I started blogging in the late ’00s, did it for a few years on the regular. Having stopped for the last decade, now might be a good time to take another stab at this. The plan is still to write about gaming, but with a somewhat more immediate and personal slant. I will attempt to be more timely about discussing my regular gaming concerns through a new format and approach to blogging.
New readers may expect topics specifically related to tabletop roleplaying. I dabble in most styles and try to remain ambitious about it, which tends to send me on years-long quests to master this or that game to my satisfaction. I will try to use the blog as a low-overhead venue for puking out some of the ideas that crowd in my cranium in the dark of the night.
What about the 2010s?
Old friends might wonder about why I haven’t been blogging for a decade now. There’s no great secret to it, I just haven’t felt like I have anything worthwhile to say. Still don’t, really, but one grows more suspicious of such feelings in the twilight age. I find my mastery of the arts outpacing my interest and ability to transmit insight. In a word, eremitic leanings make it easy to ignore the duty of teaching. I should write more.
The concrete push to trying this anew came with the closing of the Story Games discussion forum last year; I’d been contributing on the forum casually for years, so the end of the discussion environment there makes for an opportunity to step back and re-evaluate the way I participate in the wider social context of the gaming hobby. While many others left adrift by the end of SG have chosen to join other forums (Gauntlet and Fictioneers have been prominent destinations, I understand), I haven’t felt the need myself; much of what a web forum offers is ultimately a distraction for me, not something I should wish to invite for its own sake.
So instead, let’s try this blogging thing for a second time. It’s an opportunity to document my on-going gaming work without casual distractions from the ever-active community of peers that is a web forum. It’s public and available, and I am available for further questions if anything I write causes concern, which makes me feel happy about doing my part to advance the craft instead of selfishly sitting on my discoveries.
The Newsletter Paradigm
I don’t know how this blogging initiative will develop in the future, but for now, a simple and clearly defined goal for year 2020:
A weekly newsletter
to document the progress of my art;
to keep friends abreast of what I'm doing.
I got the newsletter idea from Ben Lehman while discussing my future plans with him — in his effortlessly incisive way Ben suggested that the newsletter form might be appropriate for my sharing desires. I’d found Rafu‘s newsletter (something that he boldly subscribed me to on his own initiative) to be pleasant reading, so the idea fell to fertile ground here; a newsletter would provide a personalized audience to highly technical and occasionally personal writing. It could even prove a handy vehicle in renewing friendship with all sorts of acquaintances whom I’ve left to lapse over the years due to my disinclination for social media.
Ultimately an actual newsletter, a push format publication, proves a too bold gesture for me. The pushiness it implies doesn’t come naturally to me, which is why my newsletter ends up in the form of a blog. This way I don’t need to bother people by asking for permission to send them junk mail; anybody can read my newsletter or not, as they please, without requirements of politeness. I think I promised Ben to let him know about this, but aside from that I’m free of the obligation and vice of self-promotion here.
The format of a newsletter, though, feels promising: a weekly report on what passes over my desk might be a less cumbersome means of communication. In the past I’ve relied on essay-length white papers; a weighty and slow format that necessarily means having to ignore nine ideas to have the time to write a treatment on the tenth one. Often I would end up writing on a topic that interests only myself, too. A newsletter should be more even-footed overall, and it’s not like doing that prevents me from doing more in-depth writing on the side when appropriate.
I’m planning to publish the weekly newsletter on every Sunday in 2020 to begin with, so 52 issues or shameful failure. The content will consist of gaming ideas, actual play reporting and various other matters in cultural study, whatever occurs to me through the week. If anything interesting comes up along the way, don’t hesitate to ask for further clarification. I’m viewing the newsletter more as a summary device of documentation than an in-depth exposition; if you want to know more of any particular topic I bring up, it’s on you to let me know.