Monday, September 27, 2010

Using Your Personality When You Blog AKA Strictly Stealing

Seems like I've settled into a nice chunk of writer's block.  Oh sure, I've got the amazing internet adventures to work o, but I'm just not feelin' it right now.  I'm also not feelin' making a light box and photographing some plaguebearers or even mailing my buddy his Silent Death minis back.  I guess its more of a general motivation problem now that I think about it.

But I'm not totally without ideas!

One thing that's been on my mind a bit is the question of what exactly Laubersheimer Industries is about.  The overwhelming response I got for my mini-rant on Slaanesh and some Brent related madness over on Blood of Kittens kind of got the ball rolling on that thought process.

I've always kind of conceptualized my tiny chunk of the web as a kind of 'thought lab' for my experiences with the gaming addiction hobby.  In the past, all the painting I do had been the biggest part of that.  Lately I've kinda been shifting over towards the game play and theory side of things.  While that's been fun in its own right, its not really what I'm all about.  As time has progressed, I've only marginally increased the number of actual games I play while my painting output has increased dramatically from what it was when I first started this blog.

Which brings me back to the Slaanesh rant.  As much fan as the gaming is and can be, I'm still a painter first. 
I've come to some conclusions.

1)  People tend to respond to you when you write what you know
2)  People tend to respond to you when you take a position on an issue
3)  I'm at my best when I'm writing about painting

Now, in a concentrated effort to make this post significantly more than mental masturbation, I want to talk about one aspect of blogging that most people omit when they give advice - even if they're aware of it.

Post frequency, niches, good grammar and hard work are fine and all - very important stuff, if I'm honest.  But none of that matters if your blog is only as interesting as dry toast.

The best way to be interesting is to inject at least a little bit of who you are as a whole person into your writing.  Its not simply enough to write about a hobby.  You have to write about yourself and your hobby.    You need to  inject some of that zest and verve that I know you have for the hobby into your writing as well.

Have an opinion, expose people to your terrible sense of humor and talk about your actual life.  These are the things that get people interested in what you're going on about.  No one gives a shit if you're just another anonymous guy painting models and its not just because you're not Mike McVey.  People really want to know about your motivations.  Its not until people get a sense of who you are and why you're doing what your doing that they'll connect with you and take the time to read your blog.  Essentially, you need to be not just an author, but a person.

When I was playing M:TG some years ago, I was an avid reader of all the stuff Star City Games had to offer. I had even paid the yearly fee for the premium content.  But as good as some of the big names were at theory, they were usually the least interesting.  I always came back Chris Romeo and Jamie Wakefield.  These were guys who didn't just play a game and then wrote dispassionately about their completely average experiences with it.  These were guys who had other things going on besides being mere gamers.  Romeo was the budget Magic guy and loved throwing in subject appropriate pictures of underwear models.  He was married and loved cartoons.  Wakefield lived in Spain and explored European culture.  He also had a wife who had died of cancer.  They both talked extensively about their lives as gamers, not just the games themselves (though they were a key component).

And that's what's actually fascinating.

Now I'm not gonna be such a downer that I'll say that there are people out there who are screwed in this regard (though I will suggest that it is harder for some people), but you need to do something beyond merely reporting what your doing.


  1. This is completely and totally doable, relatable and usable advice. I'm working on this. Thanks for the insight.

  2. I follow some 50+ blogs, but the ones I read most often are the ones where I like the author's personality and writing style. The content's important too, but I wanna be entertained as well as informed. I guess wargames blogging in kinda like gonzo journalism in that respect.

  3. Well spoken advice and something I think most of us could stand to make use of, myself included. I know in some of my articles I hold back a bit. It might be editing profane words into something else despite the fact they flowed out as swears, which would be a more accurate depiction of how I speak. It could be removing an opinion I felt might be too harsh, which again would be me. I suppose one could say that sometimes I edit out my personality.

  4. In a very real way, if I'm at all popular it's because I write me.

    (That's clumsy, but I'm avoiding anything which could be construed as ego!)

    Great article. In fact, it's sort of put my humble effort to shame!


  5. This is where it's at.

    Information, unfortunately, can be had anywhere from Dave Taylor to Chumby to well You. The reason anyone goes to one author versus another is personality...and you have it in spades.

  6. Nice article- definitely gives me something to think about.

  7. thanks everyone!

    Just remember, that you don't have to include EVERY thing about yourself and it certainly doesn't have to be the most personal of the personal stuff either, just as much as your comfortable with and enough to give people something to connect with.

  8. Alex is right to make the gonzo connection. Writing from the hip, accepting that no amount of striving for the Facts is going to achieve you any kind of objectivity and being prepared to fly into venemous, vivacious textual Life at the drop of an ergonomic keyboard seem to be a big part of this blogging business.

    Personalities help, too. If you and Chumby are to be believed, GAME OVER's chief attraction is the Britishness of its author. :p

  9. My favorite blogs tend to be the ones that provide a sense of who the author actually is away from the computer. I'm much more interested in what someone has to say if I know something about the person writing.