Blaugust Prompt #10 – The process behind my blog posts

Do I have specific routines for the process of creating a blog post? Are there differences between different types of posts? Do I only write posts on my PC? Do I only write at certain given times? Do I have a schedule for recurring topics? Well, this question and everything around the process of creating a blog post, in today’s Blaugust Prompt, hosted by Pae from NerdyBookahs

TL;DR: Yes, Yes, PC/Laptop, Yes, No, and more information!

The actual prompt is called: “What’s your process when creating a blog post?”

Now, I’d have to clarify that the process is different for every type of post. I tend to do Stray Sheep and other entries that are more wordy, ranty or just rambly in one sitting and edit them later. I usually sit down with a cup of tea or a mug of coffee, based on the time, and start writing… and when I’m done, my coffee is either empty or has gone cold, which is always a bummer. 

Speaking of “based on the time”, I tend to either write in the evenings or the mornings. During the day, I have to work on real-life stuff and study and do all of that, so I end up only having time to write when I get up and drink my coffee or when I am done with everything in the evening if there’s enough time before the stream. 

As far as to “where”, I tend to do it at my desk using my PC. Based on what I do, I can just use the second screen for music or research or whatever, while writing on the screen in front of me. When I didn’t have the PC yet, I would sit down on my bed and write on my laptop. I did try to edit a post on my phone once… but it’s incredibly hard to pull off and I suck at typing on my phone, even as a GenZ/Zoomer, “lol”. Alas, I usually go for the PC and just work on there. It’s the cosiest and most efficient, I’d say. I don’t have to tab in and out as much and I can type rather fast.

I have to rely on my laptop whenever I’m not at home or at my desk. I used to sometimes work on blog stuff at University in between breaks when I had too little time to work on university stuff and when I had just enough time to edit a picture and put it into a blog post or something like that. Over time, I ended up not doing that anymore, though, since my laptop has become slow and loud… and it can’t be helped since it’s already six years old but it still works when I’m at my parents and the volume of it doesn’t bother me there either, unlike in class. 

As far as schedules go: I don’t usually go for a schedule. I try to get posts out as soon as possible while not posting twice or even three times a day. Spacing out posts is important. While not my primary concern, I also want my posts to get read: Hence, I try to have a few days between reviews, so that some of the reviews can gain traction through Twitter, Discord, and the WordPress reader. At the same time, though, posts can also gain views when you post others and when people click off from them to others, so I try to space them out a bit but not too much. In the end, it’s a bit of a struggle between posting daily and potentially burning out but staying consistent enough for google to pick you up… and just posting every few days and potentially risk losing discoverability. 

I did once try to post a review every week with an additional post per week… but it ended up burning me out a bit and I posted fewer reviews for a while. Essentially Stray Sheep can be posted asap while reviews take a bit of work and cannot be mass-produced by me, at least with my standards and the value I put into them. The new Lookout Post also takes a bit of time to prepare as I want to get facts right or talk about certain games. The Gaming Journal posts also are more like gaming-related Stray Sheep that get posted once done.

Now, while other posts usually end up just being a write-up of sorts, reviews take a bit of work for me personally. Based on the game, I try to see every feature and every nook and cranny of it. Sometimes, you get the bigger picture already after a few minutes to hours, like in Fall Guys, but in other cases, it tends to take more than just hours. I’m working on a review of Outer Wilds right now and while it is written up, I fear that I’m spoiling too much. To find out whether or not I liked it, I had to complete the story, which didn’t take too long… Just 24 hours in total, according to steam. After that, I wrote up a post that is nearly 4000 words long (3870 words to be exact) and now I have to cut out words so that it ends up being shorter and less spoilery.

I essentially play games that I want to review, take screenshots wherever I can, and then take notes and write a post. 

Now, usually, posts can be as long as needed but reviews are a bit iffy in that regard, too. Reviews are supposed to give you insights on a game and whether or not you should buy or (rather) play it. Nowadays, people tend to not have the time to read through a post that requires you approximately 30 minutes to read through. Instead, people end up reading posts more that are shorter and more compact with more compressed information and essentially a TLDR at the beginning or even a summary that you can skip to when you’re in a hurry. 

But I don’t want to do that. I don’t want people to skip over my post. If they want to, they surely can do that, but I don’t want to enable them to exactly skip through everything, so I end up posting reviews that are long enough for me to see them as actual posts… but short enough so that people can finish them in a bus ride or in between. Hence, my posts are about 1000 to 1300 words long and get trimmed down to that. 1100 words are about 3-4 minutes of read-time, according to Grammarly and other sources. This varies based on the skill of the reader and the words of choice but generally, they are “long” but not “too long”. 

Back to my post on Outer Wilds: According to this post here, it would take a slow reader about half an hour to get through my review in its current state. Even a faster reader like me would need nearly 10 minutes for it, which could be considered too long already. So, I have to cut it down to about 1000 words or 1300 at max… or even a bit more, but not too much.

The other reason as to why I have to cut it down is spoilers. Outer Wilds is heavily based on exploration. Every screenshot, every information, every reference, every joke, every single word can ruin the experience. The same goes for my posts on Necrobarista or Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star. Being visual novels, their story is really important for the experience of the player. Every single word that I could write, could be a word too much. Hence, I have to see what I can do about that, how I play around it, how much I can say and what I would consider a spoiler… or what information would be a key-information for me. In Outer Wilds, for instance, the information, that [no spoilers], was crucial to my understanding. Hence, that information would ruin everything about the game for the reader. Duh.

Hence, I need to get rid of all the information that people don’t need to know before they play the game. The screenshots mostly are either pretty or add to my information but never show any bosses from late-game or whatever… The information is always based on the first few hours of my experience while the issues are things that I encountered over the course of my playthrough. 

After I’m done writing the review, I then go and research some facts about the game like the Developer, Publisher, Release Date, Platforms, Genres and put them into a small verse-block to essentially give people a quick look into what the game is about and whether or not the game is something they might be interested in. I also look for a featured image since that’s going to be displayed on top of the post and since that one will be in the link text and all of that. 

At last, after all of that, I tend to go back to the beginning and write a pitch of sorts. Something creative that basically invites people to come to the post. In my review for Milky Way Prince: The Vampire Star, I ended up talking about idealization and intimacy by first alluding to the very first time I met my current girlfriend and the somewhat cringy but also very hopelessly romantic memory I had of that. That anecdote then relates to topics in the game and I refer to the summary of the story without telling too much about it. Afterwards, I welcome the reader to another review and head into it. 

That works quite often. 

Sometimes, I need to find other words for it though… I can’t just start every review with “Today’s Indietail is about [game name], a [genres] title” – that would make every review generic and less personal. Instead, I’d love to write a short paragraph or two about something related to it. In my review on Ayre, I asked questions about freedom and flying… and while not that creative, I couldn’t really come up with anything else, so I just went for that. Still better than nothing!

So, to sum it all up: I do work at certain times, I do have certain routines, I prefer my computer as a workspace, and usually I have some coffee or tea ready for the process of writing. Reviews take a lot of work and effort since I am considering these things and a lot more… and I tend to write posts up and then later worry about editing, layout, and the initial pitch… in that order! 

Thanks for reading this post so far! You’re a champ!

This prompt was hosted by Pae, so check her post out if you haven’t yet. The next post in line is by Krikket, so check her out as well! 

Cheers!

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

TSS#71 – Blaugust Prompt #5 – Rituals?

This brings me back a bit but I actually talked about today’s prompt before when I just started blogging and when I entered Blaugust for the first time last year. It feels like ages but it’s only been a year since I wrote about this. Today’s prompt is the following: 

Everyone has specific rituals that they follow, tell us about one of yours.

The post that everwake is hosting over here is quite similar to an older post over here. Rituals… there are a bunch that I actually follow. 

For instance, I used to do Kendo, Iaido and Iodo for three years a while back and in our Dojo (or potentially all Dojos?) we had to do a small bow whenever we entered the room in the direction of the corner that is the farthest from the door. Essentially, you’re bowing to the “Elders” in spirit that have trained there before you. I’m not training any sword-fighting anymore but I am still doing that whenever I enter halls… probably out of habit. I mean, I don’t do a full-on bow (90°) but rather just a tiny one… like a nod, I guess? 

One of my rituals also includes watching my plants in Viridi grow!

I feel like that ritual is more of a habit, but despite that, I still follow it. I don’t try to get rid of that habit. I rather go with it since it doesn’t harm me and also doesn’t require too much energy to do. It’s mostly subconscious and just every now and then someone points it out, asking why I did that. Rarely do I ever notice myself doing it but honestly, I wouldn’t care. If there are “spirits” or “ghosts” of the people that trained there before you, I’d like to pay them respects. Imagine angering them or being rude towards them while using the same halls as them. That’d suck.

And if we stay on the topic of sports, I actually used to play Volleyball. I wasn’t really good at all that much apart from the front positions due… but I was nearly excellent at the service. I’d be able to land six or seven points in a row due to me landing the ball exactly on the backline so that people would think that’s it out of the field… but it’s actually still in there. 

To get those points and to be able to service that well, I followed a stupid ritual of me dribbling the ball three times in specific spots before then holding up the ball in front of me and then just slamming it away. My service was good but I sucked at everything else, so naturally, I’d try to get as many points out of my service as possible to make up for my lacking skill… and it worked. Those stupid rituals annoyed everyone but it really helped me do well. 

And when it comes to blogging, I tend to get some coffee in the morning or make some tea during at later hour before writing. I tend to forget about my tea/coffee during the writing process but I like the smell while writing and I made it a habit of mine to drink it beforehand… cold coffee is alright… but nothing goes against some hot coffee in the morning, y’know?

I noticed that I tend to make herbal teas for when I write reviews and fruit teas for when I write Stray Sheep. I love Camomile tea, for instance! Or some mint tea… I have nice liquorice root and mint flavoured tea over here that tastes really well and is able to make my day no matter what’s going on outside… of course, green and black teas are also awesome! For my birthday, I received some nice Oolong and Jasmine tea here, though I tend to get a whole can of that stuff usually.

Plants are cute!

I don’t usually believe in superstition or rituals like that but I tend to follow a lot of them. I probably am following a bunch of rituals and routines without even noticing them. Another stupid one would be that I always spit three times when I brush my teeth. I don’t know why but more or less than that just feel weird… and maybe my OCD just gets triggered when I do it four times or two times… 

And well, definitions are also a thing. Some of these “rituals” could actually just be habits. To begin with, is something really a routine or a habit if you’re not doing it with the intention of doing it? If you’re subconsciously taking a bow before entering a hall, is that really a ritual or maybe just some habit? 

In the end, it doesn’t matter though. Routines help you organize and structurize tasks and schedules. Without them, a lot of things would suck a bunch more… Without routines, you forget important steps. Without rituals, you may not get motivated enough to write up a post or get some work done, for instance. Without some of these habits, you wouldn’t be as successful, I reckon! 

Routines are nice and I like that I have some in my life. The same goes of course for rituals, superstition, and habits – subconscious or conscious doesn’t matter in that regard. Of course, there are bad habits but I’m getting rid of those slowly over time, I’d say. 

Read everwake’s post over here and check out Wilhelm from The Ancient Gaming Noob over here as he’s hosting the next prompt!

Cheers!

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!