Blapril 2020

Wait a minute, it’s not August yet! Despite the fact that we’re only moving into April 2020, the world has been a crazy place this year. Bloggers such as myself find themselves with plenty of time to write about things, and once again Belghast has decided to put together a blogging challenge in the same vein as Blaugust, however we’re doing it a bit earlier this year (it’s unclear if there will be a Blaugust this year as well, but for now let’s focus on current events). This time around it’s being call Blapril (pronounced Blay-Pril) and is not only a funny play on words, but a fitting pill in these trying times. Many of us are cooped up in our houses and have nothing better to do. Some of you “essentials” are still working but could use the outlet. Whatever the case, you can head over to the announcement post and get all of the information, though I’m trying to copy down the relevant stuff here. Once again there is a schedule planned, and once again the goal is to hit 31 posts for the month, though April only contains 30 days, so I’m starting today to make sure I get my count right. Here’s the schedule as it stands:

  • March 29th – April 4th – Blapril Prep Week: This is a time for those of us in the community who have been through this process a few times or at least feel like we have figured out this blogging thing to help those of you who are new to the process to get started with some advice posts. Additionally this is a time to sign up for the Discord if you have not already and start mingling with the folks who are active there year round. This is also a time for the newbies in the bunch to get started on setting up their blog and getting those first few “Hello World” posts out there.
  • April 5th – April 11th – Topic Brainstorming Week: This is a time for the mentors among us to throw out topics and ideas for posts to help you out when you find yourself staring down the tyranny of the blank page. We all have those days when we cannot figure out what to write about and being able to fall back upon the community for ideas and inspiration is a tried and true method. The prevalence of topic ideas also helps the newbies get started a bit with a constant flow of things to write about.
  • April 12th – April 18th – Getting to Know You Week: Tell us about yourself and your preference as a gamer or whatever thing that you happen to like doing. This is also a time to reach back into the wayback machine and dredge up interesting stories that you don’t mind telling the community. For the newbies it serves as a time of introducing themselves to the broader community and bonding.
  • April 19th – April 25th – Developer/Creator Appreciation Week: One of the things that has happened over the years with Blaugust is that it enveloped some of the better ideas from other events and combined them as part of the single month long celebration. Years ago Scarybooster started this idea of devoting a week to the sharing our love of the Developers and Studios behind the games that we play. Last year this morphed a bit to also include a celebration of the various content creators that we enjoy as well, so I am officially tweaking the name of the week a bit as a result to serve both purposes. Essentially it is a time to gush unabashedly about the things that you love.
  • April 26th – May 2nd – Staying Motivated Week: Towards the end of the proceedings we start to have a drop off in post frequency as folks hit their writing wall. The idea behind this week is to share the tips and tricks that we have learned throughout the years on how exactly to stay motivated and keep posting on a daily basis. I feel like this is even more relevant this year since we are all going through massive disruptions to our usual schedules and having to deal with all sorts of external changes impacting our well being both physically and mentally.
  • May 3rd – May 9th – Lessons Learned Week: The goal as always with Blaugust and now Blapril is to revitalize the blogging community and ignite those fires fresh for another year of posting. As such this is a marathon that we are running and not a sprint, so we continue forward a little bit into the next month for folks to have that cooldown lap and talk about the things that they learned during the month. This could be a discussion of your own personal journey, or focused on some of the things that you learned from the community. The idea being to keep it going just a little bit longer so that maybe the habit of posting regularly sticks.

These are merely suggestions, as this whole thing is designed to get new bloggers into the fold, but judging by years past, it’s a similar ragtag band of adventurers that commit to the madness each year, while the new additions oftentimes don’t make it past the first few days. As such, mentors and old people like myself are here to lead by example, give tips and generally keep this thing moving forward. In years past I’ve always signed up as a mentor, but looking back at Blaugust 2019, I did absolutely nothing to fulfill this role, so this year I’m merely a participant, however you can reach me here or on the Discord channel if you feel the need for sage advice. Otherwise I encourage you to think about things to write about as you go about your day. I find that I come up with ideas when I’m watching Netflix or YouTube or even while I’m playing games. Most of the people in this group are dedicated nerdy writers so the scope can be as vast or as narrow as you see fit. Just keep writing. Start for yourself, stay for the audience no matter how small it may be. I have people who have been following me for over 15 years, and others who discover my writing accidentally but have stayed for the ride. One thing is for certain, you will see a direct result in traffic/followers proportionate to the amount of effort you put in. Those who write every day are more likely to get more traffic than those who post once a month. Promotion also helps. That’s about all I have for tips right now, but just keep it rolling. If you want to get involved, follow these steps:

How Do I Participate?

  • The first step is to fill out the Sign-Up Form for Blapril 2020 which can be found hereOnly those who have signed up will be given credit towards the awards.
  • Next make sure you are active on the Blaugust Discord and the link for that can be found here. This is the third year we have been active on Discord and it is a community that has managed to stay evergreen throughout the years. Maybe even share your content each day in the appropriately named “share-your-content” channel.
  • When you share your content on social media please use the hashtag #Blapril2020 for tracking purposes and to make it easier for those watching the event to find fresh content.
  • Mingle with your other Mentors and Participants because this is a community event, and part of the fun is getting to know the community. These folks represent a social structure that you can lean on for advice in the coming years. I personally deeply value my ties with other bloggers that I have built up over the last decade of doing this thing.
  • If you are so inclined there is a “gaming-together” channel on Discord for impromptu grouping in various games while the event is going on.
  • Welcome to Blapril 2020 as we use the power of internet togetherness to help combat those negative side effects of social distancing.
  • If you want an archive of all of the various logos and such, check out the Media Kit page which is the final resting place of all Blaugust and now Blapril related media.

Lastly, this is the most recently updated list (which includes myself as I just signed up yesterday) of participants. I recommend taking a look at these blogs and giving them a follow, they’re sure to follow you back and will help to keep you involved.

Current Participants:

That’s all for this introductory post. I already have a few posts scheduled for the next couple of days and am going to try and keep ahead of the curve. Good luck to all the new and returning participants! See you on the other side.

Blaugust 2019 Wraps Up

August just flew by, didn’t it folks? For those of you who made it through the slog, congratulations. This is I believe the third or fourth time I’ve managed to do the full gamut of posts during the event, so I’ll pat myself on the back for that. Some items learned during this year’s Blaugust:

  • I didn’t follow the schedule at all. I made one post that was on theme with Bel’s schedule with the developer appreciation bit.
  • I didn’t really mentor anyone, don’t know if that means I should lose the status.
  • I was in my own little world, not mentioning WoW Classic once. Well, now I just did.
  • This year was the most difficult to get out all 31 posts. Having a vacation in the middle of the month made for a mini-marathon just to have posts scheduled.
  • I enjoy blogging, but I cannot keep up this pace. Some days I was reaching for something to write about.
  • Despite many passions, sometimes I don’t feel like writing.

It was a long month that passed quickly and I am glad that the marathon is over. I’ll be returning to my 15 or so post a month schedule that has served me well in the past. I’ll probably go silent for a couple of days unless the bug strikes me sooner. I know there were some drafts I didn’t end up publishing that I may work on, but for the most part I am spent at this point.

That’s really all I have. It was nice to see the community come together again around this event, but once again the attrition will likely set in. Not to sound like a downer, but these are facts. Hopefully some of you stick around for the long haul. I need stuff to read.

Blaugust 2019 Kicks Off

Allow myself to introduce… Myself.

This website has been long standing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all that many people have seen it. That is to say that I’m not presumptuous enough to assume that I have a huge reader base. Based on stats and interaction, I know there are some regulars but we’re not raking in piles of affiliate link dough around here. Doing something for a long time doesn’t necessarily garner success, but this blog and the writer behind it both feel good about the small successes they have had. With that said, welcome to Me vs. Myself and I — one blogger’s space on the interwebs to talk about things that matter to him. I’m Izlain, by the way.

I’ve participated in Blaugust each year it’s been a thing. This year is no exception. I’m not normally a post-every-day kind of person, but I’ve taken up the challenge to do so each summer, and each summer it has been a rewarding experience. With my current work schedule I expect this year to be more of a challenge than those passed, but I will soldier on regardless. Here’s what you can expect around here during August:

  • Video Games and Magic: The Gathering posts. This is the format the site has taken for the last couple of years and it works. Expect more of the same with some caveats.
  • This month the annual Commander pre-constructed decks release, and with that spoilers are coming. Typically when a new set is being spoiled, I will just follow along and notate cards I want to talk about and then make a post after the spoiler season is complete. This time, in an effort to help out with Blaugust post counts, I’m going to do multiple posts on the topic. Spoilers are slightly more relevant the day they are spoiled as opposed to a couple of weeks later as well.
  • I will be on vacation for almost two weeks during the month. I suspect there will be little time for posting on those days, so I am going to get posts written and scheduled ahead of time. You shouldn’t notice that I’m gone at all.
  • Where am I going? I will be at Magic Fest Las Vegas for 2nd year in a row (thought last year they were still referred to as the Grand Prix despite being the same thing). I seriously doubt I will be able to live blog, but it’s likely that I write something about the event once I’m back at home.
  • One major difference for me personally this year is that I feel like I’m a bit spent on the “mentor” aspect of the event. It was a welcome idea last year when Belghast threw this event together and included dead events like the Newbie Blogger Initiative, but honestly I don’t think I have anything else to say on the topics of what or how to write. So for me at least, there will be less focus on the writing prompts and mentorship duties. However, you can have a gander through my archives and I’m sure there’s something helpful in there. I’ll be in my corner over here doing my own thing, but that’s how it’s always been — for nearly fifteen years now!

I’m not the only one doing this thing though, Belghast has rallied the troops new and old, and there’s a significant list here of things to read and I’m sure some of the other mentors will still have sage advice to give:

Here is a quick summary of the Blaugust 2019 Links as well. It’s not too late to sign up, from my understanding you can even sign up late and do catch-up posts to meet the participation goals.

Let the festivities begin!

Blaugust 2019 is Coming

We’re just about fifteen days away from the beginning of August, and just like years prior our amazing starter-of-fires-under-our-asses, Belghast, has once again announced Blaugust for 2019. It’s something I’ve participated in since its inception, and thought some years have been harder than others (this year is going to be tough with my schedule), I have been proud to make it through this blogging challenge multiple times. I have signed up to be a mentor again, as I have been blogging for almost 15 years so I know what goes into it and know how discouraging it can be when traffic dips or it seems like many of the blogs you enjoy reading go dark. I also know how rewarding it can be to get involved in these community events, and since Blaugust has evolved to encompass other events like The Newbie Blogger Initiative and Developer Appreciation Week, it’s a great way to get in touch with other people who like doing this writing thing! Last year Belghast introduced a loose schedule of sorts, and this year is following the same of formula:

Rather than putting my own spin on this, I’ll just quote the man himself:

  • Blaugust Prep Week – July 28th – August 3rd: This is a time for those of us in the community who have sorta figured this blogging thing out to help get you started with some tips and tricks style posts. Additionally this is a time to sign up on the Discord and start mingling among the folks. It is designed to ease you into the month with some helpful advice.
  • Topic Brainstorming Week – August 4th – August 10th: This is a time to for mentors to throw out ideas for posts to help you when you run out of things to talk about. This is something that hits all of us and having some familiar topics to revisit often times helps to defeat the tyranny of the blank page.
  • Getting to Know You Week – August 11th – August 17th: Tell us about you and your preferences as a gamer or whatever it is you happen to like doing. This is the time to dip into the well of stories and tell us something interesting that has either happened to you or something about your specific footing in your real or digital life.
  • Developer Appreciate Week – August 18th – August 24th: This one is specifically targeted at the gamers among us, but could be re-purposed to talk about any industry. The idea is to give appreciation for some of the folks who have created the things that you love. In the past we specifically talked about publishers and game studios that create the games that we are enthralled by, but it could be authors or artists or anyone who creates something that you love. It is a good time to give some thanks.
  • Staying Motivated Week – August 25th – August 31st: The final stretch. The idea is to post some help to keep folks motivated as they run towards the finish line. Also some general tricks and tips on how you keep motivated if you are one of the more seasoned veterans of the blogging community. If you are fresh to the initiative you could talk about some of the ways you have kept yourself engaged and creating content.
  • Lessons Learned Week – September 1st – September 7th: A reminder that the goal is to refresh the content creators out there and not necessarily to run a sprint. Some folks are going to cross the finish line and immediately go dormant for awhile, and others are going to want to talk about the experience. Creating a space to hold those discussions and hopefully keep folks from dropping off the face of the earth immediately following the event.

I tend to do my own thing during Blaugust, which essentially amounts to what I would already be doing, just amplified due to the increase in posts. This year has been a down year for blogging as most months I have barely reached ten posts. However I know that this event has always been good for me and my writing mojo, so it will be a challenge but one that I’m up to facing. I have pushed myself to get all thirty one posts out for a few years now, and I have noticed that my output remains higher than normal for the following months. The only reason I’ve slacked off a bit this year is due to a graveyard schedule fucking up any sort of semblance of a normal schedule for me, but I have been slowly but surely ramping up and I think I’ll be able to persevere to round out the summer.

The two major links you’ll need to get started are here:

  • The Sign-Up form for Blaugust 2019 can be found here. Only those who have signed up will be given credit towards the awards.
  • The Invite Link to the Blaugust Discord can be found here. Participation in the Discord is entirely optional.

The Discord has been a great way to connect with other bloggers and chat about things outside of writing, but if nothing else it’s a great place to share your content to more eyeballs. You should also head over to that sign-up form if you plan to participate, otherwise Belghast might miss you for his tracking purposes. Hope to see you all writing away next month!

Blaugust: Not Good Enough Says Gevlon

I don’t follow the Greedy Goblin aka Gevlon, so I wouldn’t have seen his post were it not for posts from Contains Moderate Peril and Endgame Viable. I have however read many a post particularly from Syncaine about his writings and this is part of the reason I don’t follow. It seems that Gevlon is the trolling type, or if he isn’t an outright troll, he does tend to have some controversial views that probably provide page hits but little in the way of reputation. This is fine though, to each their own I say, and if he carries on despite some posts outright blasting him, then he’s really dedicated to his craft. I laughed when he would talk about League of Legends or PUBG and his strategies to game the system wouldn’t work. But I digress.

In Gevlon’s recent post, the Goblin goes on to crunch some numbers (albeit it only appears that he is looking at October’s post numbers, why he passed up on numbers for September is beyond me) of which show a decreased posting output from the upper echelon of posters from Blaugust. He didn’t bother looking at blogs that didn’t make the at least 25 posts back in August, which would further skew things. He listed this blog having 10 posts, which was probably true for October, which isn’t even a completed month, and doesn’t count the 17 posts I made in September.

Most of us that participate in Blaugust are already established. We encourage newbies to join in or start a blog, and some do. Very few stick with it, and those of us who have been blogging for any consistent amount of time know that it takes time and committment to keep a blog going. As Roger said, Blaugust can be a crash course into blogging, and many will find themselves exhausted at the end of the event. But is the event made in order to retain a larger blogosphere? I would argue that no, this isn’t something that requires further commitment. Generally speaking most of us have our own self-imposed rules and schedules and we all fall back into that which is naturally comfortable after an event like this one. It started as a challenge for established bloggers to push themselves to post every day for a month. To that end, it pushed many of us to do that and for many this wasn’t the first time.

What made Blaugust Reborn a little different is that it included the Newbie Blogger Initiative tenets this year, so we also were encouraging new bloggers to get involved and for non-bloggers to start. So the combination of the two may show the attrition more than usual. Regardless, as a blogging event, I’d say it was very successful, as it has been in all the years where it was run. Gelvon says this isn’t enough, but I think if even one addition is made to the wider blogging community, then that was a positive effect. Deriding it just because people have lives outside of blogging leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Looking at his list I see plenty of people still blogging, we just don’t usually blog once a day. There is mention of a “Goon that he won’t link to” which I assume is Wilhelm, as he’s the only blogger I see talking about EVE these days. Whatever the case, I see a thriving community of bloggers that are still doing their thing, and have been for years. For some of us, when you’ve been doing this for so long it becomes a part of your life, for others it can easily be written off. I hope to see more events in the future and will participate as they come along. If no one sticks around afterward, let’s just think of it like a party that has come to an end. Everyone goes home and back to their own lives. This is okay.