Welcome to Blaugust Day 1! Last August, an intrepid fellow by the name of Belghast issued a daunting challenge. For the entirety of the month, attempt to publish a daily blog post. For the calendar-challenged (I never got the hang of the knuckle trick myself), that cashes out as 31 posts for 31 days. It was an onslaught of brainstorming to come up with topics some days, and others I had nearly given up until something clicked in my head. Ultimately, I rose from my bunker of brain-blistered blogging 31 days later, 31 posts richer. It was quite the journey, and the toughest thing I had accomplished in the blogosphere.
Though they are both learning experiments and may share many of the same crowd, you'll likely find that Blaugust and the Newbie Blogger Initiative (NBI) to address some different skills/challenges aimed toward improving bloggers and their involvement with the community. Though I had heard of the event in the past, I officially took part in the NBI for the first time this year, and it indeed strived to bolster both the writing (through prompts) and virtual audience (through social media) of new.fairly established/wayward bloggers. For myself, it was fun meeting some new bloggers, and finally got me to start setting up one of them fancy feed reader doodads to keep up with reading others a bit better.
Blaugust takes when you may have picked up from the NBI, and cranks it to 11 (at least for a month). While you may have written, say, two or three times a week during NBI, you're now being told to squeeze out seven posts a week. Time management is certainly something that will arise, for obvious reasons. Depending on how you take the challenge to make it your own (ie doing vlogs on Youtube, or a specialized weekly schedule of events), there may be additional layers of marketing required.
The pacing/quality of your writing may feel a little different for the month, depending on your style - go with it if you are striving to join the "Winner" circle of 31 posts, but don't worry if it's just not working out for ya. If it starts to become more of a chore than a challenge, by all means stick to your usual pace - unhappy strife, unhappy life, as they say. We're all winners, in the sperm-sense of things.
Here are a couple of tips for the month:
- Your peers are your allies - Remember, this is only a challenge against yourself (and the looming writing fanatic overlord that is Belghast). Your fellow bloggers taking a part in Blaugust are an excellent source feedback as you go through the month. Also, make sure you are checking out their efforts - read, comment, converse, and feel free to pick up some ideas for topics. Belghast will also provide a nice list of suggested prompts should you be drawing a blank. None are required, but they do offer a nice boost on those off-days. Don't be afraid to use the resources at e-hand.
- Schedules for the win - The first thing I did last August was print out a blank calendar page. You can find one quickly with our Lol'd and savior, the Almighty Google. This let me start and plan ahead for topics, plus it was like a physical reciept my my writing efforts by the end of the month. Though I hadn't done it myself, I noticed several others come up with some nice planned weekly categories - ie a Book Review Monday, or Gaming Screenshot Saturday type of thing. By doing something like this, you'd be able to already narrow down four to five days of the type of content you'd be doing. Setting up some kind of virtual schedule also works, especially if you arrange a timer as a reminder. Soon enough hopefully your brain will be in sync with blogging, and it'll be an automatic process to produce daily content.
Scheduling was kind of a tough porkchop for me to chew. I had the time, but my schedule was so random, it wasn't always something I could adhere to. By forcing myself to at least attempt a physical means of brainstorming on a calendar, I often gave myself something to mentally look forward toward.
- Be social, and help out the man - Along with interacting among your other fellow bloggers, make sure you have both Twitter and Anook set up for yourself. Post out all your entries, along with a handy #Blaugust to spread the word and make it easy on the habitual Twitter audience. Also, it is very important to post over in the "Blog" section on the Blaugust Anook, for Belghast's sake to complete post tracking (this is what he will be using to log all posts for his spreadsheets). If need by, print out the bit of his announcement post and keep it right by the computer as a checklist to run though for each post (get the #day of Blaugust in post, finish 'er up, post it, Nook it, Twitter it, etc).
- A moment of whim - If you are one to try and fully brainstorm the whole month, or perhaps write up multiple drafts ahead of date, try leaving a couple days open on your schedule. This may lead to a chance for spontaneity in your writing. Maybe something just happened on the current day either in real or virtual life that interests you enough to elaborate. Just a splash of living in the "now" to put a timely impact on your words.
- Rationing may go a long way - I don't want to dictate how you go about blogging, but just a random tip that may help extend the longevity of your topics should you be short on ideas. Remember you don't need to be writing college essays every day. If you find yourself discussing two different topics in length for one post, consider splitting it into two days. This way you'll have two posts at hand, or about 6% of your total monthly quota, rather than just a single post at about 3%. Blaugust is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Stress out, creativity in - Yes, this challenge really pushes some people, and until we can legally sell Bottled Belghast worldwide, we don't all have the drive or ability to post daily for a whole month. Unless you are super motivated and have the chops to hit the magic 31, perhaps your goal shall be to aim toward the Survivor's circle, at 15 posts. Let's say this - try posting daily for a week or two in order to fully embrace the challenge. After that, adjust if necessary. This alone may be too much, so stick to a pace that best suits you. We have different frequencies, and Blaugust aims to tune into whatever rhythm makes your drum beat.
I was able to accomplish the 31-post feat last year because it was really just something crazy I wanted to do. From what I have seen from some posting on the Nook, you want to do the very same thing, and I commend you for giving it a go. Along the way, I may have worn out some guitar strings in my brain, so at times the *plink plink* seemed a bit off. This time I'd like to see if going at a 15-post pace more closely matches my wavelength. Of course, if 15 additional posts join the melody...well, that's just gravy on my trumpet.
Whatever your reasons may be to join Blaugust, I hope you can find the right mix of fun, challenge, and madness that may ensue this month. Happy Blaugust!
If you find that you need any help with anything or have questions, feel free to ask here, or catch me on Twitter @Zyngor. I suppose you could also try to reach me on the Nook (same name), but I'm not habitually hanging out over there.
And yes, you are all nuts for doing this. That is why the Internet loves you. <3