My Take On Blogging About RPGs

This is as much for myself as for others.

Take up blogging for your own reasons. Whether you think it sounds like fun, or just to help you get your ideas for running your own games, or creating your own games or game materials.

Not all of your ideas are good ones. It is OK to write a crappy article -and just save it as a draft for later. That way, you have it and can go back to it later. Some partial and half-formed ideas are OK to publish without being fully formed. Sometimes this sparks a creative moment for someone else that is then shared with the community. You can also revisit the idea later in a follow up post to flesh it out.

Be gracious and thank those who share and give back. Share your own efforts and give back. Be inviting and encouraging.

Limit your non-RPG postings to non-RPG circles. I prefer to separate my politics, religion, and other activities from my RPG activities. Be who you are and do your own thing, but I blog about RPG things from my perspective, and don’t use it as a soapbox to convert others to my views on other things, or rant about how I can’t believe someone else believes or does X.

As Wil Wheaton has said, “Don’t be a dick.”

Be careful with the written word. Without the face to face interaction to gauge tone and body language, it is easy to miss sarcasm, hyperbole, satire, etc; or to read into it something other than what was intended. Don’t assume that something someone else has written in a blog post says what you think it says. Some may not spell check their work or have good grammar usage, or just messed up and left out a key word or phrase. See above where I said be gracious. Before flying off the handle and flaming or trolling someone, take a deep breath. Is it really necessary that you respond to everything you read online? If you really have to, write your blasting comment off line, and then set it aside. This gets it out of your system and allows you to move on.

When others leave comments on your blog, wall, or page and it feels like an attack. Stop, take a deep breath and look to see if they are just seeing a poor word choice in a quick blog post. Do you see how someone could come up with something totally different than your intended meaning? Is it something you can let roll off, or would you sleep better if you made a clarification? Don’t let it ruin your day. Mean people suck. Don’t be a mean people back.

Learn the capabilities of your chosen platform and use their strengths to help you.

Build up a buffer of posts. If you want to be a daily blogger, don’t immediately publish every idea that comes to mind. If you have ten ideas today and publish all of them today, what about tomorrow? Publish the first idea today and schedule the others to post over the next nine days. That gives you nine days until you have to think of something else to write about. As you think of ideas, schedule them to post the day after your last scheduled item. It is also OK to post on topics of the moment when they come up. Posts and ideas for posts that are not fully formed can be saved as drafts to craft them until they are ready. I find it useful to get all my ideas on various scraps of paper, or electronic notes into an appropriate article in draft form, so it is already in the process of being published on my blog.

Share your blog to the appropriate G+ communities. Note to self: Remember to use the LINK option instead of just copying the link into the text field….

Have a variety of types of things you blog about. Play reports, game ideas, tables, current events in the RPG world, maps, art, etc. If you have something that is your trademark, or your own way of presenting something, keep at that thing until you hit your stride.

Use your blogging to help you build a campaign, module, setting, table or other idea that you can use at the table. Collect those ideas that you know can be something, but that you just need to flesh out. Sometimes others have similar ideas that are close to what you want or need and can help you craft something for your needs.

Make it fun and make it interesting.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Review your articles before they post. After an article sits for a few days, when you re-read it, you find spelling and grammar mistakes that can make it hard to understand or follow, or you may think of something to add to it. I find typos of words that are spelled correctly, but are homonyms, so thus the wrong word, or other words that are spelled right, but don’t make sense.

I made sure to enable spell checking in my browser, so that anything I post online is spelled correctly.

Use tags and/or categories to tie together similar topics. If you write on something more than once, or have a prior related topic, use the search feature of your blog and link back to that topic. Periodically review your blog for new tags and categories that might be needed or go back and add them to older posts.

If you have a certain type of post that build up to a substantial amount of writing on a particular topic, make a PDF of it and make it available as a download on your blog. For example, a collection of tables, or an adventure you built over time on your blog. If it is particularly well done, you could put it up for sale on DriveThruRPG or RPGNow as a pay what you want or for a small amount. Be sure to acknowledge those who gave you ideas and suggestions. See above about being gracious.

Announce your blog posts on relevant pages. I prefer Google Communities, those seem to be easier to review over time than Facebook. Don’t overdo it. Some people post everything to dozens of communities.

Read and make helpful comments on other’s blogs and pages.

Constructive comments or constructive criticism are good things. Give and receive them graciously. If you tell someone what is weak, lacking, or needs improvement in what they write, be sure to point out what they did right. Don’t assume that they understand that you are only pointing out the problems, and if you don’t mention other things that they are perfect. Most people don’t see it that way. If it is important enough to point out the bad stuff, it is also required that you point out the good stuff. If you receive only indications of your failings, be sure to ask what you did right. If the person is a jerk and can’t find anything constructive to say, then don’t take their input too seriously. You might point out to them, with grace, that they are really good at pointing out other’s failings, but they need to work on pointing out what others do well. Model the behavior you expect from others.

Just because you don’t get a certain specific RPG or genre or setting, or don’t like certain things in RPGs does not mean that you need to mention it. Or if you do mention it, does it need mentioning every posting or every time that topic comes up anywhere? Speak to what you know or want to know more about. If you have to mention something you don’t like, do it in such a way that it is clearly your take and experience, and not a condemnation of everyone who enjoys that particular aspect of RPGs.

Remember that RPGs are _GAMES_ and that games are supposed to be FUN! If you are blogging about games, it should be fun! If you lose the fun, then it is hard to make it enjoyable for you or others. Remember my rule [-1], if you aren’t having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

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