To Blog or not to Blog?

shakespeare-in-love

The Newbie Blogger Initiative is in full swing, and many people are writing excellent articles encouraging would-be bloggers to take the plunge. Call me a contrary soul, but that gets me wondering if blogging really is for everyone. To blog, or not to blog? Is the answer ever no?

The first thing to say is that if you’re someone who is thinking about starting a blog but feeling hesitant about it, your own reasons for hesitation are probably not good reasons at all!

Everyone is different and has their own hangups, self-doubts and all the rest of it. Some people might have qualms about their writing ability for example, while others might be worried about the technical side of things. Personally neither of those bothered me when I was wondering whether to start this blog. But what did concern me was whether I was really knowledgeable enough about gaming in general or any game in particular that anything I had to say would be of value. I certainly didn’t see myself as an uber player, and I imagined that even in my main game, LOTRO, most people would know at least as much about it as I do. Who was I to be starting a blog? There are blogs out there where people have published detailed guides to all the LOTRO skirmishes! There are people that have crunched numbers in spreadsheets to find out what skirmishes to do to maximize your rewards per minute! There are people who have lovingly detailed every steed available in the game! There are people who’ve spun epic works of fanfic about their MMO adventures! I am very far from being one of those kinds of people, so who am I to be starting a LOTRO blog?

Now if you knew me in real life.. if you knew me very well.. you’d see that kind of thinking is not confined to blogging. I mentioned hangups before, and this is one of mine. Surely I’d have to be much more senior and have had a much more stellar career to be going after job X? Or to apply to college Y? Surely I’d have to be so much more amazing than I am to ask out woman Z? Actually it turned out (eventually, finally, after overcoming the doubts, and with suitable encouragement) the answer was really: No.

Your hangups may differ in detail from mine, but probably you have plenty of them. If you’d like to blog, but you’re hesitating about doing it, ask yourself if the reasons for your hesitation are typical of you. Chances are they are not some well thought out objective reasons why this particular activity isn’t for you, but more likely personal gremlins that bedevil you whatever you’re thinking about doing, and don’t have much relation to reality.

To Blog

Let’s consider some specific concerns that people might have…

  • “I’m not that good of a writer” – Well, there are some excellent writers out there in the blogosphere, but there are plenty of average ones as well. There are all kinds of blogs and bloggers out there. There are people who post screenshots of their adventures, with short little notes on what they’ve been up to this week. There are people who tell you what’s on sale in the in-game store, and what they think is worth buying. Whatever you like to do, and whatever you feel your abilities are, there is going to be some kind of blog you could make that people will appreciate.

  • “I don’t have the time” – Luckily there is no rule about how much you have to write or how often! (I’ve labeled myself a Fewbie Blogger, because there are newbies with more posts published than me.) If you have aspirations to have a large readership then you’ll probably want to blog often. But you can have plenty of fun and plenty of readers with only a post a month, or even less. In betweens posts you can stay connected with the community by reading other people’s blogs, commenting, tweeting and such.

  • “I’m befuddled by the tech” – Some of the best blogs are the simplest. Get a free WordPress.com blog, start posting, and go from there.

  • “If I build it, will anyone come?” – During the NBI, yes! You’ll get visits from the links the sponsors give. You’ll get visits from your fellow newbies, who you’ll get to know. Without the support of the NBI, it could take some time to get more than a trickle of readers, and it would be very easy to get dispirited and give up before you got there. So the NBI is a great opportunity to get off to a flying start.

Not to Blog

So is there any reason to choose not to blog?

I can think of one very big one: Unrealistic expectations.

What are you looking for from blogging? If in the back of your mind you think there’s a chance of finding fame and fortune and influence, and that is what is really motivating you to consider blogging, you’d probably be wise to give it a miss.

If you just like the idea of expressing yourself for its own sake, and you’re happy blogging for fun and being part of a small community, you’re good to go!

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10 thoughts on “To Blog or not to Blog?

  1. “But what did concern me was whether I was really knowledgeable enough about gaming in general or any game in particular that anything I had to say would be of value.” <– This, is something most of us newbies have thought a few times i'd imagine, I have atleast. Good read, thanks!

  2. It took time to learn the mechanics of various Blogspot templates. It took time to determine a posting schedule that would allow me to say something substantial and meaningful once a week, versus several short and mediocre posts in that same week. I never had any guidance when I began my journey. I never knew about the NBI. I had no network, so I had to make my own connections. My blogging career started simply with having something to say and finding a place of my own to say it, despite being barely knowing my chosen subject.

    I had started blogging about outfits and cosmetics in LOTRO in a time when more than a dozen of those kinds of blogs existed. I wanted to become one of the most well-known outfitters, but I realized it wasn’t about the notoriety. Instead, my blog would become a source of outfit ideas. And here I am two years later. Material Middle-earth is still going strong.

  3. I think anyone has something that somebody else could find interesting, they just don’t necessarily know what it is or have the confidence to go for it. Even if you just rambled on about what you’re getting up to in certain aspects of your life I’m sure somebody somewhere will find value in it. I enjoy reading blogs from other gamers just because it helps you to feel more connected with the culture. I suppose even if you don’t get many readers, blogging can still be a valuable experience to have. I’m not brilliant at writing, but I enjoy having somewhere to put my random thoughts.

    I’m the kind of person that seems to develop a lot of anxiety about starting something new and I will often put things off because of it. Questions like ‘am I good enough?’ and ‘will anybody like it?’ race through my head. As a blog can be shared with the rest of the world it also adds to the anxiety because people may end up seeing your bad attempts at writing. I get the odd week where I post less because of that anxiety, but I think it’s good for me to have the outlet. In the case of blogs I also had doubts about finding the time to do so or being able to continue coming up with ideas for what to write about.

    • You might want to check out the Newbie Blogger Initiative. (Links in the post.). There’s a small community of people who started blogging about gaming recently, and you’ll find interesting things to read and people who’ll want to read your posts. A lot of them interact via Twitter too.

      Btw I already followed your blog in my WordPress reader, so that’s one more person that finds your articles interesting and well written. 🙂

      • Its been recommended to me before and I’ve enjoyed reading many blogs from there, I just didn’t think I was good enough at writing to share my own stuff. Thanks for following along. Your blog is really awesome too. I enjoy reading your posts – as you can probably tell from the number of comments I left. Lol.

  4. Pingback: Blogging: To niche or not to niche? | Thinking Play

  5. Pingback: Where to Blog? – Thinking Play

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