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!

The Stray Sheep #55 – Blaugust is hard and Blapril is harder

Blaugust is hard. Blapril is arguably harder. After all, you’ll need one extra post in thirty days!

For the past couple of days, I’ve been struggling with blog posts. At first, I thought it was the topics that I’ve chosen – I mean, I’ve got twenty drafts sitting there and none are particularly finished. But then I realised that some of my rather finished drafts are just too short. And hence, I found the reason why I’m not good at creating posts right now:

I set myself a goal of writing two posts per day in April… On every day… BUT I also always write up posts with about 1000 to 1300 words, so naturally, I wouldn’t be satisfied if a post would turn out shorter than that… I guess 700 words still work… but having a post with only 200 words is really short compared to everything else and thus I’d feel bad about it as I’d feel like I’m shit posting and hence cheating in Blaugust.

But then I sat down and saw that I got tagged in a post by Naithinm, a post in which he has written a review on Regions of Ruin (a game I would not have recommended a while ago but it got updated heavily, so it probably is recommendable nowadays… we’ll see). His post was inspired by Krikket’s idea of showing some love to Indie Devs and reviewing games from itch.io (which is something that I planned on doing anyways especially as I’ve been playing a lot of Catlateral Damage lately) but I kind of ended up not doing it as I’d often edit the posts and then I’d end up with plenty of short posts, which I wasn’t really satisfied with and uh… well, here I am.

After I read through Krikket’s post, I realised that other bloggers are actually posting normal shorter posts like that with only 200 to 300 words, too.

Now, I’m not other bloggers… but at the same time, I’m stressing way too much over a “challenge” of sorts with no word limitation or word count requirement. And that’s not needed. Especially as I don’t have a ritual right now to deal with stress, I shouldn’t stress over unnecessary small things like that. Therefore, the next few posts should be a lot better and carefree – after all, we’ve nearly hit the Rainbow Goal and we don’t need to stress about the 31 posts.

But I guess that’s it for today’s post. I still need to create a second for yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday) but I’ve got something in mind for that and I’ll have to work on it tomorrow on top of two extra posts for tomorrow (Wednesday). Ah, yikes.

Anyways, have a nice time!

Cheers!

The Stray Sheep #36 – en passant 2

It’s been a while that I slept well and it’s also been a while since I posted anything. “Coincidence? I think not.”

For the past couple of days, I didn’t sleep at all at night or woke up way too early, leading to me getting tired at Uni, then coming home, falling asleep on my desk, then waking up in the night (kinda well-rested), working on Uni-stuff at night and not getting to blog at all, lately. 

So, yesterday I then ended up pulling an all-nighter in order to fix my sleep schedule. It’s been hard. I really needed the sleep. During the day, I had a geometry-lecture that I went to before going back home and trying to stay awake until at least 10 pm before then going to sleep. The result was me waking up 2 am (unlucky) but still getting to fall asleep again. It’s nearly 8 am right now. I got ready for my next Uni classes, got my coffee machine running and I should have my sleep schedule fixed for now. I hope it stays that way. 

At least I got to work on a few reviews in the sleepless time BUT I figured that I shouldn’t post them yet for several reasons – mainly as they’re not that good yet and one of them is scheduled for November 2nd for the sake of fitting a certain Mexican holiday. I hope you don’t mind that you’ve got to wait for that one but I’m sure it’s going to be great. 

Yesterday I also got to play Beat Cop, which I really enjoyed. A review on that should follow soon as well, so stay tuned for that one. 

This weekend is going to be quite interesting as well, btw. Tomorrow I’ll get introduced to my girlfriend’s grandparents, which I’m quite happy about and which is one of many reasons why I had to fix my sleep schedule as soon as possible. 

On Sunday, I’ll go to a tarantula convention. I hate spiders (as you probably already know). I’m really afraid of them, so I hope that having some tarantulas and other spiders put on my hand or seeing them up close helps me overcome my fear. It wasn’t my idea but it sounded like a good one. I’m already shivering at the thought of it, but I’m sure it will go well…. or get worse. Who knows? 

So, I’ll cover Beat Cop soon on my blog and then work on other game reviews for titles like The Great Swindle! There’re also some other drafts laying around that I still need to work on. One of them is about one of my favourite decks in Legends of Runeterra that is similar to the Bomb Warrior in Hearthstone. I’m really excited for that one but I cannot post about it for now as the next preview patch of Legends of Runeterra is available in a few weeks and the last one has already ended. 

Another thing I wanted to talk about is the fact that I’ll get into streaming soon! I’m currently saving for a new PC and right now only waiting for the money to arrive (four more days?) so that I can order the remaining parts. Apparently, the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti is really overkilling what I plan to do spec-wise, meaning that I won’t need an upgrade in quite some time… but it also is really cheap right now, so I can’t complain too much about it. 

Once that PC is ready and set up, I’ll be able to stream games on Twitch every now and then. I’m really excited about that as I’m planning to do some sort of “Live Reviews” format where I play a game for the first time and post about it afterwards on my blog. With my current laptop, I wasn’t really able to post any more “Late to the Party” posts without encountering game crashes, FPS-drops, and other problems, so there’re going to be a lot more posts in that column! 

But why do I want to stream?

Well, I first encountered Twitch when I saw that ChestNut from the Blaugust-community is also on Twitch. To date, I still haven’t seen her streams nor do I know what kind of person she is but she seemed friendly on the Blaugust Discord, so I figured “Why not just search for her?”.

When I wanted to check out her stream, though, she was hosting a channel called Aeyvi which was rather small at the time, had a comfortable atmosphere going on and was pretty nice! There have been no trolls and I not only got to talk to the streamer herself but also other people in the chat without getting “spammed away”. When I mentioned me getting a new PC, I got referred to Jimb0 who is really great at tech-stuff! Hence, I followed and eventually also subbed to him as he makes great content on Twitch and, again, has a great community.

Another day he ended up raiding a streamer called XilentFlex who’s also great and very positive! I now basically hang out at these guys’ streams nearly every day, or watch JustKt_HursheyCrispLazyLJButterscotch_27FaustDaimos, SymastusYawwn_SoloPersephoneSeas, and other streamers. I like these streamers and their communities a lot and haven’t encountered any sort of toxicity in their streams, mainly as most of them are in the Plant Army stream team who are very inclusive and friendly. 

So eventually I decided that I wanted to stream, too, as a hobby and combine it with my blog, resulting in me being to broadcast Indie Games to more people which helps smaller devs. On top of that, I’d also be able to provide reviews with a Vod of actual gameplay, improving my reviews and my blog overall! I think that might be interesting. 

So, that’s today’s little update. I hope you all don’t mess up your sleep schedule and I hope that you’ve got some great days ahead of yours!

Carpe Diem or something!

PS: If you want to follow any of those people on Twitch, tell them that Magi sent ya (hehe). Jokes aside, I linked their twitch accounts on their names and if you look up my twitter, I also linked their twitter accounts over there in a thread about this post.