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LONG BLOG

Gamemaniacs tips and tricks for writing blogs

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Here or there, I see new people come into the blogosphere and here or there they ask for advice or make some common mistakes. I’ve been writing blogs since 2009-about 6 years by this point and a recent query about the frequency  of blog release which had been preceded by another question about that made me ponder a bit the nature of writing blogs. Of course I won’t claim to be the authority on the matter and I won’t claim that my method is inherently superior-this is what works for me personally and whether or not it's going to work for you is up to your personal style and method of writing. There will be exceptions to the rules I set up and go by, even in my own writing but for the most part I’m hopeful that it is of some aid.

Frequency of release

Of course one of the more important aspects of writing blogs is deciding when to release them-this will obviously depend on the content of the blogs you write and how much work you tend to put into them. Certain styles of blogs lend themselves to a bit more rapid fire release schedule or a bit more of a sporadic one, ala reviews intended to release near the game they focus on. However for my purposes I’m focusing on more in-depth blogs that focus on topics and my thoughts on them as opposed to purely reviews-even my Bloodborne blogs I consider to be more in-depth dissections than purely reviews. I generally tend to think that you should release blogs at the rate and pace you feel comfortable with. Some people adhere to a schedule or just write whenever they feel like it, some people write as frequently as once a week or as disparately as once every couple of months to once a year. It's going to depend on your time, motivation and desire for writing to figure out where you fall. For myself I think that generally you should try to focus yourself to blogging at least once a month to keep yourself in practice and writing blogs if it truly is something you enjoy.

At the other end of that spectrum however, you should try to limit yourself to blogging once a week at most. Writing a blog once a day is to my mind a volume thats too high and can be very difficult to sustain, especially while trying to keep the quality up. You may have lots of ideas at first but eventually you’ll start to run lower on them as time goes on and have a harder time coming up with new ideas. You’ll also deprive your ideas of time for fixing up and fleshing out, which can hurt your overall quality.

Letting blogs have their time means you can let them sit for a while so that when you read them again you can fix up writing issues that are hard for you to see when you’re in the moment. It can allow you to add ideas that you might have left out or come across upon later reflection, organize what you’re writing more coherently and remove parts that are repetitive or don’t work.  It can also let you run it by friends who can help open your eyes to issues or add new dimensions to what you’re writing. It creates stronger blogs overall and ensures a higher quality to what you’re writing that daily blogs are unlikely to be able to keep up with. Theres also the risk of burnout-a blog a day might be something you can do for a small amount of time, but eventually the issues above will rear their head in your quality of writing and you’ll probably get exhausted with writing so often. Pacing yourself as in most things is just good policy, and it’ll make sure you keep blogging without massive gaps that will impact your practice and visibility.

As an example of my own scheduling, this blog is being written around the beginning of october and it's probably not going to be released till November due to my writing schedule covering the next couple of weeks on a biweekly release track (at least thats the plan). Its very rare that I write something without giving it time to sit and be worked on for at least two weeks-something I do for all the reasons listed above.

Organization and structure

This is another important element of writing a blog-how its setup, ordered and put together can impact how well it comes across and how coherent it feels. Blogs without much structure can work as long as you have an idea of where you’re going and organizing your thoughts, but at the same time they can get rambly if you’re not careful. I find that proper setup and organization makes a blog more readable and ensures that it will be more enjoyable regardless of the quality of content.

This will obviously depend on the type of blog you do, but for myself I find setting them up section by section is the best approach ala this blog. It helps focus your attention on one topic in one section and avoids causing your mind to jump around topics wise-ensuring that as topics come up you can set them aside for later exploration and get more in-depth with them without meandering around and weakening their overall impact. It also makes sure you’re more likely not to miss topics-by organizing yourself this way you’ll generally ensure that you hit all the topics you want to and prevent anything from getting lost in a more stream of consciousness blog.

I also generally suggest splitting up your blog into paragraphs with interspersing images to break up the paragraphs or at least a space between them. Walls of text can be intimidating and are harder to parse, fix up and add/remove from during the writing process. Ideally you want to keep a reader moving along the blog in a good fashion and being visually interested in what's going on as they read.By breaking it up you make it more digestible and readable, making it more likely that people will read through and absorb what's being said. By the same token make sure that you don’t write too little unless it's for comedic effect or meant to be a short statement or sentence-it’ll look paltry and will constantly break the readers absorption in what they’re reading. Keep in mind that by digestible I don’t mean that you should dumb it down-feel free to get into more complex topics if you feel that you want or need to, just make sure the reader is going to be able to understand what you’re talking about and that it's readable as opposed to being more intimidating.

My best practice for this sort of thing is to use paragraphs and split them up at reasonable intervals. Some will be a bit shorter or longer but as long as they don’t go too far either way it's fine. I also split them up with images-images are in my opinion a vital part of writing anything, and using them helps keep the flow of reading moving while making splits between paragraphs and sections feel more natural.

Length

Length is something that can really kill even a very good blog if its extreme in one direction or the other. A blog that's too short can miss out on really exploring a topic well or getting more in-depth, weakening it even if it’s fairly well written. And a blog that's too long might be incredibly well written, but one that is so large and intimidating that people might not even start it or bother finishing it. My best advice is to make the whole blog up, add in images and take a look at it to see if it feels or looks too long. More specifically, if the blog hits a certain threshold you may want to consider splitting it at an appropriate point-it’ll ultimately probably be to your works benefit if you split it there to make sure it stays digestible.

Tone

Tone is fairly important-when writing I feel that you should be careful about how you approach certain more antagonistic or controversial points in a blog, you should try to be calm and restrained in your writing. Its cathartic to get angry and spew bile but it isn’t always particularly compelling to read and can weaken your points if it comes across petulantly. Its also important to make sure you don’t insult your readers-this isn’t to say you can’t attempt to challenge or change their mind on a topic, but if you go about insulting them then you’re going to close them off to listening to what you have to say as well as hurting fruitful discussions from cropping up in the comments which tend to be something you want to encourage.

And there's a list of some of the suggestions I have for blogging! Hopefully you enjoyed it or got something out of it, and I’d love to hear how you approach writing or what you thought about some of my points below. Thanks for reading!

- “If you don't like bacteria, you're on the wrong planet.” ― Stewart Brand


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About Gamemaniac3434one of us since 11:25 PM on 02.01.2013

Who am I? I'm an avid gamer, beer snob, coffee snob and aspiring microbiologist. I love all sorts of different genres of games and different games from different years and as of recent years I've tried to get more into multiplayer games. I also really love microbiology and if you get me started on it, you will never get me to shut up about it.
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https://www.twitch.tv/gamemaniac3434/profile

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