You would think that over time I would get considerably better at doing this sort of thing, but in truth I still struggle to find inspiration on a regular basis. This is a little funny considering that as of this morning I have been writing on Tales of the Aggronaut for eight years. Last year there was an awful lot of pomp around the seventh anniversary, and I even got my good friend Ammo to do some artwork for the site as a result. The problem with doing anything for eight years, is that after awhile you start to question if you are just simply repeating yourself in cycles. I cannot tell you the number of times I sit down to write a post… and then have to google my own blog to see if I have actually already written this post before somewhere in the past. In truth I have a sort of amnesia when it comes to writing things on this blog. I sit down each morning and bang out a post, pouring my thoughts into each post… and then as soon as I hit post the memory of having written it just sort of floats away. I question sometimes if this blog is more therapy than exposition, because at this point I am not entirely certain I could really stop writing. This is now a part of me and ingrained that I need to sit down each morning and attempt to say something meaningful.
This year saw me dialing things back a little however and breaking my daily blogging routine and shifting up the format to be weekly posts. In truth this has been something extremely positive for me as a writer and a human being. It gives me the weekend to simply not have to think about what I should and should not be writing about. Sunday had been a hellacious day for me especially considering I got up and finished editing and prepping the AggroChat episode that we recorded the night before. Then as soon as I wrapped that up I realistically needed to sit down and write a blog post before I was officially “free” to do anything. This also made planning anything on the weekends rough given that I was already claiming from 9 pm onward on Saturday night… then again functionally claiming an hour or two each morning. Then if we needed to travel I had to either drag a laptop with me on our travels and do the upside down day thing… or stage enough posts to cover the time away from home. There was something ultimately liberating when it came to breaking the pattern. So much of why I had been pushing myself was simply to make sure that I never dropped any of the plates that were spinning in the air, and once I allowed the first place to drop… it became a lot easier to allow myself time off when I simply was not ready to make a post. It also allows me to shift the format around a bit, so that if we take a vacation I can actually enjoy said vacation. For example I didn’t make posts from Pax South this year… or over Spring Break when we roamed Dallas hitting all of the Half Priced Books. The world seemed to manage just fine without me, and folks more or less have continued reading in spite of my occasionally dropping a post.
Part of the tyranny of the pattern is the fact that I felt like I became more known for the fact that I was doing the daily posting thing… than anything I might have actually been writing about. That said I have readers that have been around… sometimes begrudgingly the entire eight years so in truth this was probably just anxiety brain being horrible. The truth is that I still do not know why anyone reads this blog, and I am consistently baffled by the analytics. That said I also feel like I am on this shared journey with all of you. We are doing this together, even if you have never actually commented on the blog in the past. It feels like I always have a friend there to tell the tales of my adventures and foibles to, and as a result I always strive to make this a much more intimate experience. I let each and every one of you inside my mind from time to time to share my thoughts and feelings… and sometimes write more about “stuff” than I do gaming. I thank you all for being there, and even if you are just standing in the background lurking… the fact that you are there is important to me personally. I don’t want to be a “brand” or try and turn this blog into some sort of vehicle for self promotion. I just want it to be a shared experience of taking you all along with me as I do things. So in the end I am thankful for each and every person that has decided to come along for the ride.
The funny thing about April is that for me it is apparently a time of new beginnings. I started Tales of the Aggronaut on April 17th of 2009, because I was inspired by some of the World of Warcraft blogs that I had been reading. In truth it was a single blog called the Wordy Warrior, by Aeridel that ultimately tipped me to the side of writing my own thing. Sadly like so many blogs it is lost to the mists of time, but she went on to now be one of the amazing social media managers for World of Warcraft. In 2013 when I felt like I needed to restart things with the blog, I opted to start the “Grand Experiment” and go from having several month long breaks in blog posts… to blogging every single morning. It was a bit of a swift kick in the ass, and it was something that I needed to gain the confidence to just sit down at a keyboard and start writing without being super concerned about creating greatness every single day. I stuck with this for a little over three years before ultimately dialing it back for my own sanity. In addition I am realizing that the very first AggroChat podcast episode was on April 13th… something we probably should have mentioned in this past weeks show. So it seems like for me at least April is just this month where I hatch new ideas and make them into something tangible. As a result I have one such idea that has been incubating in my head, I just need to find the time… and volunteers to bring it to fruition.
In eight years of blogging I have written a little over 1500 blog posts, 1519 to be exact if I believe WordPress. During that time I have had 128,828 unique readers from 186 different countries. While English is not shockingly the top language group hitting the blog… French and German have a pretty large share of the numbers as well. My heaviest usage day was apparently November 2nd 2015, when Marvel Heroes reposted one of my blogs on both Facebook and Twitter. All of this is largely nonsensical to me because I still cannot fathom why anyone would actually care about my thoughts. I am not really a big blog, and I don’t really have this massive audience… but what I seemingly do have is a group of folks who are extremely devoted to whatever this experience is. I’ve said it before and I still think its true. There are really two types of readers out there regardless of whatever platform you happen to be posting on. There are the folks who are interested in a specific topic and your blog just happens to be drift compatible with those goals. However if you ever decide to shift focus, they can easily weed you out of their feed reader because it no longer meets their parameters. Then there are the folks who have somewhere along the way imprinted upon you, and probably arrived originally because your interests were similar… but ended up sticking around because they decided that they cared about you as a human being. The later group is really the folks that are here for the long haul because over these past eight years I have bounced around like crazy. So while this started as a “Warrior Tanking” blog and went through “Raiding Blog”, “General WoW Blog”, and “Rift Blog” phases… what exists today is just “Bel Says Things”. If you aren’t interested in that then you probably aren’t going to be around for long. Regardless I am deeply humbled that I seemingly have so many people interested in that proposal, and I will try really hard to “not fuck this up” in the process.