Reflecting on the Overthinkery Reclamation Project, and Where to Go From Here

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.

9 comments

  1. Man, traffic is so difficult. You have to keep writing articles so there’s a constant stream on your blog to stay relevant, but maybe like one post in one hundred will actually be the one that consistently pulls in traffic long after it went up. I know in my own case, the posts that generate the most traffic for me have the least engagement from my actual followers, and posts my followers like and comment upon only have traffic for a day or two and then fall to the wayside – it’s tough!
    I think for me, what you bring to the table is a combination of smart writing (smart meaning “good in a technical sense” here) with a great sense of humor. Your posts that delve into more philosophical topics (whether it’s funny like the Schrodinger’s Cat stuff or more serious like your recent post on loss) are very good, and I think it brings a skillset to the table that few other bloggers have. You are also particularly good at meaningfully supporting community projects – it’s one thing to be in Question of the Month or Blogger Blitz and another thing entirely to promote them on the level that you do. Also, High Score Haute Couture was fantastic – credit goes to Pix there too because both of you brought so much personality to that project. It was legitimately fun to judge because your posts were crafted with humor but also with a sort of…honesty, I guess? It was funny without being tongue-in-cheek. It was sincerely a fashion show, in your understanding of what that could be, despite you saying yourself that you don’t actually know a lot about fashion on a technical level.
    I didn’t set out to write a novel in your comments, but I hope some of that helps. For what it is worth, I really enjoy your content and think you have a strong style that is worth sharing, regardless of the traffic it may or may not generate. Forming an online presence is difficult and seems to have as much luck involved as skill, but I think you have the skill part down pat!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I appreciate it! I’m struggling a bit with the conflicting thoughts that a) I shouldn’t be writing if I’m doing it for the views or whatever and b) but it would just be nice to have some more of ’em! I suspect it may actually have more to do with promoting myself, which I don’t really do, but… y’know, I think as long as I’m around I’ll still be taking part in all sorts of fun stuff in the community, and that’s probably what I love most! I never expected that I’d find a bunch of friends here (yourself included!) that I could interact with and be part of events with and all that, so I do feel lucky, and I hope I won’t forget that.

    Like

  3. What I have learned from blogging about games is that sometimes you cannot give an in-depth discussion of a certain game if you haven’t invested a lot of time on that. For me to be able to invest a lot of time in a specific game, I have to enjoy everything about the game – story, mechanics, effects and so on.

    I have a day job on weekdays so I am a blogger who cannot make posts as frequent as possible. Though during the work days, I keep on thinking and observing about things gamers are doing, what they haven’t done and even their “oh no she better don’t” moments. If I thought of a better idea, I keep it on the back of my head and at the same time, writing it in my journal.

    To answer your $100,000 question, I would say I love the theme (not the WordPress Theme) you established to your blog! Keep it up. 🙂 There’s nothing wrong (for me) in how you write them or what topics you wanted to discuss, though I want to see some more of your thoughts about realities in gaming.

    (Apologies if you see some incorrect grammar.) 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am hoping to come out with some more thoughts on games and reality soon! It’s just taking me a while to put together 🙂 another problem, I guess, is that it can be easy to come out with quick things that aren’t particularly good or in-depth, but it’s harder to invest a lot of time in really insightful and thorough articles!

    Side note: I still listen to ‘Oh No She Bettah Don’t’ in the car pretty regularly. Mainly for Adore’s verse, which is just the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Take your time thinking about topics that are worth digging deeper into and keep it somewhere so you can return to it. I have also a topic of mine that until now I haven’t posted since last week – character backstories and I am taking my time writing one for myself. While making it, I’m playing some oldies on the side.

    I can say just keep doing what you love to write. There will come a point in time you’ll get a lot of people who will appreciate what you write.

    And I love DeLa’s and Bianca’s verse too 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Traffic is definitely a tricky thing. I can only sometimes predict what people are going to “like” to read. But… I guess what has been a guiding light for me is holding on to what excites me and sticking to that, even if what excites me is chronicling my let’s play journey even though it isn’t really the whole “games through lens of reality” theme I usual have going on.

    This might also come across as a really dumb thing to suggest, but have you considered a different format, rather than a different topic? I remember going through some training for a now-defunct gaming website, and my mentor and I discussed the importance of using pictures about every two or three paragraphs. Coming from academia, I have to admit I sort of rolled my eyes because “seriously, grown adults need pictures when they read things?” But… he was sort of right. I started getting a lot more engagement once I used more pictures to convey or complement what I was talking about. They broke up the walls of text, and gave me a chance to either reiterate the point OR show a little humor while talking about topics that might intimidate people, and caught people’s eyes if they were thinking of scrolling down and skipping things (I mean, to judge from the little feedback that I’ve gotten).

    Pictures, using more headings, and having questions at the bottom that are bolded seem like silly things to do, but it also makes reading easier and “catchier” on the eye and, I hypothesize, more likely to be engaged with.

    But at the end of the day, we’re all fumbling through. I think the most important things (which have already been said) is to always be sure that what you’re writing is interesting and fun for you, and the people who like your stuff will eventually find you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ve always thought that a blogger’s blog should be about what they personally enjoy writing about. View stats are heartless numbers. Blogging is time consuming thing that A LOT of people do, and it should most importantly be fun for the person writing it. I read a lot of blog posts. I find posts the writer actually enjoyed writing are much more entertaining to read, ya know?

    I enjoy your work and all I can say is keep doing what you want to do! Audiences never really know what they want anyway, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

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