Preparing for Blaugust 2019
According to the schedule (which is purely for guidance and not a metaphorical gun to your head) Blaugust 2019 Festival of Blogging starts today. This is “prep week”; a golden opportunity to get all your ducks in a row. Now there’s nothing to stop you going into the event blind and winging it. For some content creators, that’s how they roll. However, for most of us, it helps if we have some kind of plan in place and have figured some stuff out in advance. For me this is important as I have a fluid day-to-day schedule and I’m also away for three days due to my son’s wedding. So I thought I’d share my approach to Blaugust, in the hope that it may be helpful to others. Like most things in life, there is no “one size fits all approach”, so you may want to temper my methods and adapt them to your own. You know your own strengths and weaknesses better than I. But the underlying point is still sound. Doing some degree of preparation for Blaugust will certainly help you.
Strategy and planning: Blaugust is about creating content, so why not start collating ideas and brainstorming. If you have established regular columns or intend to do so, then these will be invaluable in bolstering your post count. Providing a diary of your progress in a game is useful and straight forward to write. As for ideas, create a list and write what you want to cover. Then add bullet points about what you want to convey and discuss with each idea. These can then be fleshed out into paragraphs. Impose structure via opening and closing statements and voila, you have a blog post or at least the first draft. Your list of ideas can then become the framework of your posting schedule. If you’re stuck for ideas then the schedule posted by Belghast (see above) offers writing prompts. If you favour writing about specifc things, then do so. I find movie reviews the easiest to write so will prepare some in advance. Also, if possible don’t just write on the fly. Plan when and where you write for best results
Motivation and the reality of regular writing: I strongly encourage all Blaugust participants to communicate with others on the Blaugust Discord Server. Don’t feel reticent about sharing your content there. You have to promote your work to some degree to get people to come and read it. You may well get visitors and comments due to the buzz surrounding the event. But be realistic in your expectations. The key to building an online presence is to publish content regularly. Potentially, this is the most valuable lesson that Blaugust can teach you. Every post doesn’t have to be an in-depth essay or a literary milestone. Three paragraphs is sometimes all that’s needed to make your point, convey an idea or express a sentiment. Remember it is your blog and you should do things your way and in a manner that you’re comfortable with. Don’t overreach yourself but don’t sell yourself short either. Realistically consider what you can produce and then strive to do so.
Expect the unexpected: As well as being a tagline for the TV show Terrahawks, this is also sound advice about Blaugust. No plan is bullet proof and sadly at times, shit happens. A major news story in the area that you write about may appear and you may want to digress from your schedule and get on that bandwagon. Also, one of your fellow bloggers or even yourself, may make a particularly cogent post that subsequently gets other writers riffing off it. You may then feel it prudent to follow up the discussion with another post on that subject. Plus life may derail you and prevent you from writing or at least interfere with your plan. There is even a possibility that you may discover that whatever content creation that you’re pursuing, is not for you after all. Blaugust is a learning curve and despite what you may think, it still has the potential to teach you something. Sometimes you have to do something to determine whether it’s right or not for you.
It never hurts to be organised and for many, imposing a degree of structure upon a month-long writing event, will make it far easier to navigate. Yet, there does come a point when you have to stop fine tuning your plan, which can sometimes become a diversion in itself, and just get on with writing, podcasting, streaming etc. It’s a bit like getting into the swimming pool when on holiday. The water looks inviting but you know it will strike cold. Once in experience tells us it will be fine but the main obstacle is just diving or climbing in. For many, the first Blaugust post is the equivalent of this but once it’s done you may wonder why you worried about it so much. So take the plunge, stay in touch with other participants and see where the month ahead takes you. If you get stuck then help is at hand. I won’t say “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” because that is a logical fallacy. But I will quote from The Lord of the Rings. As Gaffer Gamgee said, “It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish".