Why blog about roleplaying games? Seriously, why bother?
You certainly aren't going to make much--if any--money off it, the next Great American Novel (or Great American Mega-Dungeon) isn't likely to arise from it, and ego gratification is just plain silly considering the subject and audience.
So why do it?
Every other week these questions float through my head when I sit down in the two-hour period I have allotted in my life to this here blog. Before in life just about every publication I touched whether it was a punk rawk zine, college newspaper, online news service, or monthly magazine had some rather obvious over-arching reason for me doing it: up end the cultural/political apple cart; start a career; turn a buck; etc.
I have noticed that my own motivations for running a gaming blog have shifted in rapid zig zags over time in a way that I never have experienced before.
The Hill Cantons blog for most of it's life has been a sporadic, modest affair. I launched it way back in March of 2009 as a convenient tool for the 13 players in my West Marches-like drop-in/drop-out campaign (note that all of my posts from that time are house rules and session reports). Over time the blog evolved into the public face of my house rules tinkering, I would post here and there when an idea hit me sometimes with lapses months on end.
The motivations were rather simple and obvious: using a practical tool that added a little color and fun to my post-game session wrap-up. Gradually it also began to be a space was something like a public sounding board for my house rules. Then house rules bled over into tinkering with whole sub-systems like all those iterations of variant classes, character backstory and random equipment generators.
But then I guess something switched in my head last September.
Writing is not at all like riding a bike, at least for me—and it's mostly not about listening to a muse (though every once in a while she whispers sweet-nothings in my ear). It's a discipline, it's getting up and doing it over and over again until when you do it, it becomes second nature.
Unfortunately, when you stop doing it, it atrophies—sadly quicker than the process of building it up. Which is where I was at in my life after switching gears from the madhouse of the newsroom to the life of a professional political “plumber”. Last Fall, the blog became a means to regain that discipline.
Overall it was a helluva success, at least in terms of that goal. Not only did the daily posts start up, but they gained a momentum—and they kept opening up doors. One thread lead to another and the exploration has become obsessive—and dare I say fun.
It's the quest for granularity broadly speaking, a vector for more and more immersion with each layer. It's something that both drives me nuts for little apparent, material gain, yet is also immensely gratifying. And best of all as I have built it, you the readers have showed up day after day too, added your own thoughts, struggled with this and that idea, and made for some great gaming.
So here's to another six months of riding the tiger with all of you.
I get bored hearing my own voice and I find myself as curious as always about why you out there blog. I don't just wonder about why I do it, but I wonder why all of you do it. What's the demon that puts you in front of that computer everyday? What do you draw from this? Why keep on keeping on?