Editorials & Opinion

Newbie Blogger Initiative: A Retrospective for 2013’s Class

Around this time last year, I was brand new to the blogging world. Though I was no stranger to bloatedly expressing my opinion to the world, rarely had I done it with any regularity or attempt to amass like-minded folk. Blogging was a concentrated means for me to express opinions and ideas and thoughts that otherwise might remain underneath the surface, bubbling and boiling, that may otherwise just been a long term case of indigestion. Since having actually started it, however, it has become more. Blogging is about community, and be that with your loyal readers or just other bloggers you meet, that’s a really important lesson to learn.

There are other lessons too, of course. I think instead of a long essay on the art of blogging from someone whose entire year of experience sparsely counts as anything you might call expertise, I’ll do something shorter and sweeter (and easier on your tired eyes).

Humor over Seriousness

This one is a bit of a misnomer given that I am almost always serious, but it’s a simple truth: make a man think and his head will probably hurt, but make his stomach hurt with laughter, and he’ll read your next blog post.

When I started off, I was entirely serious. The single topic I wanted to touch upon was ‘detailed Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game deconstruction and game theory’, though with a few sprinkles of nostalgia for good measure. Needless to say, that’s a dry topic for most, especially when you expect them to seek you out. People may do that sort of office chair game design from the comfort of game forums, but they don’t often venture out for long winded blog posts on the matter. But that sprinkle of nostalgia made me a few fans.

We’re all human and thusly all social beings. We have joyous memories and a need to remind ourselves and others that we were there at that special place and time. Nostalgia helped me connect, despite that game theory, to like minded individuals. Eventually, after my style had become a little less academic, those same individuals began commenting on the topic I had originally intended to focus on.

The lesson is ‘If you build it, they will comment.’ 

On Topics

Don’t define yourself too narrowly, nor define yourself too broadly. You aren’t a pithy, famous writer yet, so writing about everything won’t earn you much of a following (unless you are a natural pithy, famous writer, then ignore this entire post). However, picking one topic (again for brevity, ‘detailed Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game deconstruction and game theory’) is going to be extremely difficult, unless you a) are an expert and b) write about it once a month.

Over time, I became more and more comfortable with writing about broader subjects. I began to incorporate more personal stories and how they related to my history as a gamer, I moved from one sort of criticism to a broader sort, etc. It helped a lot too broaden the pool of followers that I could count on to at least give my latest post a glance. And nothing feels more rewarding than getting two seemingly disparate followers into one, single discussion. Well, except for maybe a pentakill, max level in original EQ, 7x grandmaster, a killamanjaro, or lasting longer than a few minutes, but that won’t help you blog better.

Lesson? Wait, I am still doing that?

Failure is Your Best Option

Call me crazy, but I’ve been really into reading about fitness lately. More than the fact that I am a relative fat ass, the philosophy behind becoming fit is remarkably broad in application potential. If you want to be harder/better/faster/stronger at something, then you need to actively pursue being fit. That’s more than having to take a walk. It means walking until you are blue in the face. It means doing something until you fail at it, then doing it again after you’ve rested a little.

If you want to be a good blogger, you need to fail miserably at it. Slapping up a wall of text on the internet is easy. Go read one article on any major news site that covers politics and you’ll see that people can write large, meandering rants easier than they breathe.

If you are willing to fail, that means you are willing to take chances and experiment. If you do so, eventually you will find your niche and your community and your following.

The lesson here is simple: If you fall off a horse, get back to your gun cabinet, take revenge on that asshole horse, and then save up for a car. You may have to sell body parts, do weird sex acts, work meaningless jobs, or beg your parents, but eventually you will have a sweet car that doesn’t buck around. A good blog is like a sweet car: everyone wants to ride in it, but no one wants to pay for the gas.

Uniqueness, Mastery, and Manning Personing Up

At a certain point, you are going to read someone else’s blog. In fact, I encourage it. There aren’t many easier ways to get hits, likes, or followers, than giving someone else a hit, like, or follower. But eventually you will find a blog that is bigger, better, bolder, brighter, and more beautiful than your’s. It should’ve happened when you got here, but maybe you don’t know enough about blogging yet to appreciate what is in front of you. That will come in time too.

Digressions aside, you have to embrace those blogs. They always offer great learning experiences on design and content. You can never be the best, but you can be the best you. Sure, that’s cliche and doesn’t help when someone can get a thousand views for re-posting a picture of a cat that you saw a year ago and you get three for that post you stayed up all night writing. That’s really a life lesson though.

In other words, the lesson is this: don’t be a Salieri. God doesn’t care about your incessant whining, you asshole. You are the Saint of Mediocrity, please embrace that before you are too old to successfully kill yourself. If you weren’t spending all of your time pining for more talent or to be more like Mozart or because you have this self-inflicted ego that says you should somehow be superior to a man whose music still kicks ass 300 years later, you might have at least gotten laid. Instead, all you ever got was a guilty conscience and a mouthful of cavities.

The real lesson? Watch Amadeus if you didn’t get anything I just said. Seriously, it’s my favorite movie of all time.

Epic Conclusions

Have fun (and follow me on Twitter or here on WordPress if you have any other questions).

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7 thoughts on “Newbie Blogger Initiative: A Retrospective for 2013’s Class

  1. What’s interesting about deciding to start a blog and then committing to it is wondering if there will be people out there who will want to read your stuff. I remember being at that place over a year ago.

    A lot of tough stuff was going on in my life at the time and I felt real life was sucking me dry. I wanted something that was going to keep me sane and help me focus all my energy on something creative and fun. It was a cautious project I decided to try out. I’m glad I was patient when I started my blog. I’m also glad that I started one blog and stuck to the one I have.

    I think the best part about doing my own blog and I know you must feel the same way about yours is how we manage to find a group of people who want to support and help you with your endeavors. To me, the community we have built is the best part of this entire experiment.

  2. Willingness to fail, now that’s they key. I think the best advice I ever got was from a video with a group of stand up comics. Almost universally, their mentality when getting in to the game was seeing the community of stand-ups, and going “I want to be one of those guys, and I don’t care if I suck at it.”

    I love that there is this community of like minded bloggers here. Slowly starting to get to know everyone in this community has been easily the most rewarding part for me. I still get that leap of excitement when I know that someone who’s blog I follow read anything I wrote.

    Everything you said here is phenomenal advice. Not just for the newbie blogger, but everyone could stand to reconsider a thing or two. I know I just did.

    • Thanks!

      Yeah, it’s best to not be too afraid of failure in anything you do. I have trouble with that on a daily basis, and it really held me back for most of my life. Simple things like taking a chance on a particular subject matter for some creative writing or asking a cute girl out, but things that made me hesitate more than I should have.

      At the end of the day, if you are the one in the room who stands to laugh the loudest at your own mistakes, then what does anyone else’s opinion really matter?

  3. Pingback: Virtual Party celebrating the original Newbie Blogger’s Initiative | Avatars of Steel

  4. Pingback: Newbie Blogger Initiative Info and Guides | Healing the masses

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