Now that Belghast has posted the official Blaugust 2021 wrap-up, I wanted to tidy up some of my thoughts on Blaugust in general, and talk about my experience with this year in particular. I reluctantly made the decision before the beginning of August that daily posting was probably not something I was going to be able to attain this year, and attempted to adjust my expectations accordingly. I hate backing down from any sort of challenge, and Blaugust is precisely the type of challenge that works well for me.
But I had to balance my desire for productivity and shiny internet awards with the knowledge of the toll that productivity can take on me. I set my sights on achieving silver, and managed to – just barely – eke into the next category up, hence the lovely gold Blaugust 2021 award.
I also made the choice to focus more on keeping up with my gaming interests than keeping up with the community, and in retrospect, I think that was not the best choice to have made. I made this years festival about me, and I’m not even sure that I can say it made blogging easier. Over the course of August, I spent almost 90 hours gaming, and as a result, managed to make posts about eight different games over the course of the month.
However, since I didn’t dedicate a whole lot of time to reading other blogs, and interacting with other bloggers much past dropping the occasional like on a post here and there, I definitely feel like I missed out on a significant part of what makes Blaugust so great. I didn’t even realize this until I read Pete’s final #Blaugust2021 post. Despite there being so many more blog posts to read, I read less in August than any other month in recent memory. Because of this, I missed out on being able to build posts of my own on the back of posts from other Blaugust participants.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the interactions I get from blogging and social media and Discord with like-minded folks, but I don’t need it. It’s not a goal for me. Getting my thoughts down and sending them out into the world like baby birds is the goal; everything else is just gravy. I forget that for many bloggers, connection is the whole point, and I did not give back this past month the way I would have liked to do.
Community is the point of Blaugust after all, and this year, I just completely missed the point.
However, in my own way, this month was a huge success for me. I managed to carve out space for myself in my life, and that’s something I am forever struggling with. I didn’t waste gobs of time unable to decide what comes next. I (mostly) proceeded cleanly from idea to execution. I made time, and then I made damn good use of that time, and as ridiculous as it sounds, that’s huge for me. Even though I think I didn’t necessary succeed at Blaugust in its own intention, I needed this as a kick in the pants to remember why I do this, and why I love doing this.
I feel like this has been an issue in my life for a long time now – balancing the things I do for my own edification, joy, and recharging my batteries with the mundane life stuff that needs to be kept up with, and the things I do because other people need or want me to to do them. Living with a basically completely unmanaged (and therefore unmitigated) chronic illness, both mental and physical energy feel like scarce resources, and I don’t always use those resources in the best way. No matter what I decide, I almost always am looking back and worrying about missed opportunity costs.
I won’t try to say there weren’t a couple of times over the last four weeks where I pushed when I should have rested, or when I wasted time I could have manifested just a bit more energy and made better use of. Overall, I did pretty okay finding the balance, and I’m counting that as a win.
3 thoughts on “Some Blaugust (After)Thoughts – Lessons Learned Week – #Blaugust2021”
I was really glad for your comment on my post (for your readers, this is Pete from Dragonchasers) because you shined light on an area I hadn’t even thought about. The amount of time we have available is finite and more writing means less doing things like reading other blogs. I mean, it is so obvious it feels silly writing it, but I honestly hadn’t thought about it.
I was fortunate in that my work load at the day job was curiously light in August (light to the point where I was starting to worry if I have a future there, tho things are picking up now) and I did a LOT of my reading and ‘community stuff’ during office hours which was a real privilege that most folks didn’t get.
So after taking in your point of view I think maybe the benefit of Blaugust in terms of community is just making the initial connections that will hopefully endure past the end of the event when we all have a little more wiggle room in our schedules.
I was exposed to a lot of new (to me) blogs, yours included, and that is something that I’ll continue to benefit from long after Blaugust has faded in the rear-view mirror.
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I commented failry early on in Blaugust that I’d been reading fewer posts than I would in a normal month, or rather a lower perventage of the available posts. I mentioned it a couple more times, too, because it never got any better. It happens every year and the more successful Blaugust is, the bigger the impact.
For me, it isn’t about the finite amount of time. I don’t read fewer posts because I spend more time writing. I read fewer posts because there are only so many blog posts I can take in over the course of a day. Beyond a certain point I find myself skim-reading and missing whole sections so I have to pull back and reduce the number I’m reading so i can concentrate on what they actually say.
I read a lot of posts in a normal day and outside of Blaugust I often find there aren’t enough to fill the time i have available to read them. In Blaugust, though. there are frequently 20+ participants posting every day, another 20 posting every two or three days and about another dozen or so non–articipants posting equally as often. I just checked my blog roll and 36 blogs have updated with new posts in the last 24 hours and Blaugust has officially ended! I mean, I like reading blog posts probably as much as anyone but 35+ posts a day?
As Pete says, the important part is to make the connections. No-one expects everyone to read every post by everyone else. It’s just great to know so many bloggers are out there, doing their thing!
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For me, it wasn’t just a lower percentage of the available posts – it was a lower absolute number. Part of that, I’m sure, is that I tend to skip any FFXIV posts because they do tend to give me FOMO and I have tried it enough now that I know it’s not for me. But a bigger part was just … I would forget to check. I’d scroll through the Share Your Content channel without clicking on anything, and go days between checking my reader feed. It fell off my plate, and although I’m catching up now on a bunch of stuff I am interested in, it still feels a little bit like too little too late.
Still, I can accept the win on a personal level, and the oversight on a community building level, learn from both, and do better next go around (and in the months in between).
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