(Being a nerd, I obviously scheduled this to be posted at the exact same minute as the first article on this blog.)
Really. Ten Years. I’m actually not even that surprised. I’ve always liked writing, so it was just natural that this would last.
Sure, there have been technical issues. There’s plenty of posts which are currently broken, because there’s an old MtG plugin, which hasn’t been updated for… forever and I just haven’t been able to fix all of those posts (nor am I really motivated to either as many of them are basically obsolete, even though they do still get hits and I do try to fix the ones that are most popular). Weirdly enough, the technical issues haven’t completely killed the blog yet, even though there’s some things in the background I’m just choosing to ignore and hope they won’t break everything. And I have a Masters in software engineering, a fact that has saved this blog a couple of times already, but there’s still things in this mess commonly known as WordPress that would haunt me if my income was in any way dependent on this site.
Sometimes there are just weird things happening, like when someone load a specific page every few minutes for well over 800 times during few days. I thought this was an attack of some sort, so I quickly took any precautions against such an attack I could think of (as I remember, I took the reading privileges away from any login files, I downgraded all other accounts to authors instead of whatever status they had, I checked if any other files have been accessed besides the one used for showing posts), but there wasn’t any real sign of an attack except for those page loads from a single source. I haven’t been able to find an answer to what happened and people who’s expertise I generally trust on issues like this didn’t have any answers either. Maybe it was a faulty spider or malware in someone’s browser, but still feels just so weird.
But that’s not the interesting part to me. Let’s talk about the state of this blog.
So, this blog has never really grown. Actually, the blog was at it’s most popular back in 2016. The problem is that the blog just doesn’t really have a brand or identity. It’s just my thoughts on whatever. Sure, I’ve kept it mostly on nerdy subjects, meaning games and movies, but there’s still a lot of different subjects being posted on, which means from a search engine point of view that the blog is hard to recommend for anyone looking for information on a topic and if they do find this blog, the multitude of topics covered won’t encourage anyone to return (poor SEO if you will). Also, my interests have shifted and that has caused the nature of what is on the front page to shift quite a bit as well. Also, since 2016, videos have become much more prominent form of consuming content, so most blogs have probably lost readers to some extent. (I would recommend reading more to everyone, but anyone who reads this probably reads other things already, so good on you. Keep it up.)
Another problem is that many MtG articles are and have been sort of time sensitive. Sure, they may have (and often do) a more generic point to make and are only using topical examples to explain that point, but I doubt many will read about a format with cards that are not played anymore. At the same time, I’ve always tried to be timeless with the RPG content and most of the movie content. This isn’t very conducive to cultivating an audience either.
Part of me doesn’t mind. After all, monetarily this is just an expense to me. I would hate to be locked into writing about a specific subject when I can write about what is on my mind at a specific time. Sure, it might have been better to have several different blogs (for example, RPGs, MtG, movies and random thought separately), but that would have meant long silent periods for each of them, if I don’t have something to say for months on end on a topic (and even this blog has had pauses for months on end).
Part of me does mind. Mostly because I do feel I have some great ideas, which have been completely buried and that’s partly, because I have never cultivated a real audience. Also, I can’t really know who actually reads the articles, because I’m not using any tools that would check that, because I don’t want to give any more data to Automattik and Google than I have to. I see certain articles about subjects I find interesting being loaded, but are they actually read? Every once in a while, someone goes on a weird journey through the blog, going through dozens of pages (I assume, because again, I can’t really know, but sometimes the difference between page views and visitors is unusually high and that’s my assumption why that happens), but often there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the articles they look at.
Sometimes I wonder how someone found this blog anyhow. For exaple, one of the articles, that does get regular views, is this article about a specific puzzle in the remake of Thief from 2014. That game is not good enough to warrant people still playing it, nor do I think the article actually is what most of these people are looking for (as it deals with the puzzle in a quite generalized way instead of just giving an answer), but it still sees regular activity (as I’m writing this, there’s 116 players playing the game currently on Steam with a 7 day peak of 202). Also anything Storybook Brawl related is still getting hits, even though the servers shut down on May 1st.
But hey, this is what it’s supposed to be: a creative outlet. Considering that the blog is closing in on a million words, it would seem it does this job quite well. I really should organize some things here, because someone might actually find certain things helpful, but am I going to bother? Probably not. There’s just too much stuff to organize well. Part of the problem is that early in the blog’s lifecycle, when there were other writers, we didn’t really have rules on how to organize the content, so everyone did what they did, which has left some inconsistencies within the categorization and I don’t often bother tagging anything.
So, what about those other writers? Since the blog did not really ever have a shared vision, everyone had a permission to write about whatever and as I was clearly the most prolific writer, it was kind of natural that this would become my blog at some point. This was not planned, but hindsight being 20/20 (not really, way too many people actually just refuse to learn), this evolution should have been expected without better coordination, but on the other hand, since this was always supposed to be just a creative outlet (although I think Lauri harbored bigger ambitions), that coordination would probably have been impossible. Some of them have their own blog (Dice Blasters), but it would seem that has devolved into Lauri’s personal project, although it’s hard to tell, because much of the usual WordPress functionality has apparently been disabled there.
I meant this to be more celebratory, because 10 years of activity is an achievement of sorts. So, so many blog die or become otherwise inactive quite fast, but at least this one is around and not only around, but even if the activity here is often unplanned and uneven, this blog is still active and I do have plans to keep it so until unforeseeable future. For example, I have plans for 2025 and I have written around 40000 words for that project. (Yes, I did mean 2025, some projects take more time. I don’t want to be coy about this, since there is no reason, so I’ll just say that it’s the latest in the series of lists of my favorite movies I’ve done every five years.)
On the other hand, longevity is not an achievement on it’s own. No-one celebrates anyone taking ten years to get something done, which should have been done in a single year. At least I would hope so. Has the blog achieved something else during that time? Again, it is a creative outlet and as such it does work. Anyone else finding something interesting in the blog is just a nice bonus. Also, me being me, I now have this 10 year archive of my writing, so I might well go back some day and try to understand how my approach has changed during the history of this blog. I do evolve as a person, but without proper documentation of the past, it is hard to know how, because our brains don’t really hold the whole editing history of memories.
What else is coming up? I don’t know. My major interests, currently, are with movies and writing, so it is probable that I will continue writing more about those subjects. I have had a list of European animated movies for over two years now ready for the a continuation to Aki Vs. series. I just need to come up with a good name.
I have also been thinking about doing a series on using AI tools to help with DMing, but the results of my first test have been so incredibly bad that I don’t really know if I want to go anywhere with it, but at the same time, I do think such advice wuold be valuable to someone, because AI is not straightforward. I would have to plan this out, but we’ll see. Quick version would be that the text is mostly useless while images can be very useful, if you find a software you like. I do have one generic article pretty much ready to go.
I am going to release the novella later today and currently I am more interested in writing fiction than the regular posts, but I’m also more critical of my fiction than my other writings, so we’ll see how much of that is going to be published at any point. Well, besides the novella I have ready to go. I have been thinking of doing some discovery style writing, where you don’t plan, but just start writing and publishing each chapter here, so that I can’t go back and fix things, but that would require a commitment I’m not sure I would be able to do.