What Was Blaugust?
Back in April of 2013 I started this thing I referred to as the Grand Experiment, where I attempted to force myself to write something… anything every single day. Prior to that I had been a very infrequent blogger to say the least, having an entire year pass between posts. Any time I lapsed there would be this wall of pressure and anxiety that would build up that kept me from starting posting again, feeling like when I came back I needed to make some spectacular re-entry worthy of the length of time I had been gone. The daily posting things did a lot for me and my confidence and also the level of my life I was willing to share with my readers. For me personally… it was a good transformation and while I only kept with the daily posting for three years I have since settled into a more comfortable routine of only posting during the week days.
In 2014 I had already noticed a change in the way I wrote and how I felt about blogging in general and to some extent wanted to share that with the rest of the blogging community. So in my infinite wisdom I decided to create an event where I challenged other bloggers to go one entire month without missing a post. In my head I rammed together a bunch of sounds until I came up with Blaugust… only to find out later that it was already a thing and that a bunch of Aussies had been doing a blogging festival thing for years. My version however focused on the rigor of posting every single day and being super hard core about keeping track of who was and was not still in the race. While entertaining this was really not healthy for the blogging community.
One of the side effects that I found is that many blogs that were started for Blaugust or were fledglings going into it… went into massive periods of not posting anything at all as a sort of recovery period. Similarly as the years went on those same blogs never really seemed to recover, and it is my fear that Blaugust wound up killing more blogs than it wound up helping. Each year I tweaked the formula a bit until 2016 was my attempt at creating a kinder gentler Blaugust, and then last year I just couldn’t muster the oomph to make it happen at all and instead promoted something my friend Grace was trying. I had this overall feeling that I harmed the community with the event, and this was only reinforced in my mind by the constantly shrinking pool of active bloggers.
What Was the Newbie Blogger Intiative?
The thing is… at the time of the inception of Blaugust it was just one of many events that the community did during the year. The grand daddy of them all was the Newbie Blogger Initiative that ran most often during the month of May. This was an idea originally spawned by Syp of Bio Break and he realized that game blogging was a thing that was on the decline, and the only way to keep it alive was to set out to “grow our own” as it were. The first year was 2012 and had a flood of participation that you can see summarized here, but it helped more than anything to build a sense of community to the folks out here blogging as independent island nations floating in the internet. There are lots of game blogging communities that gain cohesiveness through shared love of a specific product… the World of Warcraft community for example has always been fairly tight knit and recursive. However those of us nomads that jump around from game to game have never really had a similar family… that is until NBI came along and crafted a sense of shared community. Unfortunately the last running of NBI was also in 2016… because quite honestly the tail end of 2016 and all of 2017 were extremely rough to struggle through. There were events that happened in the real world and events that happened in gaming that caused people to fear for their own safety and sort of batten down the hatches. All of this was an unfortunate blow to our already shrinking blogrolls.
What is Blaugust Reborn?
The idea is simple… lets take the best features of both Blaugust and the Newbie Blogger Intiative and sorta ram them together into one festival of blogging. It isn’t necessarily that I feel like I am qualified to do this thing… but it is something that someone needs to do. Over the last few years those of us who are out here posting regularly has shrunk to a pretty small pool. There was a time when I could never actually read down my blog roll, because by the time I got through with a day new posts were flooding in over the top of the dam. Now I pretty regularly read down to the equivalent of “inbox zero” while taking pretty huge breaks between reading. The world has changed and it isn’t as exciting to be out here blogging your thoughts and ideas the way it used to be, also there are a million other streams of information dividing our attention. I still feel however that blogging creates a place for yourself in that stream if information and gives you a presence that cannot be taken away by “promoted posts” or “interest based sorting algorithms”.
So what I propose is a month of mildly structured posting and developing a strong mentorship community among those of us who are still out there doing it on a regular basis. Lets help grow that next generation of bloggers and help them get started in a journey that honestly has meant more to me than I can adequately put into words. I love feeling like I am part of something bigger than myself and I think we all do to some extent. Let’s reignite the fires of this dwindling community and help to firmly affix the torch into the hands of a new generation of bloggers. While gaming is very much in my wheel house… it isn’t even a game blogging festival but more one about creating a place for yourself and showing off whatever it is that you want to show the world. You could create a blog to share your latest recipe creations or one to catalog your experiences as you start a new job. You could share your awesome screenshots and write some notes about how you felt when you took it or what you were thinking at the time. You could do your “daily blog” as a series of livestreams that you record and post later as a VOD or exported to YouTube. The core concept is to create a community around the creation of new “stuff” and a sense of us all working together in the same shared space.
What About the Awards?
One of the things that has traditionally come with Blaugust is a series of made up awards that are granted to those who participant. So far they have shaped up to look a little something like this…
- Newbie Blogger Award – You did it, you created a new blog and by god we are going to sing your praises for doing it!
- Bronze Award – You made at least 5 posts during the Month of August 2018.
- Silver Award – You made at least 15 posts during the Month of August 2018, go you!
- Gold Award – You made at least 25 posts during the Month of August 2018, you are a badass!
- Rainbow Diamond Award – You did it, you posted every single day during the Month of August 2018 and deserve accolades.
Occasionally in the past various sponsors have mysteriously shown up during this event, and if that happens… awesome I will share the bounty. If not I am going to make nifty blog sidebar thingys for each of the various award categories.
One of the keys to making this work is that we need a bunch of you amazing bloggers out there to sign up as mentors. Ultimately I feel like mentors should have roughly two years of blogging experience under their belt to be able to gauge the ebbs and flows of content creation in front of a live studio audience. This isn’t necessarily meant as a gate keeping mechanism, but I want any participant to feel like they can turn to any mentor for sage advice. I sure as hell am not sure if I have anything resembling sage advice, but I have quite a bit of experience in dealing with the nonsense that comes up while trying to keep a regular publishing schedule. The mentors will all be clearly marked as such in Discord since that tends to be the thing that ultimately replaced forums for the gaming community. I will be doing my best to be hanging out there often myself to answer questions as they arise.
I mentioned this above that I wanted to attempt a bit of a structured format… which is of course optional but provides us some general content areas to focus on while the event is going on. This also helps to revive another tradition that was Developer Appreciation Week and embed it as part of this larger blogging festival as well. So right now the weeks look a little something like this.
- July 25th – July 31st – Blaugust Prep Week – posts about the technical details of getting started in blogging. Tutorials, advice, tips for naming your blog… that sort of stuff to get people ready to hit the ground on August 1st running.
- August 1st – August 7th – Topic Brainstorming Week – posts about ideas for topics that the participants can then mine for the rest of the month.
- August 8th – August 14th – Get to Know Each Other Week – hanging out and meeting other people in this new fledgling community and hopefully gaming together a bit! Also highly support doing some sort of collaboration on shared topics!
- August 15th – August 21st – Developer Appreciation Week – post about the things that you really appreciate in gaming or any other community… because chances are there is a developer or designer behind the things you love.
- August 22nd – August 28th – Staying Motivated Week – tips and tricks that you might have to stay motivated and keep creating content against the tyranny of a blank screen.
- August 29th – August 31st – The Final Stretch: Lessons Learned – as a way of getting us across the finish line, talk about some of the experienced you had during the month and maybe things you learned about yourself.
- The sign up form for Blaugust Reborn 2018 can be found here
- The invite link to the Blaugust Reborn Discord can be found here
- When you share your content please use the hashtag #BlaugustReborn for tracking purposes
- Also share your content in the “share-your-content” channel on Discord!
- Mingle with your other Mentors and Participants
- Maybe even use the “gaming-together” channel on Discord for play games together!
- Have a great freaking August!