Gary’s thoughts on…Starting a new blog

Hi everyone

Welcome to Games and Grappling!

If you attended the Later Levels Autumn Gamers Blog Party post and read through the guest comments, you might have seen me mention that I was moving to a different blog. I’d made the decision to change over the previous weekend, after a lot of thinking and mulling over.

There were lots of reasons why I came to the decision to move. I always make a list when I have to make a big decision, to see if the pros outweigh the cons. The list in favour of the move was pretty decisive.

1 – I was never truly happy with the move to Art of Redress

The idea to change from Retro Redress to Art of Redress wasn’t a bad one, but the way I executed it was dreadful. I basically tried to ‘re-brand’ (I feel dirty just typing that) in a night and that wasn’t enough time to complete everything. Little things like the site logo and site emblem looked awful. The ones I used were meant to be placeholders and I ended up sticking with them for six months.

I also had a nightmare picking a theme and spent ages going through a list of very similar looking themes, only for my final choice to not allow me to use the logo I wanted. It was a long, painful evening of making changes to the site, topped off by me locking myself out of WordPress the next day…I have no idea how I got back in, I just remember hammering out many different variations of my password until WordPress finally gave up and let me in!

I also think that I overstretched myself with Art of Redress. One of my flaws is that, I get carried away with ideas. Trying to watch every film and wrestling show while playing every game in my personal backlog, topped with listening to a ton of music isn’t a terrible idea but you have to have realistic goals. I simply didn’t have the time to do that and as a result, I got frustrated and stopped enjoying blogging. To keep up, I’d started rushing posts and not editing my writing. I think that really impacted my writing negatively – little mistakes started creeping in and I wasn’t happy with the content. Truthfully, I felt I was just doing the bare minimum. I’ve vowed to change this as I don’t want to coast through something that I genuinely enjoy.

2 – I wanted my writing to be more personal

When I first started writing Retro Redress, I was terrified of the internet. Whether it was the idea of someone criticizing me or just the idea of the blog failing, it really worried me. So I didn’t really interact with people at first, preferring to keep my distance. I was recovering from a breakdown and just wanted to play games and have fun writing about them. The Retro Redress alias was really helpful in getting me started with blogging, as it was an identity I could hide behind and abandon if things went wrong.

However, as I slowly came out of my shell, I realised that the internet was actually a pretty cool place. As I started interacting with people more, I became more involved in Twitter and the WordPress community. However, I felt like I was holding back and not being myself. It’s difficult to get to know people when you are hiding behind an alias. I mean, at first it was cool being called Retro Redress – I felt a bit like Batman, with a secret identity and life away from work and family – but after a while, I just wanted to be myself. The change to Art of Redress confused people too…The Well-Red Mage called me Art once, which made me think of Art Vandelay from Seinfeld. I’m not sure I can pull that off, to be honest…

So, I made the decision that, going forward, I wanted to be myself. I wanted an adventure when I started blogging, but I want it to be my adventure.

3 – A change of format was needed

The problem with Art of Redress and Retro Redress is that I wasn’t getting to play the games I wanted to play when I wanted to play them. Due to the challenge nature of those sites, I would end up picking a game and having to stick with it until I felt like I was finished. This was fine at first, but with longer games I was starting to struggle. It’s natural for a gamer to mix up what they’re playing and I wasn’t able to do that due to the blog. Now I’m hoping that I can play what I want again and still play through all the games I wanted to try.

There is going to be a few changes with Games and Grappling, let me outline them;

  • Content – I’m just going to focus on video games and pro wrestling now. I don’t really watch films to be honest, hence the film backlog. I don’t really want to either…if you give me two free hours, I’d always rather play a game. I love music, but I love my taste in music…I’ve no desire to start listening to loads of different genres or bands that I really don’t like. I’d rather focus on writing about things I’m passionate about…video games and wrestling have been the biggest influences in my life. I’m going to write about the wrestling I watch (mainly WWE/New Japan ‘PPVs’) and the games I’m playing, plus my thoughts on random aspects of these two topics! I want to continue writing for The Well-Red Mage and GameTripper too, so expect to see a lot of content for those sites here. I’m planning on re-blogging the posts I’ve done for both sites again as I think it’s some of my best writing and I want that standard of writing to be carried over to Games and Grappling.

  • Design – I’ve realised that I’m not a website designer, nor do I want to be. From now on, I want to keep things simple and concentrate on my writing. I’ve decided to keep things as basic as possible. I’m dividing my posts into three categories initially – Gary plays (for video games), Gary watches (for any wrestling I watch) and Gary’s thoughts (for any random ramblings on either subject)

  • Schedule – In the past, I’ve been very disorganized with my posting and I can barely keep up myself, never ,mind anyone else.  I blame New Japan primarily as they hold shows on random days, though these WWE Supershows aren’t helping either! So I’m aiming for a Monday – Wednesday – Friday routine, with any wrestling shows jammed in between if necessary. Hopefully, I can post at least three times a week.

Anyway, thank you for reading my thoughts and for being patient with me. I do have a terrible habit of dropping things cold turkey when I can’t deal with them anymore and I didn’t want blogging to be one of those things. I’ve enjoyed my eighteen months or so as part of the WordPress Community and hope to be around a lot longer. I’m hoping that, now I’ve made a few necessary changes, I can get back into writing blog posts and reading all the excellent posts from my fellow bloggers.

Speaking of which, I wanted to ask one more favour…I’ve been out of the loop for a while too, so I’m sure I need to catch up on some reading. Plus, I can’t always type blog posts up at work (too many people wandering about distracts me!) so it’d be great to have some reading suggestions for my lunch breaks.

If people want to link their favourite piece of content from September in the comments that would be great! I need to read or write while I eat my lunch so all suggestions are much appreciated!

 

 

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Author: Gary Heneghan

I write about video games and wrestling at https://gamesandgrappling.game.blog/ and moonlight as the The Hopeful Sega Mage at https://thewellredmage.com/

20 thoughts on “Gary’s thoughts on…Starting a new blog”

  1. Good luck with the new site. If something’s not working, it’s not working and it’s better to move on and try something new rather than start resenting it. This is all supposed to be fun — even for those who are making a bit of money on the side through it all — and so the moment it starts feeling like an obligation or “work”, you need to think about how you can change things for the better.

    Looking forward to seeing your new pieces!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The backlog thing gets to everyone I think. I’ve started to see mine as something I can dip into if I want to, rather than a list of games that were a waste of money. But good on you for trying to turn this into something you enjoy again. I look forward to reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      You’ve summed it up perfectly there – a backlog should be something you dip into, not an obsession that takes over your life. It’s best to stick up sometimes, when there is a sale so you have something to play when you have no money!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome back! I’m a big proponent of changing your blog if you’re not happy with it, so I hope this new direction turns out to be a positive step for you. Monday/Wednesday/Friday has been a very effective schedule for me – it’s not too much to maintain while also feeling like I’m providing a good amount of content. I look forward to seeing your new stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      Yeah, I’ve seen how you’ve planned things out previously and how consistent you are at posting…that’s the example I need to follow! My problem in the past is that it’s been feast or famine and that approach just leads to burn-out!

      Like

    1. Thanks!

      My plan is to stick to what I know and focus on the quality of my writing, something I felt was slipping over the past few months. I’m definitely feeling positive about writing again, a change is as good as a rest!

      Like

  4. Good luck with the new site dude!

    It looks like you’ve got everything planned which is a good thing. When I started my site I kind of winged it and made it up as I went along. It wasn’t until December last year when I decided to come up with some form of structure and schedule.

    Video games and wrestling are great hobbies (two of my favourites as well) that I know you can write good stuff about. I find that the gaming and wrestling communities go well together and I think that this change might attract a new audience now you are just focusing on those two things.

    Again, I wish you the best of luck with the new site my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words!

      If I’ve learned anything aboyut blogging, it is that structure and scheduling are really important. I’ve been too haphazard in the past and it’s led me to burning g the candle at both ends which has a knock on effect on my everyday life. I can be more productive if I pace myself better, both on the blog and in life!

      Gaming and wrestling are my two hobbies so it makes sense to focus on them – I know very little outside of that! Hopefully, now I’m focusing on the two things I spend the most time watching I can get some decent writing under my belt and settle into a routine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Structure and schedule are very important for anything not just blogging. They are simple things but they help so much.

        I broke my schedule in August and I’m going try and get back into it this month.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I find August is a tough month. It’s the weather and the heat, I find it disturbs my sleep which knocks me out of routine. Not sure if it’s the same for you, but my focus really gets lost during those summer months.

        Like

    1. Thanks, always good to hear from another wrestling fan!

      Yeah, gonna watch the Super Showdown over the weekend. Living in England and with two kids to look after I won’t get to watch until Saturday night/Sunday. These shows are getting too long, so I need to break them up!

      Are you watching Super Showdown? I think it will be an OK show, better than the Saudi show anyway!

      Like

  5. Hey! 🙂 I definitely salute you for changing things up and starting over when you felt like what you were doing wasn’t working for you. I think we all get stuck in that rut sometimes! I’ve done some things in the past on my blog that were fun, but very time consuming (like taking tons of pictures while I was playing games and then giving a play by play of what I was playing). As a result, I didn’t enjoy the actual game as much! After awhile I ditched that idea and it took a lot of the pressure off me.

    Anyway, just write about whatever you want, and have fun with it! I can’t wait to read all of your posts! (Even if I am two months late reading them…. my backlog of blogging entries I need to read is getting as back as my gaming backlog, haha!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yeah, you’ve hit the nail on the head there – having game challenges was taking too long to write up and simply wasn’t fun. I’m still going to play games and ramble about them, but it’s going to be a lot more chilled.

      I know how you feel about the reading, there is so much good writing in the WordPress community it can be hard to keep up! I appreciate you taking time to read my stuff though, been a fan of Walk Away From The Sin since I read your 30 Day Games Challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s how I feel! I do want to have different types of blog posts that I do on a regular basis, but I”ve not been successful with in the past. I’m too flaky, haha! It’s better for me to just go with the flow right now and post when I can!

        Aww, thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my ramblings as well! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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