Are months shorter these days than they used to be? It’s hard to believe that the year 2017 is half over; it seems like we just managed to get away from the universally-maligned year 2016. A lot has happened here on Adventure Rules in six months – heck, a lot happened just in June – so today let’s take some time to look back and really see how far the blog has come in that time.
Back in January, I stated two new blog goals, and that those would be the only goals for this year: Consistency and Community. In the later parts of 2016, I wasn’t interacting much with other bloggers and I didn’t post on a reliable schedule. This would lead to sometimes having weeks without a post, while other times having random sporadic bursts of posts when I had a lot of ideas. This year I wanted to expand the Adventure Rules community and work on sharpening my skills as a writer by posting on a consistent basis. So how is that going?
Consistency first. Back in January, I started off slow with a very manageable one post per week schedule. I hadn’t been posting on a regular basis up to that point, so I decided the first thing I needed to do was get into a rhythm. I set what I called a “realistic” goal of having two posts a week by the end of the year. My stretch goal was three posts a week, a number that I felt to be pretty unlikely. Far outside of the realm of possibility.
I was consistent with three posts a week by the end of March.
It never really struck me how much progress I had made on consistency until I sat down and seriously thought about that. At the beginning of this year, I didn’t think what I am doing right now was even possible. And here I am now pushing myself even further – this past week I managed to succeed at having four posts in a single week and I plan to try to have that as the official schedule by the end of July. I started this blog to grow as a writer, and at least in this regard I have a measurable improvement – never have I written this regularly, with this much intent behind it.
I’m particularly pleased with the fact that I managed to keep it up during June, which has been an absolutely crazy month for me. If you caught my May update, you might remember that my son had not one, not two, but THREE birthday parties so we could celebrate with family all across the state. The week of E3 was also the week of Vacation Bible School at my church, and I ended up teaching every single night. I’d come home, watch the latest coverage, and type out my thoughts on the presentation before going to sleep at something like 1 or 2 in the morning. Those posts definitely were not my best work – honestly I consider them to be some of my sloppiest work in a long time – but they still EXIST. Even when I was at my busiest I still managed to stay consistent with posting, and I am proud of myself for that. I’m proud not just because I managed it, but proud because what kept me going was not “oh gosh, my readers will be so upset if I miss a post.” You all are an awesome community and so understanding – I know you wouldn’t be upset if I needed to take a day or two. No, I pushed myself because I didn’t want to disappoint ME, and I’ve never had that kind of motivation as a writer before.
My second blog goal for 2017 is Community. I wanted to really become part of something bigger, to interact with other bloggers and to learn the styles of other writers so I could find my own voice. In the early days of Adventure Rules, I certainly had a couple of people I interacted with on a semi-regular basis, but I didn’t participate in community events. I didn’t mention other bloggers in my posts. And I didn’t read or comment much on the content of other people. This year I set out to change that.
One of my earliest supporters in this regard was Charlotte Graham of Mosaicca. She was interacting with me before I ever made it a goal to be friendlier online, and she has supported me through post likes and comments for a long time. This year she’s nominated me for a couple of different blogging events or awards, and those have helped me meet new people and grow as a writer. It’s been great knowing her and reading her content as well – she’s got so many hobbies and talents to show off. Right now, Charlotte is going through a difficult experience. I don’t feel it’s my place to explain why (she did post the reasoning on her blog if you want to read it for yourself), but I think it’d be awesome if the adventurer community could go show her some support. She’s got a little something for everybody: book reviews, game reviews, writing advice, photography, marathon running, and delicious-looking food are all part of her repertoire. So please check out her content and be sure to leave a positive and encouraging comment!
Early this year I encountered a blog called Later Levels that really helped me to grasp how community is supposed to work. From the very moment I started following I began to see my posts being shared by them on Twitter and Facebook. And not just mine, but posts from other bloggers too – I would check out those posts and I met a lot of cool people because Later Levels found them first. Kim has multiple fun community events running, from monthly questions to vote on to the recurring Blog Party event where folks can mingle and share their content. Later Levels even has a special thank you page where they give credit to everyone who supports their blog, even for something as simple as a follow, and it’s not unusual for me to find that page as a referrer on my daily insights. When it comes to growing in your craft, everyone needs a mentor, and I look up to Kim as a shining example of what supporting a community of bloggers should look like.
I owe a lot to the folks who frequently comment on my blog and help me to withdraw from my otherwise rock-hard shell. Geddy from Nostalgia Trigger and I have pretty different views on games sometimes, but that hasn’t stopped us from having great conversations, and I love to read the guy’s work. His ongoing series about Breath of the Wild is something I identify with a lot. Imtiaz from Power Bomb Attack is another great guy who frequents the comment section here, and I personally recommend him for his reviews. I’ve enjoyed a lot of them and if I had the cash, he’s certainly convinced me to check out a couple of games I wouldn’t have looked at otherwise!
When it comes to community events, this year saw my second attempt at creating one for Adventure Rules. If you’ve been around long enough to remember Multiplayer Week, I apologize for your suffering. But this time things worked out a lot better, and I can safely say that Charming and Open was a rousing success. All the bloggers who helped to make that event a success are mentioned on the Amazing Adventurers page here, so I recommend that you check that out and then go check them out, as they are all pretty great for diving into this event with no idea of how it was gonna go. For those who have asked, I do intend to do another Charming and Open at some point this year – I just want to wait until an ideal time where I have lots of time to write so I can accept more than 7 questions, and so a bunch of new followers can get in on the fun!
Overall I have been pretty successful in meeting my goals this year. But I don’t plan to rest on the success I have enjoyed so far! I really want to continue to develop my writing consistency to where I have reached the optimal balance of quantity and quality. I also want to improve my participation in the blogging community by being more supportive of other bloggers and creating more community events to help people interact and enjoy the hobby together. I have a community event concept in mind that I think could have some potential, but there’s still some kinks to be worked out and I want to make sure that I have a fully realized game plan before I move forward with that. Expect to hear more throughout the month!
Now that’s enough about the past: let’s discuss the future. What can you expect from me in July, and beyond that what are my goals for the rest of 2017?
As I’ve already stated, I want to continue to expand on my goals of Consistency and Community. In July, I am going to continue to experiment with four posts a week on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday schedule. An important part of that commitment is the return of the weekly segment Tabletop Tuesday. This segment has been a part of the blog since the beginning, and while it hasn’t always been the most consistent (even this year), I want to get to the point where it has a regular place here on Adventure Rules. I am going to commit myself this month to writing about tabletops even when I don’t exactly feel like I have something new to bring to the table (it took me a full two minutes to realize I made a pun here). I don’t always feel like I have something to write about when it comes to video games either, but I want to see those times as opportunities to push myself as a writer and come up with something new. So expect Tabletop Tuesday to stick around for awhile, and maybe someday I’ll find a tabletop to write about other than Dungeon World!
I’m continuing to work on the concept for my next community event, which I hope to unveil around August if I can get all the details worked out. If it starts in August like I plan, maybe around mid-July I will post details about the nature of the events so you can sign up if you’re interested in participating. I’m also planning to participate in other community events that come up – I’m working on my answer to the next Question of the Month for Later Levels, and I am going to do my best to participate in the Well-Red Mage’s 31-Day Elemental Challenge. I don’t 100% know yet what that will entail but it sounds like a ton of fun, and a great way to work on consistency!
As far as what games I’ll be posting about? Well, with the new Breath of the Wild DLC I may be getting back into that game for a bit, at least enough to complete the Master Trials. Then there’s ARMS, which I am determined to become at least passably good at. Other games I am playing right now include Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and a Nuzlocke run of Pokemon Moon, so I may be posting on those topics as well (and incorporating more Phoenix Wright GIFs into my posts – sorry not sorry). As far as new games coming out in July, there’s nothing coming that I am particularly excited about, but I’m sure we’ll get some news for me to react to at some point. If nothing else, the overall lack of new stuff to talk about might inspire me to come up with a fun new segment to try, so it’ll be worth your time to stick around!
Finally, I just want to take a second to say thank you to all of the adventurers who have been supporting me this year. Whether you’ve been around since Day One or you just joined up yesterday, your taking the time to read has inspired me to keep going and to work hard on creating great content. If you are new to the community, after you’re done checking out all the great bloggers I recommended above, feel free to come back and see some of my other content. If you managed to get this far into today’s post without going crazy, then you can probably handle yourself in the world of Adventure Rules. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you again during the month of July!