Thursday, July 19, 2012

Six Months in a Leaky Boat

Six months on, and a little self-indulgent reflection is on the menu.

First, a few numbers. The blog passed 20,000 hits in the last week of June, or about what Playing D&D with Pornstars gets on a slow Wednesday, I imagine. Most posts get between twenty-five and forty views in the first twenty-four hours, and between forty-five and eighty in the first week, and all kidding about Zak's blog aside, I'm pleased that there seems to be a regular cadre of readers who are - hopefully - getting something out of the blog.

Even more satisfying are the over six hundred comments. I'm never happier than when a post produces a dialog.

April's A to Z blogging challenge brought in around half of the site's hundred-plus followers. The hosts of the challenge recommended following blogs with less than a hundred followers to pump up their totals, and a lot of the bloggers who joined during that time were writers, not gamers. I admit I didn't reciprocate in very many cases; my blog roll is up around the three hundred max limit already, so there simply isn't room to add more. That said, I don't see followers as a measure of the blog's success or lack-thereof in the same way that comments are.

The most-often viewed post is "Grumbler," undoubtedly due to its inclusion in a thread at RPG.net. In fact, links on message boards, specifically RPG.net and theRPGsite, undoubtedly drive views of the blog, far, far more than the blog aggregator, RPGBA.

The experience of blogging reinforced something I already knew: I'm not a particularly good writer. Oh, I know how to turn a phrase, and I can, for the most part, organize my thoughts and present them, but getting the thoughts out of my head and onto the screen is an arduous struggle. I hoped that my alacrity with composition might improve a bit with trying to wite something every day, but it just hasn't happened; old habits not only die hard, they rise, ghoul-like, fastening their teeth and claws in me. As a result, I've pretty much settled into a routine of two substantive gaming commentary or content posts a week, two 'hey, take a look at this other thing that someone else is doing!' posts, and two 'features,' one of classic illustrators and one of swashbuckling videos.

Not too long ago, another gaming blogger posted that he doesn't like to simply post links to other blogs or websites. While I understand the impetus to add value by contributing additional commentary, I believe one of the most important functions the blogs provide is to share the many great gaming ideas floating around the intrewebs, so I'm happy to connect someone's else's work without adding a lot of blather to make it look like I'm working hard in bringing it to your attention.

One of the things about which I'm most proud on this site is "Cinematic," the weekly video clip featuring swashbuckling swordplay. When gamers talk about 'cinematic,' in my experience they're referring to over-the-top action. While that's certainly part of many cape-and-sword movies, I think it's important to recognize that movies like The Duellists and The Deluge also define 'cinematic' as well.

The one thing that's surprised me is that I still have stuff to write. When I first started this six months ago, I had about a dozen ideas for posts, and figured I'd wing it from there. As of this post, I have over twenty topics already in the queue in various states of completion, and easily another dozen broad topics outlined in my replacement notebook. Frex, once the endgame is series is done - probably next week, renovations permitting - I want to turn to the other end of the social spectrum with a look at swashbuckling rogues and criminal enterprise in the cape-and-sword game-world, build a Ruritania for Backswords and Bucklers, and list some swashbuckling furnishings, or, 'What can I do to the villain with the bed warmer the maid dropped when she fled the room?'

So, that's where things stand, six months on. I'd be remiss if I didn't end with a thank you to those who read regularly - or irregularly, for that matter - and especially for those of you who take the time to comment. Your feedback and questions are sincerely appreciated.

22 comments:

  1. Do your stats include people who, like me, use an RSS reader?
    If not, you may have yet more regular readers.

    For what it's worth, I always look forward to seeing your posts arrive in my newsfeed.

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    1. That's a great question, and I have no idea.

      Thanks so much for following along.

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  2. Well done on your success! Since I've just started blogging myself I was comparing some of your numbers to my own, and I take some positives from them, but know I still have a way to go to get the level of hits you do, but since I regard you quite highly, this is neither a surprise, nor necessarily a bad thing.

    Keep it up, and I'll keep checking you out.

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  3. Keep up the good work!

    Also, about linking to other blogs; you never know when it provides the target with a much-needed morale boost.

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    1. Yep, I've been pleasantly surprised a few times to find my posts linked elsewhere.

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  4. I certainly always enjoy your content, Mike; it is a joy to read the theory behind your Flashing Blades games which says something, since I've never played Flashing Blades.

    The theory is universal, and the information is historical so I feel like I'm engaging on two levels whenever I read something you've written.

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    1. Thanks very much, Josh - really appreciated.

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  5. Kudos, Mike!
    I blogged for a while nearly a decade ago but found I often had little to say. I'm glad that, as difficult as you find composition, you're not experiencing that challenge.

    I really enjoy your posts. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Chris - yeah, topics I've got, efficiency in writing, not so much.

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  6. Congrats on the milestone and the numbers! Hope you're around for a long time to come.

    While I don't hold for pirates much in my gaming, I get a lot of great ideas to incorporate into my world...and the Cinematics make for a welcome break from my work.

    And I can't wait to see someone take a hot bedwarmer to the midsection, I'm just sayin'.

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    1. I'm glad you're able to find some useful content, regardless of genre.

      Stay tuned for that bed warmer.

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  7. At least your most viewed post is RPG related. Mine is my rant on Walking Dead season 1...=P

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  8. I don't subscribe to or "follow" anyone, but I have your web log saved as a favorite and check almost every day to see what's new.

    Off topic, but have you ever used "76 Patrons" from Traveller to generate plots or encounters for Flashing Blades? I find many of the hooks work well.

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    1. I haven't used 76 Patrons directly, but it's a strong conceptual influence, both for me personally and for Flashing Blades specifically.

      The Keith Bros. actually wrote two adventures for Flashing Blades and Marc Miller wrote one for Swashbuckler! It's not surprising that this is the same shop which produced En Garde!

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  9. Congrats on the milestone- it does not seem that long! I enjoy your writings, especially the RPG related ones. I hope that once your endgame is done you shall pick up a new regular, or irregular, game to dive into!

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  10. Love the blog! Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks very much, Scott - I'm honored.

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  11. 20k is darn healthy for 6 months, well done! Looking forward to more, and I guess we can't all game with pornstars. IN fact I wish I'd thought of that.

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    1. Yep, the porn stars thing is a good lede, but I think my wife might take exception. Ah, well.

      I honestly have no idea where my numbers stand, as I have nothing to compare them to, but I'm grateful for everyone who peeks in, and particularly when visitors comment.

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