yes. I have four days to re-read the 14 chapters I’ve already posted and refresh my creative palette to try and give this fantasy writing thing another stab.