Blaugust, as envisioned by Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut, is a festival of blogging, a celebration of content creation of the written word variety, and a community-building activity for people participating in a medium that many consider to be dying or already dead. Although Blaugust awards are granted for established blogs who put out at least five posts during the month of August, I’ve set my sights on the Rainbow Diamond award, and am planning a post per day for the entire month.
This will be my third Blaugust even where I paid attention to the themes and talked a little bit about what I took away from the experience. In 2019, I was mostly just glad to be writing again, and little bit relieved it was all over. Then last year, I reminded myself that getting the words out was the important part, and I needed to let go of that part of me that desperately needs everything to be done absolutely perfectly.
Well, my big takeaway from 2022 is almost as revelatory – everything is easier when you take the time to prepare yourself.
It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? Because of the limitations of my energy, and my constant skirmishes with brain fog, I already have a pretty good focus on preparedness in the rest of my life. If I have a bunch of things I need to remember to take with me in the morning, I make sure to get them all together the night before. I make sure I have everything I need for the meals I plan to cook between grocery deliveries when I put in my order. Heck, I don’t even like to start a craft project until I have all the supplies I’m going to need for it.
Why did it never occur to me to apply this to my blogging before?
I have been keeping a content calendar – this was on my to list even before I decided to start up the #JustOnePercent Project, but it’s proved absolutely invaluable afterwards. None of my other series or projects had really stuck before this, but sitting down once a month, installing the games I planned to play the following month, and putting all the project posts onto a schedule has – mostly – kept me on track. I even started adding random post ideas that popped into my head, and adding things to the calendar after I’d already written them. I didn’t need to, of course – I could always look at the blog itself to see the posts I’d already made – but I liked the visual reminder of what I had accomplished.
Since I set my goals pretty high for #Blaugust2022, I decided to take it up a notch. What if, instead of just pre-planning my content, I started pre-writing it as well? I was already in the habit of scheduling posts; stuff that goes live in the morning tends to get more views than posts that go out when I tend to write in the evenings or at night. I gave myself a couple of dedicated blocks of time per week to work on posts, and thought I’d be very pleased to be 1-2 posts ahead at any given time.
It worked out better than I ever imagined. For the majority of the month, I’ve had somewhere between 5 and 7 posts scheduled at any given time, with usually one or two in progress in my drafts. Because I was working so far ahead, I didn’t feel rushed or pressured into playing games when I wasn’t in the mood, which I credit with both improving my enjoyment of and disposition towards my project games this month. Being ahead motivated me to stay ahead, and this was – without question – my easiest #Blaugust yet.
While what I learned about being prepared might be a good lesson for anyone, the other thing I learned this year is more personal. That is: the posts I write that are – in one way or another – very personal to me, are about 1000 times harder to write than any post I write about games, crafts, or anything else. The time spent actually writing is significantly longer, I do a ridiculous amount of editing and revision, and I find the whole thing emotionally exhausting.
I mean, sure, there’s some me in every post I make – as soon as you voice an opinion, you’re revealing something about yourself. But all of my life, I’ve been drawn to things that make me feel included without making me feel like the center of attention. I never auditioned for main roles, content to hang out in the chorus or, even better, behind the stage. I’d volunteer to photograph events so I wouldn’t have to be in the pictures. With very few exceptions, I’ve lived my life in a way that it was easy for me to be acknowledged, without every feeling like I was been seen.
I’m not 100% clear on where I am going with this, except to say, I plan to (mostly) continue as I have been, and as far as this blog is concerned, personal posts will continue to be the exception, and not the norm. I know this potentially diminishes my reach – after all, if I’m not giving you any compelling reason to come back for the person behind the keyboard, you might as well just read anyone else’s discourse on gaming and nerd stuff as mine. I can respect the desire to inject yourself into your work, and I do read quite a few blogs that are at least part personal journals, but it’s not what I want to be putting out into the world at this point in my life.