Posts tagged blog stuff
What a strange trip it has been.
I could potentially type out my entire writing history in this post, but I’ll spare you that much. Admittedly, it wasn’t until last year that I started to really think about writing in a serious sense. Not just as a thing I did for fun, or something I did to get through school — but as a thing that could potentially become a much greater part of my life. This tiny idea that started as a dream quickly evolved into something else entirely, constantly morphed and tossed against cynicism and self doubt. It’s a weird thing, being someone who creates (or tries to). It’s a struggle. On one hand, you seek perfection with absolutely everything, on the other, you worry — is this too little? Have I done enough? Can I succeed with this?
Somewhere along the line, I realized that I could no longer just sit around and worry. I had to do something. I had to force myself to write, and I had to write even if my own words made me restless. It wasn’t important if it was good or the-best-thing-ever, it just had to be done. I had to get my hand to the page or the keyboard, and I had to put myself out there. It’s cliche, but the only way you become a better writer is by writing. I knew this, but actually putting it to practice was hard. It took me 21 years, essentially.
So I started a blog. It wasn’t my first, nor was it the first time I had made one with the promise of, well, using it. But here I was. I did everything I could to reinforce the process in my skull. I bought a domain, set up WordPress, made it (somewhat) pretty, told my friends — hell, I even made a Facebook group, knowing people would nag at me if I didn’t update or post anything.
I started slow, posting what I knew. Opinions, primarily. I wrote about school, about music, about the world I lived in. In an occasional fit of passion, I’d dabble in politics. Short fiction also had a place, as well as flash fiction. The last one even gained a special place in my heart.
I wasn’t always true with my promise to update. I sometimes slacked off, but I’d always get that article in. I stopped ignoring that niggling feeling that writers get when they need to write. Or, quite simply, that feeling everyone gets when they need to create. I promise to not ignore it, to spill my brains on the page whenever the itch arrived.
It worked. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Outside of the blog, I felt my mind constantly thinking about the process, ideas would come in the strangest of places. It felt good. I was a writer.
But it wasn’t enough.
I was writing more than I had in the past, but I wasn’t satisfied. I spun a plan in my head to start another blog that would focus on “serious” video game pieces. Basically, I’d take on video games in a way similar to Hellmode, a site I had grown fond of. You see, up until that point I always tried to avoid video game discussion on my blog. I’m not afraid of the world seeing me as someone who likes games, but I was afraid someone would see that and take me less seriously. After all, I want to be an academic — what sort of academic likes video games?
Don’t answer. I know how silly that is. One of my biggest inspirations — an English professor who unknowingly convinced me to switch majors — once struck up a conversation with me about roleplaying in World of Warcraft.
Tangent aside, I had this whole plan set out, but I just couldn’t think of any material. I loved games, but I had never placed myself in a critical position near them before. So I put it off to the side, struggling to come up with anything. It seemed crazy. I couldn’t think up anything to write about despite gaming being such a big part of my life. Suddenly, I had an idea for an article. I wrote it up, sending a portion of the rough draft to one of the editors of Hellmode. Unfortunately, I received a reply basically telling me that the site was out of order for awhile, and it likely wouldn’t be back for some time.
It was a downer, but not that big of a deal. I enjoyed writing the article (even though it was a bit rough when I sent it…), and life went on. I figured I’d probably shelf the whole video game blog idea. A day later, I saw a message on Reddit looking for writers. A somewhat successful new gaming blog was looking for people, and all they needed was some information and an article about gaming.
This is important to mention: Before writing that previous article, I had never written about gaming before. If I had not started this blog, if I had not, by chance, decided to write something up for Hellmode, I would have had nothing to send in.
Long story short, I sent in the article and ended up getting picked up by Piki Geek. I was ecstatic. I enthusiastically took to writing, pumping out multiple articles daily. As of a month ago, I think I’ve written something like 120 articles? A good chunk of those are features, too. While it meant that I didn’t have time to post here (Sorry!) it also meant that I was writing more overall, which was incredibly important to me. Also, I was writing in a different style than I had in the past, giving me exposure to an entirely new field.
Eventually, I’d get promoted to weekend editor, and then news editor. I’ve even brought down the site with traffic once or twice — and I’ve edited the articles of others that have done the same. While it might not be Joystiq or Gamasutra, it still feels awesome. I might not be at the very top, but that was never my goal in the first place. My goal was just to write — and now I get to do that, just with 300,000 monthly readers instead of 30. That adds a sense of responsibility to my writing that really helps me out when I’m not feeling it.
There’s also a joy in seeing a site grow. I feel incredibly lucky to be on-board with a site that hasn’t even been around for a year yet. With any luck, I’ll be able to see all of the people around me succeed as it continues to grow and gain legitimacy.
Outside of that, I’ve also started to write fiction again. I hope to have two short stories done by the end of August, both of which will hopefully get me into an MFA program. I also want to start writing a few articles for this blog again, too. After all, a year ago at this time I hadn’t even published a single article… now I’ve completely lost count.
But that’s the point. Just a year ago. Just one.
None of these things might be important to anyone else — but to me? I’m excited. I’m excited about the possibilities. This is just the beginning. It’s been a long year since I started this blog, but it’s certainly been a good one.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more to write.
2010 was a strange year.
Outside of the spheres I usually write in, it just felt weird — I’m talking on a personal level here.
I moved on to Farleigh Dickinson, taking the next step toward my goal of becoming a professor. I started this blog, which indirectly pushed me to write and research a lot of things that I only had a passing interest in. Over the past year, I feel like my writing has improved greatly. While I’ve always sort of had my own style, I’ve only recently started to become comfortable in it. I am improving that areas that I am weak in and reinforcing my strengths. While I’m not quite where I want to be, I am making progress in that direction.
It’s a good feeling.
Yet, I feel like it isn’t enough. One of my resolution’s this year was to “write more” — and I think I’ve accomplished that… yet it isn’t enough. I need to write more than… more. Specifically, I need to focus more on the “creative” side of things. I’ve been meaning to write a few short stories, but I can’t seem to nail down any concrete ideas. Perhaps I need to just start writing and seeing where I go? I suppose I’m in that age-old writer’s dilemma that prevents them from even starting. Not for long though! I’ve found that recently I don’t have to “force” myself to write, rather I just feel a surge of energy coming on and I just build on that. With a little extra energy, I feel like I could bend that sort of thing to the creative realm.
In addition to the creative, I’d also like to write a philosophical piece. I always mention “balance” as the core of my belief(s), yet I don’t believe many understand what I mean. I think a great series of posts (or even more of an academic essay, geeze) could be useful to list exactly what the hell I’m talking about. It’d be nice to point people to a solid, concrete description of what that term means to me, anyway. If there even is such a thing as “concrete” when it comes to belief…
But I digress!
To date, I’ve posted 38 different articles to this blog since August. While I’m sure that isn’t many in comparison to what is out there, it is something I’m pretty proud of. I typically do very little planning when it comes to writing all of these articles. Usually an idea comes with me and I just run with it, even if I’m not sure if it will work. Some ideas remain in permanent limbo as drafts — never to see the light. Others end up becoming pretty popular, driving a ton of traffic to this site (for the curious among you — the “most popular” articles were this and this).
As far as blog writing goes, I really enjoy having a place to vent my opinions in a place where they can be read by friends and family — and the occasional random visitor.
Past that? Well, one of my goals for this year is to submit (a lot) to a couple lit mags. I really want to get my name out there. It would be nice to have a thick writing portfolio to show off by the time I have my terminal degree. Honestly, it would be nice to have an expanded portfolio by the end of the year. Perhaps I could make the end of 2011 a sort of check-point toward that goal.
I’d also like to start up another blog. I’ve been tossing the idea around of a gaming blog that focuses on “serious” issues, basically the culture and where it is going (and the positives/negatives surrounding it). I’ve considered posting that sort of thing here, but ultimately I’d like to bring in other opinions and this blog is strictly for my views on subjects.
Considering the controversy that often surrounds the gaming community (plus the nature of the community itself), I feel like a blog targeting more intelligent issues could be particularly successful. I’ve already pitched the idea to a few fellow writer friends of mine, and they seem to like the idea.
Outside of all of that, I’d like to get into writing morning pages again as well.
Two years or so ago a friend suggested that I look into this book. One of the exercises it suggested (the very first, actually) was to write three pages of anything every morning. The idea is that it encourages you to spill your thoughts on to the page, which can be therapeutic and also inspire creativity. I filled up two notebooks with morning pages before gradually moving away from them. In retrospect, they really helped me quite a bit and I need to get back into them.
Welp, time to get back to more productive (Ha! Yeah right!) things!
Hope everyone out there enjoys the end of 2010.
…which means I have the energy to write again!
It honestly seems like for the past month I’ve had to write a new paper every day. While that doesn’t bother me, it sort of kills my inspiration. Have no fear, though! Class is over and I will be returning to writing articles very soon. Two articles will be ready to go -very- soon!
One of the first articles I wrote for this blog was an article questioning if Top Gear USA could be as good (or even decent at all) compared to the original.
After sitting down tonight and watching the premier, I’m still not sure.
Don’t get me wrong — it wasn’t bad. In fact, it was actually pretty good when compared to most American car TV. It managed to get me to crack a smile and laugh once or twice, which is more than you can say for something like Motorweek.
First, three good things about the show:
1. They kept the familiar format.
I’ve got to be honest, one of my biggest worries was that they were going to use different theme music. When the show finally came on and the familiar music started to play, I gave a sigh of relief. Maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad. The studio was different but carried the same design elements, which was pretty cool. While the segments were organized differently (and a true “review” was missing), all the things Top Gear is known for were there. You had your cool car films with a little host interaction and a lap in between.
2. The Camera work…
…was great. It’s clear they had some major production assistance from the Brits. The editing and actual “film” part of the show was excellent. The Viper vs. Cobra segment was cool, not to mention it had plenty of swooping landscape shots that made you remember what program you were watching. With the small exception of the shaky-cam incident in Tanner Foust’s car, the Lamborghini shoot was also pretty damned good. There was one specific shot where you could see Tanner’s car fading in the distance, heat radiating off the asphalt behind him, a symphony of awesome coming out of the tailpipes. I suspect first time American viewers of Top Gear were hooked by that moment.
3. Rutledge Wood.
I admit it — I slammed this guy. I was terrified some guy from a NASCAR show on Speed was going to pour the typical American TV car show antics all over the place, but honestly he has a lot of personality. He has a goofy thing going on that almost makes him the “nerd” of the bunch. During the Lamborghini segment he honestly seemed genuinely excited to be where he was. I’m going to enjoy watching him get a little more comfortable with the show. I imagine you will see some comparisons between him and James May by the end of the season.
And the bad:
1. The other two hosts.
Tanner Foust and Adam Ferrara seemed… cold. I understand that a good portion of the show is scripted, but it was bloody obvious they were reading lines. During the introduction the pair even missed cues, stumbling over each other. While Tanner occasionally would feel genuine, he mostly just felt flat. It’s pretty clear he isn’t used to being in front of a camera, even though he’s done similar work elsewhere. Adam Ferrara barely does anything worthwhile in this first episode, though I will give him credit for an entertaining one mile drag run. Outside of that the guy seemed like a dead fish, especially during…
2. Big Star In a Small Car
Everything about it was horrible. Jeremy Clarkson, being a journalist, actually has the ability to interview another human being. Adam Ferrara could’ve been replaced by a robot. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Not to mention Buzz Aldrin looked confused the entire time. The little clip introducing the segment seemed lame as well. Was I watching something off of YouTube?
3. The details.
Top Gear is a great show because of the details. There is a lot of polish on all the episodes that makes them absolutely wonderful to watch. Small things like the background ambiance and music, how they work with the Stig, the transitions between segments — those are the things that really push the show over the edge. Unfortunately, all of those elements were missing here. The music in most of the segments sounded amateur at best. At points it was even distracting — when they introduced the Lamborghinis there was a track playing that sounded like a high school music teacher’s version of Deadmau5. It completely pulled me out of what I was watching. The epic music is what adds to the swooping shots and really pulls them together and it was totally missing. Moving past that, the Stig was poorly introduced. As far as any new viewers know, the dude is just some racing driver who is anonymous. There’s no character there. It honestly seemed like the hosts weren’t even sure of how they were introducing him.
Overall, it was decent enough that I’ll watch next week. I imagine I’ll keep watching through this season and then really make a solid judgement at the end of it. If the chemistry between the hosts improves, they show that they are capable of producing a proper review, and they can pay attention to the details, then I think we’ll have a pretty good show on our hands.
And on that bombshell, I’ll have to give this first episode a 6/10.
Well, er, a day late, but still! Hope all of you had a wonderful Halloween.
If it wasn’t obvious already, I decided to write a short story to… celebrate the season.
Hope you enjoy it. I’ll get back to writing non-insane things now, I promise!
Oh, also as an editors note: I’m really tired! So I apologize for any errors that may have slipped in. I’ll re-proof read everything tomorrow, I just wanted to make sure I got everything posted tonight.