Today, I wanted to talk about my “writing goals” for 2023 – but the issue is that “writing goals” sounds as if I’m writing a novel or something… and I don’t want it to come across like that. I wonder if blogging-novels exists, though… Anyhow, today I wanna talk about things I wanna get better at as the year progresses!
Note: I like Bioshock Infinite and that’s why this is the header image of this post. There’s no reason beside that, really… It’s just because I like it.
Paragraph Length and Formating
Up until 2022, my paragraphs ended up being incredibly long. Frankly, I just wasn’t aware of how bad it was until someone pointed it out… and thus, I tried to improve the way I write paragraphs and break off big paragraphs into smaller ones to improve the experiences for everyone involved.
I only much later realised how bad this habit of mine was when I saw an old post that was… Oh boy.
Anyway, I’ve been getting much better at this. In the Editor, I type three lines at most… sometimes I go a little above but most of the time, I try to stay at a maximum of three lines – and then I sprinkle some one-line paragraphs or two-line paragraphs into it…
So, I essentially do my write-up and then later go through it and see where it makes sense to start a new paragraph. One thought, one paragraph.
This is still something that I haven’t mastered yet. I should probably ask for feedback on that in the near future and see where I’m at at the moment.
The other thing I wanna get better at is formatting… Particularly, I wanna use headings more often to break up the post further into distinct parts, possibly with taglines. I see that a lot with articles on other websites where they have a quote or some sort of extra line to begin a new aspect of their review or whatever… and they utilize headers for that and it bothers me but it probably is being done for a reason.
I’ll have to ask other bloggers why they’re doing it or what their thoughts are on headers.
And then, there’re other formatting choices… I wanna experiment a bit more this year and see what I can do with blocks and some of the advanced settings.
One. Topic. At. A. Time.
I’ve been pulling a Nietzsche quite often on the blog… by which I mean that I start with a topic, then talk about something else and eventually I find the answer to a question that nobody asked. Nietzsche does that. I don’t like Nietzsche.
And I wanna stop doing that. Instead of writing about three or four different topics in a post, I wanna split up those kinds of posts into their own individual posts.
The whole project on Toxicity stems from one incredibly bad post I did where I didn’t explain topics enough and where I had an overloaded post with quantity over quality.
Rather than that, going for one post with one very specific topic and another post with another very specific topic is probably healthier or better for my blog, especially with what I aim to do. Sharing my thoughts on one thing and then sharing my thoughts on another thing is probably good.
If I were to review a game and then I’d segway from that into another game and I like one of the two and I dislike the other and then I end with, “if you wanna check out the game for yourself, check out Steam” linking to yet another game…That’d be quite confusing, wouldn’t it?
So, less of that, hopefully, and I’ll do my best with splitting posts when I realise that I’m doing it again.
Write more about Games
As much as I enjoy rambling about non-gaming things, I would like to write more reviews, interviews and other posts that are gaming-related. That’s my audience after all.
It’s less about stats though and more about coherence. Stick to what this blog is “technically” about.
More than that, though, I would like to try out writing about Press Releases.
I get a lot of them every now and then and I didn’t really know what to do with them up until now… but then I realised what I was supposed to do and now I feel bad.
Similarly, more reviews would be pretty darn cool and I wanna try and find my style with them, so writing more about games is gonna help with that. Overall, it just amounts to writing more reviews, I guess.
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I think keeping blogs to one main idea is great in terms of sharing a well thought out opinion piece. It gives plenty of time and space to explore the topic too.
I’m with you that for blogging short paragraphs work better. It’s a more conversational format. I think computers kind of ruin attention span too so it’s best to write in a way that requires lower effort from the reader.
But I often think how some novels can be so readable despite the ‘wall of text’. It’s much harder to achieve that online. I wonder if it’s just the physical book that helps.
It’s nice to go into the year with a plan to improve your writing. I’d like to do the same. Have you considered very simple story boarding or mind maps before you put pen to paper? I found that a great technique for work articles etc.
Another idea is despite having a set of style goals maybe once every now and then it’s good to break all those rules and see what happens!
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Yeah, I believe that having a bit more of a streamlined range of topics is important, as you already mentioned. Since I want to write more opinion pieces and do more research for some of my posts, I believe that it would only be beneficial to focus more on a smaller range of topics. Technically, this blog is about indie games but in reality, it’s my personal blog where I write about whatever.
I’ll still write about whatever interests me… but when I wrote my piece on Qatar, I realised how much I enjoy writing opinion pieces with much research and stuff. So, hopefully I can do that this year as well with gaming related topics
And yes, the attention span is a problem. Depending on what screen you’re reading an article from, they vary, too. Three to four lines on desktop appear to be quite good (as a maximum) but I’ve been told that people’s eyes started to wander when I wrote my piece on Babylon’s Fall… and that was a bit of a wake-up call when people whose work I really enjoyed told me that they skimmed and skipped whole paragraphs of that post even though I put a lot of effort into it.
So, shorter paragraphs and “one thought per paragraph” instead of “one topic per paragraph” seem to be the way to go.
And yes, some people make “walls of text” work. I read a lot of opinion pieces that make it work but… to make it work, I’d have to understand the fundamentals of it. Once you know the fundamentals, you can break rules and find your own style. With digital art, it’s the same. Once I learned how shading worked, I was able to experiment more and find what works best for me.
I haven’t tried out storyboarding or mind maps, but I’ll try looking into that! What are your experiences with that/how do you go about it?
And yes, of course, it’s important to also take a step back and see if going against what you initially set out to do but I noticed that when I tried to do notes beforehand or when I tried to do long paragraphs, I’d struggle nowadays. Previously, I’d take notes, outlining my rough thoughts on a game but I found that that takes away from the momentum that I need to start a review (as an example) quite a bit. So, lately, I’m just starting to write and then I edit it later to foreshadow or signpost, etc. I wrote a few posts on that, too.
With paragraphs, I’ve tried longer paragraphs but they just don’t feel right or look great anymore, haha. So, that’s a good thing. :)