Over the last few weeks folks have been pinging me, asking if Blaugust would be returning. I feel like I have put off this post as long as I could possible do so. Originally I was planning on calling Blaugust this year because I simply did not have it in me. However when I finally got around to posting that statement… I had folks come out of the woodwork to suggest that the contest was cool and all, but not terribly essential to the concept of Blaugust for them. They also started brainstorming ways to make it less stressful for me personally. Essentially last year was a perfect storm of events that made Blaugust extremely hard. Firstly we had a truly irrationally large number of people participating jumping from 52 the first year to 88 the second year. There was a period of time that I thought we would be breaking 100. The thing is… for whatever reason I decided to make this thing a contest, with a win condition. That means that I needed to take the tallying of numbers and such super seriously, because I would ultimately be handing out rewards at the end of the journey. The only problem with that was that due to the participation and the large number of folks “winning” each year the concept of having a true single winner seemed super silly. As a result the last two years I have relied on a random number generation to finally pass out the prizes, and that felt somewhat icky. So this year we are rolling back to a previous revision in our magical source control system… and taking a stab at what the root of the idea really was.
Blogging on a Schedule
If you were to ask me what caused me to launch this thing in the first place, I am not sure if I could actually pin it down to a single thought. However I wanted Blaugust to be about posting blog content on a schedule. I went from being one of the least prolific bloggers to one of the most prolific in a matter of weeks when I embarked upon my “grand experiment” of blogging each and every morning. In truth it was madness that I would ever suggest that someone do the same. Ultimately this year I broke my streak on purpose just to have it done and buried and behind me. However I did manage to make it a little over three years without skipping a single day, and it is a feat that I am rather proud of. However the rhythm I have settled into as a result of posting every single week day also feels pretty great. Additionally it is far more manageable because at least for my wife and I.. the weekends are the only time we really have to do much of anything together. I can bang out a post in 30 minutes when I am under the gun of having to get to work on time, but for whatever reason my blog posts on Saturday and Sunday often times took hours. I tried a bunch of hacks to get around this, like having a reoccurring movie/television column, or a summary column that recounted the best highlights of what I did that week. However none of it felt really fresh or meaningful, and instead just superseded any planned activities that we might have wanted to do that weekend.
The core message of Blaugust has always been that blogging on a schedule is a good thing. My thought was by challenging people to blog every single day for a month, then when they decided to roll that back to every other day, or only week days… it wouldn’t seem near that daunting. For some this absolutely worked and Blaugust has seemed to make a lot of blogs more active. The only problem is it has the opposite effect as well… the challenge “broke” some people and they would go for months without making a post after the challenge wrapped up. This was absolutely an unintended consequence, and one that really bothered me from the very first year. The last thing I want to do is in some way bully people out of the blogosphere by setting up some sort of artificial gate. Additionally the whole concept of having winners bothered me as well. If you sit down and create a blog, and commit yourself to posting on it and baring your soul to the rest of us… you are a big winner in my book. Blogging is one of those things that gets in your blood, but it also takes a lot out of the person doing it. So everyone out there posting on their own blogs be it MMO Gaming, Cooking or Stamp Collecting… you are all awesome to me. So in this reboot we are no longer going to think of this as a contest, but instead a festival of sorts. I want to embrace the positives that the event can bring, without adding to the pressure everyone is already under when trying to do their own thing.
So what we end up with is a Festival of Blogging on a Schedule. What schedule you intend to stick with is entirely up to you, and honestly even if you do keep a schedule at all. 2016 has been this year when a lot of bad stuff has happened around the world, and I don’t want my artificial contest to be something that adds stress to anyone. If you want to push yourself to blog every day, awesome. I will be watching and will be tabulating those folks at the end, with probably a special sidebar image that denotes that. However I am not putting any real prizes on the line this year. This is the year that we are doing this thing for the sake of doing it. I always got the impression that no one was really in this for the gold at the end of the rainbow… so I doubt this will make any real difference. However I am trying to de-escalate the stress of the event, and I think by no longer making it a contest that might help. The hope is that you will take this month and make your own content creation more active than it has been in the past months. That is it.. that is the ultimate goal to get folks out there creating more awesome content.
There really is only one serious rule, and that is the sign-up sheet. If you are going to start participating in Blaugust 2016 please take a few minutes to fill out this Google Form. It doesn’t ask an awful lot but what it does is important. It asks for…
- Name of Blog
- URL of Blog
- Schedule if you Plan on Sticking to One
- Twitter Handle if you use it
- How you Heard About Blaugust
That’s it, nice and simple. I will tabulate the results and keep some sort of sidebar or event page with the collected information on it.
The other thing that I would ask is if you post to twitter please use the hashtag #Blaugust2016 just as a way of making things easier for folks to see as they are posted.
There is the Blaugust Nook over on Anook, and it is a great place to ask questions and have conversations with other bloggers that are doing this thing. Twitter as well is also a great resource, and I know personally that is where I end up holding most of my conversations with other bloggers. As far as Discord that seems to be the popular thing to be doing right now… I would prefer not to start a brand new server just for this event since I already have like twenty servers in my app. There are a couple of ones devoted to blogging so going to be pestering the folks who run those to see if they mind sharing. Additionally for anyone wanting to see what has happened in previous years there is always the Blaugust Category on my own blog, which I have been more or less fairly decent about tagging related posts.
Back to the Roots
Personally I will be going back to posting every day during the month of August. That said I might be staging some of the content on Saturday and Sunday so that it posts in the morning, rather than getting up and doing them and thereby impeding whatever activities we have planned. Giving up Saturday and Sunday was a strange thing for me when I did it, and on some levels I think it was a positive effect. That said there are lots of times that I have events that happen on the weekend that it feels artificial to wait until Monday to talk about. For example the passing of my cat Chloe this weekend… happened Friday night, and by the time Monday rolled around posting about it just felt like ripping a barely formed scab off the wound that was trying to heal. So for the first time in the history of Blaugust me posting every single day won’t just be my default interaction. It is going to take work to get me back in the habit of doing it, so I will essentially be struggling with you all to up my game and make more interesting content. One last word that I want to leave you with… is while everything about this keeps saying Blog, I don’t want to limit any creative outlet. If you are a vlogger or if you do twitch lets plays, or honestly any form of regular content creation, I don’t want to exclude you from this “festival”. Please sign up and let us know what you are creating and where you are creating it, and while blog means something specific… in my mind any sort of regular content creation be it blog, vlog, stream, or podcast feels like blogging to me. Additionally this is not just an MMO or Gaming thing… if you are out there blogging about your own personal stuff or another completely different industry… I want you to know that you are welcome as well. This thing started as a part of the MMO Gaming community, because most of the other bloggers I knew… were MMO Gamers. Last year Blaugust expanded quite a bit, and I hope it will as well this year into new and interesting areas.