Friday, September 2, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

While catching up on other blogs this morning I happened to notice Micheal Curtis's bittersweet anniversary post over at The Society.  After replying there and urging Mike to keep the blog up even if the fire has gone to ash, I came back here and checked on my own first blog date.  Wednesday, September 1st 2010.  So yesterday was my blogging anniversary.  Blogger celebrated by eating my Sept 1st. post three times and then apparently refused to update any of the feeds with it when I finally got it working.

That was a bummer as the essay represented some long-promised actual gaming content.  If you missed it, here it is, my take on creating and naming arcane orders.  In truth, a lot more effort went into developing the method for naming. It was fun.  I plan to circle back on this and introduce some more rules involving unique abilities, secret knowledge and item construction.  I suspect these will be less broadly fun, but a few out there will hopefully find some use for them. Those aspects of the system aren't ready to share just yet and I'm OK with the idea of iterative builds.  Hell, I work with software developers.  They're never finished.   

But I'm wandering off topic.  Realizing that yesterday was an anniversary for me and reading Micheal's reflections got me considering my own blogging and then blogging in general.  Chris K at Hill Cantons laments the transitory nature of the blog.  I've heard it said that somewhere between 2 and 3 years the bloggers that make it that far start to lose the desire to continue writing... at least about whatever topic they've focused the blog upon.  In Michael's case I think the blog was a starting point for something else that he now wants to focus his creative energies and editorial discipline on.  I respect and understand that.

I'm not the first guy or gal to say this and I won't be the last.  Please folks, if you're at the end of your interest in the material, leave it up and online anyway.  I know Blogger, at least, isn't costing me anything. If you go for adverts or donation buttons then you might even be making some bubble gum money.  Maybe it seems like the material you put the most amount of thought or effort into went largely unnoticed, meanwhile a good portion of your hits are coming from people surfing for pictures of playing cards or caves.  Forget it.  If you've been doing this for more than a year or so and you've accumulated some followers, then you've written something at some point worthy of attention and worthy of being kept around for the next random person to find.  There's value in that.  You might not be able to see it, but I'm telling you its there. 

Matt Finch writes about how the OSR is an internet thing more than a publishing thing or even, until recently, a playing thing.  I agree.  But it will be a forgotten thing as well if we start taking content down.  Consider the long haul.  Consider the gamer five years from now wandering through, sick of D&D 12th edition, yearning for something closer to their tastes and stumbling upon this community.  I'd hate to imagine Michael Curtis's work and musings not being available to this person.

While its frustrating at times to consider that your best material in this arena might be behind you and now buried in page hits beneath a hot elf chick meme and a controversial post on ascending/ descending AC that you plant face in palm over now, never mind it.  The creme always rises and if you leave your stuff up for 5 years and only impact or influence 5 more people every year, that's 25 folks you've touched.  Multiply that by your blog roll.  If and when the steam runs out on this whole thing somebody, somewhere will stumble upon it all and get it going again.  As long as WoTC and D&D remain on the trajectory they're on there will be a need for it.  The game is not dead, our work is not done folks. Fight On.  Or, at least leave your sword and armor out for the next guy.

Anyway, thanks for indulging me in this.  I mean the whole thing.  The whole year I've spent blogging.  If you're a regular reader I appreciate that you're here.  If you're just dropping in, welcome aboard.  Take a look at the other articles and my blog roll before you head out.


  1. I've heard it said that somewhere between 2 and 3 years the bloggers that make it that far start to lose the desire to continue writing... at least about whatever topic they've focused the blog upon.

    That sounds about right to me. Three years is actually the average too of people who work at non-profit organizations or volunteer full time at a particular place. Perhaps it's a commentary on how far non-monetary passions and interests take most people in our society? Dunno.

    It's hard not to notice longer and longer bouts of fatigue in those running blogs that long which seems to be dealt with in very different ways. Some just own up and quit, some pace themselves, and others chug along with no real stop.

    Technically my blog is two and a half, but I really only stepped up to steady blogging a year ago. I can feel the strain and I highly doubt that it will stretch out to two more years of this. Which is fine, really.

    But yeah I won't take it offline either.

  2. I'm a Pacer myself. It makes for a glacial release of content, I know, but I'm happy with the content I do have. When I'm ready to post I do so. When I'm not, I don't. I didn't do anything for the whole month of July and didn't seem to lose any followers and the page hits seemed fine when I came back to posting.

    I guess what I'm saying is that there's no need to burn out because you've maintained a regular presence in spite of your desires once you've established one. Some people can be both prolific and profound... or at least regularly entertaining. I just go for it when it comes.

    Look at places like Kellri's and Philotomy's blogs. I found those first when I went looking for older edition D&D content. They haven't been touched in ages and that's just fine. There's good stuff there and when they're ready to write some I'll be ready to read it.

    Maybe this thing took of so fast in terms of interest that any slow down or lag is seen as bad. I'd like to think that people are just out there gaming, but we need to at least keep up with one another, however often.

  3. Great post. I agree, you need to fight on. What's the harm in leaving up a blog that you might not post on for long periods of time, or never again? Just leave a final post up stating the reasons why you closed shop, but leave it up as a resource. Heck, there's still a HORRIBLE, cringe-worthy philosophy website (free hosting from I created in 2000 lingering out there in the ether. I wouldn't even know now how to delete it.

    I sometimes think about the "worth" of my blog. I think we all do. When I think about it too much, I see my blog as an indulgence, really. I haven't really written anything of great profundity or utility, in my own estimation. Sometimes I wonder why people read my blog at all! ;-) There's nothing in the realm of Grognardia, Hill Cantons, Character for Every Game, and all the other blogs that provide materials for gamers, reviews of products, or all that other practical stuff.

    Maybe it's enough that I wanted to join a community of like minded individuals. I want to share my experiences. I am focusing now on using my blog to report on the ups and downs of my actual-play experiences, and using the blog to solicit advice and ask questions about the hobby. So maybe I'm a taker rather than a giver? But then again, I do find myself commenting on other people's blogs to give support...

    So I fight off the doubts and the blog angst, and chug along. I post when I can, and I hope that my fellow bloggers give me leeway, and understand when I don't post for long stretches of time.

  4. I think your third paragraph describes a good use for your blog, DRANCE. What attracted me as an early reader of yours was your earnest and uninhibited enthusiasm for the game. Just be yourself I suppose and treat it as an indulgence. Trust me, the blogs you mentioned are indulging as well.

  5. Hey James! Could not agree more with you. Case in point, I followed your comments over at The Society of Torch, Pole, and Rope's torch(poleandrope)song, and your pov has already paid for itself:

    I did a bit of blog-panning and already struck gold, finding your posted Sample Dungeon fill-ins.

    Thanks for your voice and for the inspiration!

  6. Thanks for dropping in. Enjoy the adventure.