So, it’s been almost a year of writing this blog, and the anniversary has happened at kind of an awkward time. I’m currently taking a break from Warmachine, my primary miniatures game, partly over some frustrations with certain aspects of tournament play that have been festering for a little while, but partly also because of some of the reactions to some of my recent content. Additionally, I’m deep in preparations for the Sword and Brush figure show, and have a few half-finished articles in the can that I should probably get out sometime. But, I suppose it’s as good of a time as any…
Being a content creator
Being a content creator can be a little tricky. This blog has been one of my longest-standing writing projects, and it has emphasized how challenging it can be to create content. Sometimes, you just don’t know what to write, and sometimes you get bored with a topic before you finish an article and move on to the next half-finished thing. Finally, the act of taking pictures of your minis and documenting your work can be difficult. It’s pretty common for me to take an in-progress photo, tell myself that I’m going to document my work in detail for the blog, then completely forget to take any more photos until I’m basically done.
The other thing I’ve learned is that if you want to do something, it’s also important to make it a part of your routine. I think one of my new year’s resolutions was to try to put out an article a week, but there have been a couple months, July in particular, where that kind of fell off.
Self-promotion can be a tricky thing as well. I mean, we all get nice and fuzzy feelings when we check the stats and see that a lot of people are reading your stuff. But getting it out there can be difficult. There are often a lot of unwritten or otherwise vague rules about when it’s appropriate to post a link to your articles, and it can be hard to navigate the etiquette online. I don’t want to spam pages, but if I write something good, I want people to see it and I feel like in some way, it’s doing them a favour to point them towards free content they may like. It’s one of the things that I think a lot of people struggle with; we feel awkward really trying to sell ourselves.
Finally, it can be difficult to keep things in perspective when you get negative responses, especially if you are the sort of person who has any sort of anxiety issue. On the internet, it’s easy for a few negative comments to get overwhelming. But for everyone who says, in the words of an anonymous redditor, that your article is the stupidest thing he’s ever seen and that you should fuck off to Games Workshop games, there are at least ten people who either like the article or at least think it is interesting, even if they disagree with some of it.
At least, I hope so…
Speaking about how my content has been received, I think some of the most well-received articles I’ve written had to do with dice math, which is a series that I could pick up again to address some of the more interesting things about probability and dice math.
Definitely the articles that got the most negative reaction were some of the ones where I talked about the importance of painting in wargaming, and advocated more of an emphasis on playing it painted. This is an issue that I tend to think a lot about, as someone who is a hobby gamer at heart and who has no ambition to compete at the world championships of Warmachine. But it’s hard to talk about in the Warmachine community, because it feels very much like it is basically heresy for some people.
In terms of engagement, I feel like I’ve gotten the most out of documenting my visits to various model shows. I think people like it when they see something they worked on pop up, and I’ve met a couple people from them recognizing me because I posted a picture of their model on the blog.
One other thing I would like to focus on is on content like tutorials. Part of my motivation for this blog was to share knowledge, and I feel like tutorials are a little more evergreen content than some of the other things I post. I could do a write-up on some new release from Privateer Press, or the latest #fakerules out of CID, but that stuff changes and gets stale. On the other hand, articles about how to do NMM say relevant for a long time.
I think it is safe to say that over the past year, I have grown as a painter. Sometimes I get a little impatient with my progress as a miniature painter, especially when I see awesome stuff that other people painted and get a little jealous. However, I feel that looking back on my previous work is a great way to put things in perspective.
One other thing where I have definitely improved is in miniature photography. If I look back at some of my old articles, the models in question look kinda bad. But over the past year, I feel like I’ve really learned to get more out of my iPhone camera, what with buying a light box and using some of the settings.
I’m not sure exactly where I will take this. I’ve been thinking of getting an actual domain name, rather than a .wordpress.com address, in the hopes that that may help grow my audience. The other thing I’ve discussed is doing some twitch streaming of my painting, but that’s going to be down the road as there is some technical knowledge and equipment that is necessary for that.
So… here’s to another year.