Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Some Inside Information and a Toast

Time flees and we’re putting another year in the history of The Pink Pigtail Inn to the records. I can’t quite understand how it happened, but today I’m apparently celebrating two years as a WoW blogger.

Over time I’ve come to write several hundred posts and if you printed them all it would be enough to fill a book volume, if not two. How is it possible to have that much to say about one single video game? After all there isn’t much of what you could consider substance in those writings. There’s no theorycrafting, no strategies, no overviews of how to play a mage the best way or maximise your gold income. It’s just the ponderings from a pigtailed gnome the banter among the guests relaxing in front of the fireplace.

Still - apparently there are some people around who like this kind of blogging. When I started this place – originally in Swedish, back in February 2008 – I had less than a handful of readers. It was basically just a couple of guildies and friends who kindly had a look at it every now and then so I wouldn't feel quite as lonely. One year forward, in February 2009, the readership of PPI had grown to 200 subscribers. I was humbled and amazed and I never thought it was possible for the inn to grow much more than that, but today I’m counting over 1300.

This is of course nice, but still not overly important. The PPI is written out of the pure joy of writing. I don’t have any ads, I don’t have any costs for hosting that I need to cover and I don’t have any urge to spread any gnomish ideas over the world. As long as there is someone listening and responding to my ramblings – be it 13 or 1300 – I’m perfectly happy.

So you could ask why I even bother to mention the numbers. Well, I do it in the hope that it might somehow inspire and encourage the new upcoming bloggers out there. Don't dispair when you have 10 daily visitors and zero comments! Don't dispair even if this doesn't change within a month or two. Trust me, every single blogger out there, no matter how established he or she is, has started from scratch, tossing posts out into a big dark void, met by a compact silence. Just keep doing what you're doing, trust your own voice, blog your heart out and the readers will come. Eventually. If a middle-aged woman with no previous experience in gaming or blogging whatsoever can do it you can too.

Some inside information
Before I’ll ask you to join me in a toast I thought I should grab this moment to answer a blogging questionnaire that Keredria put together almost two months ago. I know I’m a bit late for this meme, but I thought the anniversary would be a suitable occasion for completing it.

So here you are – some inside information about how the Pink Pigtail Inn is run.

1. How long have you been blogging? What made you start? Who inspired you?

I’ve been blogging for two years. As most other bloggers I was inspired by reading another WoW blogger, a Swedish blog called Consentire (which now is dead, as so many other blogs). I think one of the reasons I started was that I was curious about the blogging media and I thought that starting to blog myself was a good way to get to know more about it. Once upon a time I used to make amateur fanzines (here’s the story about this), but for many years I had only written professionally, which is a different thing. Through the blogging I found a way to get back to writing out of lust and pleasure, rather than for a living.

2. About how many hours a week would you estimate you spend on your blog?

Ouch. I don’t really want to think about that. Don't ask! A post probably takes at least an hour to write and I normally have three or four posts a week. And apart from that there’s all the managing and replies to the comments, and reading other blogs to keep up with the community. I can only say: waaaayyyy too many.

3. What kind of experience or background do you have with writing?

I’m a trained journalist and used to write for local newspapers. For many years I’ve been working in the information/marketing/PR area, currently I’m focusing on media relations. So writing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. However writing in English is new to me. Apart from taking a university course many years ago, I hadn’t been into this at all, until I decided to convert PPI to English.

4. Talk about how you come up with blog topics. Where do you get your ideas? What or who inspires you? Where and/or how do your brainstorming?

I get a lot of my inspiration from reading other blogs. Blogging without the interaction and communication with other bloggers is quite unthinkable to me. Without the network and all those ideas bouncing around I wouldn’t have half as much to write about. Many of my posts are one way or another commenting on current topics. Some posts are more of diary notes, inspired by what I’m currently up to in game. I often pick up things I see in the guild chat or conversations I’ve had on vent. There can be just a statement that somehow will trigger my thoughts. The wheels start spinning and eventually it will end up in a blog post.

5. Do you have any blogging rules or guidelines you follow? Is there anything you will not blog about?

Very early in my blogging, in April 2008, I wrote a post about my ethical guildelines and what I wrote at that time is still valid. I basically don’t write about things that might put my guild in a negative light. You know, guild drama, incidents, those things that are normal in any guild.

I’ve never ever made a secret about my blogging to any guild I’ve been a part of. I let them know what I'm doing, in case anyone's interested, and I also make sure never to write anything in the blog that I wouldn’t be able to tell people straight away. I know there are a few bloggers out there who have made other decisions, since they feel more free and comfortable when they openly can vent about the latest actions of their stupid GM or their ongoing guild drama, but I’ve chosen otherwise. I enjoy the freedom of honesty and openness towards my guild. And it rarely happens, if ever, that this feels like a restriction, that I remain silent about things that I would have blogged about if it wasn’t for my own guidelines.

The other rules I follow are pretty basic, what any other decent blogger would do. You know: don’t steal ideas, but it's ok to quote and link as long as you give proper credit. And of course I don’t have any gold selling ads, or any other ads either for that sake.

6. Do you have any sort of a publishing schedule in terms of day of week or topic? Where do you do your writing?

Since most blog readers seem to read the posts in the weeks, I normally don't publish during the weekends. There isn’t much point in doing it. For a long time I've been averaging about four posts a week, but I'm probably cutting down a bit on it this year. It’s great fun to blog, but it takes a ton of time and I have other obligations in my real life that are calling for my attention.

My writing is done in different places. Sometimes I manage to toss down a post at work, during my lunch break. But often I write my posts at home after work, late after a raiding night or during the weekend.

7. How many drafts of potential blog posts do you have right now? In what medium do you draft your posts? How often do you completely scratch or delete drafts or blog post ideas?

The flow of drafts and posts vary. Sometimes I've had posts prepared for a week in advance, but currently I don’t have anything in pipeline more than some vague ideas in my backhead. I don’t normally delete blog posts. Once I’ve started working on something I finish it. I normally write in Word and copy-paste from there. The Blogger editor is very basic and not suitable for writing or editing. For instance it has no spelling check, which is essential for me as I'm not native English speaking. I make a lot of mistakes of course, but the word editor at least prevents a few of them.

8. If you had to leave your blog in your will to another blogger, who would you choose? To ask this in a slightly less morbid way, are there other blogs that you feel are similar to yours in content, style, or voice?

A good candidate would probably be Tessy from Reflections from the Pound, who also is a guildie of mine since last autumn. We resemble each other a lot – she’s almost as old as I am, from Sweden and has children in the same age. And I think there’s something in the tone of our blogs that connects us. In the hands of Tessy, the blog would probably keep much of its atmosphere. However the question is rather hypothetical. In reality if I stopped blogging, the inn would close, not being passed on to someone else.

9. Has anything surprised you since you started blogging?

I could never have imagined that I would keep going for such a long time. And I also find the bonds in the community rather amazing. Being a part of the WoW blogosphere is like having an extra guild. We - the bloggers as well as the readers and commentors - have never met each other otherwise than through our writings, and yet some of you feel like old friends. At least a few of us leave out ourselves quite a lot, which creates a special kind of intimiacy. If we met each other one day we would probably fall into each others arms and it would feel completely natural.

10. What are your goals or plans for your blog going forward? Any specific goals or plans for your blog in 2010?

No, there are no plans at all for the PPI. I will keep writing and running this place as long as it’s fun and I have something to say. And if the words fail me I'll stop.

I have no idea if the blog will be around next year or not. Time will show. I’m pretty sure that if I ever stop playing WoW, I will also shut down this blog, since it’s so intimately connected to the game. It wouldn’t surprise me though if I started another blog. Blogging has really gotten back my lust for writing for lust as opposed to writing for money or fame.

The final toast
And that was the end of this questionnaire. One thing remains – to grab our pints to join a collective toast for the inn and people who use to hang around here.

Thank you all for the good discussions we’ve had here the last two years, for the support you give me day after day, for your love and friendship.

I've said it before and I say it again: You make this happen!

Cheers!

28 comments:

Svenn said...

"Well, I do it in the hope that it might somehow inspire and encourage the new upcoming bloggers out there. Don't dispair when you have 10 daily visitors and zero comments! Don't dispair even if this doesn't change within a month or two... Just keep doing what you're doing, trust your own voice, blog your heart out and the readers will come."

Thanks Larisa, just the encouragement I needed. I have been reading your blog for a long time, though I rarely comment- and have been writing one of my own since June. It doesn't see much traffic but I enjoy it, and you reminded me thats why I do it, not for the numbers :)
I hope the inn doesn't close anytime soon.

Fitz said...

Indeed Svenn. I am also in the ten-twenty reader range, but the handful of comments you start getting are a blast. Speaking up more here and other comment boards will get you some click throughs as well.

It was interesting hearing more history behind the Inn. Cheers to another year!

Miss Medicina said...

I can remember when I had three people who regularly read my blog. It went on like that for about 6 months. It was definitely a labor of love, and I remember the days of wishing and hoping someone would just leave me one comment.

For a lot of us who blog, even those who don't respond to each individual comment, the comments are some of our bread and butter. I fell in love with PPI, and when I started blogging, I wanted to be just like Larisa - happy and philosophical, thoughtful and heavy with words.

You have inspired so many of us Larisa... and in turn you have helped a lot of us even more. When I went to my friend's first blog post today and saw that you commented, it really warmed my heart - I know she's a fan of your blog as well, and I couldn't have asked for a better greeting for her than to have you leave her words of encouragement.

I've always loved that about you: No matter how big or small or new or old, you are always encouraging all of us who like to write about this topic, even if we write walls of text.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being so welcoming to all new bloggers, and for always having a warm spot for us in your inn.

spinksville said...

Happy blog birthday! And many more to come ;)

Brian Inman said...

Congratulations.

I just recently found your blog a few weeks ago from recommendations from google reader from the feeds I already subscribe too.

It was is great to know a little bit more about you in the meme. Those are always so much better than our blogger profiles.

Gevlon said...

I remember when it all started. It really was a small, warm place. And somehow you managed to keep the "small warm in" atmosphere, despite you now serve a McDonalds chain size customer base.

Great job!

tankforlife said...

/cheer
Here's one to the two years of the Inn, to great posts and to the hope that twice as many are yet to come.
Your BLog is not only fun and good reads, it's an inspiration.

Tam said...

Happy Blog Birthday Larisa! I don't know what I'd do without a regular pint from the Pink Pigtail Inn!

*toasts*

We Fly Spitfires said...

Big grats and happy blogging birthday, Larisa! :)

Although I don't comment too frequently, I just want to take the opportunity to say I'm a huge fan of your blog since I discovered it last year and I love what you write and the way you write it! Please don't ever stop! :) /hug

Shintar said...

Happy blogiversary! Thanks for continually providing us with well-written food for thought and spreading encouragement and friendliness all over the blogosphere.

Tessy said...

Happy Blog Birthday!

I'm glad and honored you thought of me as a possible caretaker of your inn, but you are absolutely right, this blog is yours and it would never ever be the same here without you :-)

So here's to many many more great fun interesting thought-provoking posts! *raises glass*

Keredria said...

Grats on two years!

And the dork in me loves reading how other bloggers blog. :)

krizzlybear said...

huge congratulations. i eagerly look forward to my 2 years myself. glad to have been part of that second/third wave of wow bloggers after BRK/Phaelia's generation. Makes you wonder where all that time went, eh?

/cheers

Klepsacovic said...

Yay, grats on another year of making blog-reading more fun!

Khaelie said...

Cheers to you!!

Larísa said...

@Svenn & Fitz: Thank you! I think your blogs are coming on very fine and I’m certain their readership will grow if you just keep blogging.

@Miss Medicina: Wow… you wanted to be like me?
/blush
Thank you for all kind words.

And yeah, I ESPECIALLY encourage walls of text! Blogposts that end just as I started to get interested in the topic leaves me unfulfilled.

I think there are a lot of unjustified prejudices against text walls.

@Gevlon: I really don’t think much about the McDonald size. I always picture the readers as one, too or at the most three people warming themselves by the fire, just like me. Your presence in the inn gives it a feeling of continuity. I’m glad you keep coming here, encouraging me and sparking some discussions, in spite of our differences.

@We Fly Spitfires: Haha, there will definitely come a day when I stop. But there will be plenty of other bloggers who will keep up the discussion! (and you’re one of them ofc!) /hug

@Tessy: the very thought of someone ”taking over” your blog is pretty weird to me tbh. I never understood the idea of that pala blog… Paladin Schmaladin or whatever it was called, with writers inheriting the blog from each other. If I was new to blogging I’d rather have my own place where I could set the standard and atmosphere the wy I wanted.

@Keredria: Thank you! Yeah… I like to read about it too. I’m so curios. It’s probably not interesting to the non-blogging audience, but sometimes bloggers just like burrow ourselves into those rather introvert matters.

@Krizzlybear: It went so quickly indeed. I never quite thought about the blogosphere in waves, but you’re right. So you, Gnome and me, we’re all part of the same wave, aren’t we?

@Spinksville, Brian Inman, Tank for life, Tam, Shinter, Klepsacovic & Khaelie: Thank you all! And cheers!

lonomonkey said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I've been a long time reader here even if I don't comment often. I've started my blog last fall and I'm hovering at about 40-50 visits a day for a while now. Was kinda wondering if that's normal but I guess it is :)

Thanks again.

Larísa said...

@Lonomonkey: regular posting is very important. Your comment reminded me to check out your blog and I remember that I noticed you way back and thought that I should keep an eye on it. Then you stopped posting and I forgot about it. Now I looked at it again and remembered that I liked it. So welcome to my blog roll. And keep posting regularly! It's really vital, especially when you're new on the scene.

Anonymous said...

Larisa, Cantique here. I just began reading your blog about 3 weeks ago, and decided to try my own hand at it. Your relaxed style and your personal data encouraged me. I am Cantique from Earthen Ring, and am 56 year old woman. (great-grandmother no less! LOL) I have been playing WOW since 2006 and am just now finding how enjoyable reading blogs are. I really didn't know about them. I wish to congratulate your anniversary and to say thank you. You are telented and committed.

River said...

Congo Rats!!!

Larissa is a big influence on me. When i start writing blogs i wanted to be just like her... A short girl with pink hair...

Wait Wha? No I meant...well ok Nevermind.

Fear said...

Haapy Blog Day...

Yea, don't get discouraged... I haven't had a comment in 10 years and I am okay with that. lol

lonomonkey said...

Thanks a lot for the comment and the linkage Larìsa. I take your comment to heart and will try to be a more regular poster. I know I suck at posting on weekends or during holidays so I need to work on that.

Gronthe said...

Congratulations, Larisa, on this your anniversary. I do enjoy your blog, mainly because it seems so...comfortable.

And thanks for your comment, wow it made my day!

Sigrdrífa said...

Happy blogday! Your ability in English puts mine to shame. You should hear my Swedish - even worse. :)

Carra said...

I'll just note that you can add spell checking in Blogger.

You just need to use Firefox (and everybody really should use it). Then you can just right click on this little box and choose your language, Dutch or English(US) in my case.

gnomeaggedon said...

2 years you say...

WoW... I am honored to have been reading you most of that time...

How I wish I had more time, like I used to to paw over your posts...

You have been one of my greatest supporters and are still definitely my favorite Gnome!

Hatch said...

Happy Blogoversary, Larisa!

Larísa said...

@Cantique: thank you! You should include your blog in your blogger identity so I could check it out.

@River: You know you want. Deep inside. Let out your inner gnome girl!

@Fear: Ouch, 10 years... I feel sorry - and impressed. You must really have a burning blogging heart.

@Gronthe: thanks! Looking forward to follow your blog. It seems promising.

@Sigrdrifa: thanks

@Carra: hm... I suck. Using IE. Well, one day maybe...

@Gnomeaggedon: and I'm honored to have had you as a guest almost all the time I've been blogging. But you know that. There's a special gnomish bonds between us, stretching from one side of the globe to the other.

@Hatch: thanks!