Over the last couple of weeks, you might have noticed that I’ve been reposting some articles from old blogs of mine. It started out as a bit of a reflection on how this blog is going and what I could do to improve; I decided that step one was going to be to dig out a bunch of things that I’ve written and collect them here, so that as much of my body of work (a grandiose term, but it sounds less pretentious than ‘portfolio’ so bear with me) as possible is in one place. With that done, I was envisaging that the next stage would be to evaluate what I’ve written in the past and try to work out what I most enjoyed writing, what others seemed to most enjoy reading, and what I should be doing more and/ or less of going forwards.
Just for context, and because I feel like it’s fairly obvious anyway, this is coming at least partly from self-doubt. I’ve always written because I want to write, rather than because I want the validation of people reading my work and enjoying it, but now that I’ve been doing this for a while and finding that I’m not really getting much in the way of traffic at all, it’s… well, it’s hard not to think ‘wouldn’t it be nice if I could do something to attract more readers?’, y’know? I’d like this to be a place where people come and discuss things and come up with all sorts of cool thoughts on all manner of subjects, and having more readers would be good motivation to keep writing.
That’s not to say that I don’t feel motivated to keep going by the interactions that I do have here. I’ve become part of a little community of like-minded folk who write cool things and have interesting discussions about those cool things, and I’m very grateful that that’s the case. It’s a slightly odd dynamic, being friends with people but also a fan of their work, but I like it! I hope, too, that my own will to keep writing because that’s just what I want to do is going to continue for a while. It is, unfortunately, just sometimes a bit tricky not to struggle with the feeling that, for some reason, it would be a bad thing not to have the validation of people actually seeking out and engaging with the writing that I put out into the corners of the internet.
That’s enough about my motivations, anyway; let’s see what we have so far.
I was a bit dismayed, actually, to realise that a lot of the things I dug up from years ago were probably more interesting and engaging than what I come up with nowadays. I think my writing has improved in a technical sense, but I used to just sort of pick any old subject that was on my mind and turn it into a pretty fun read. Then again, I selected twelve articles to repost as part of the project out of a couple hundred, and I only picked the ones that I thought were worth keeping as decent examples of what I’ve created, so I should perhaps not be surprised that the selection I picked consists mostly of things that were unusually good by my standards! Most of the others were very short, very pointless, or very ranty (I used to be much angrier about a lot of things, it seems – and quite possibly more entertaining for it, but there it is).
Some of the posts I’ve written that I like the most are ones that take a particular aspect of a game (or games) and go into some real depth examining the implications. That’s something I’d like to do more of, but since I have less time these days to play a wide selection of games, I’m probably less likely to get good ideas for topics on that one.
Okay, cool, that’s one thing I like.
Er… I also like taking part in community events! Those are fun. (I am particularly proud of the one that I actually helped to devise, not just participate in, so big ups to Pix for helping make that happen.)
What else have I written…? Well, I don’t really do proper reviews, at least not here. I’ve done a few ‘Roughly an Hour Reviews’, which are basically just first-impression pieces; as for proper long reviews, my work on that front now appears at The Well-Red Mage rather than being something I do here. (By the way, I haven’t mentioned this here, but I now have two reviews up there and a third in the works. The second one, a piece on Cultist Simulator, got a nod from the game’s developer on Twitter, which was pretty cool!) I’ve delved into something along the lines of a Let’s Play format, but those have inevitably trailed off due to the amount of work and time involved. I really should go back and finish Recettear, and I do feel bad that the 999 playthrough with NekoJonez just stopped unceremoniously; I am now enjoying doing the Overthinkerlocke Challenge, though, so perhaps I’ve learned from previous experiences (certainly I include fewer screenshots, which makes everything much less time-consuming to collate) and might be able to continue doing playthroughs in future.
I can’t really think of much other stuff that I’ve done, which is a bit disheartening. I’m sure I have come up with stuff that was worth reading. I hope. Hm.
Well, this isn’t going as well as I’d have liked! My plan was to come up with a good little selection of content that exemplified me at my best, then work out how to do more of that – and this would also involve completely redoing all the menus and categories on the blog, probably, as well as its visual identity, since it’s all rather messy and I’m not very good at designing stuff and making it accessible and all that. I appear to have fallen at the first hurdle, though.
Tell you what, let me just pose this question:
What would you like to read? It doesn’t matter whether it’s a style or subject I’ve written in or on in the past (although if anybody does remember particular posts of mine they’ve enjoyed, then input on that front will be welcome too!) – I need to try writing a bunch of different stuff and seeing what works for me.
Like I said, part of this is motivated (much as I wish I could say it weren’t) by a desire to attract more readers, more engagement, more discussion, but equally I think I need to work out what I should be creating. I don’t think I’ve ever quite figured that one out.
A call to the community, then! And if nobody responds and I have to solve this one myself, I suppose that would be fairly appropriate given that I’ve been bemoaning a lack of traffic.