After Matt from Normal Happenings tagged Later Levels in a Daily Inkling recently, it felt time to write about my return to blogging. Until recently it was almost three years since writing my last post for a blog, now long forgotten, which could be described as the prequel to this site.
The beginning of my long trip began with the inception of ideas that became Later Levels but for reasons now unclear, at least in my mind, I took the non-blogging direction. Somehow I was comfortable with this outcome and slipped into what I would call the ‘normal gamer’ life, being content with merely playing games and not taking much more from the experience.
Before this long trip I’d every gaming event possible, had exposure to developers, participated in discussions with a vast community on WordPress, had opportunities to develop my photography and video-editing skills, and was part of a fantastic group of friends with a shared passion for video games. I honestly couldn’t give one single reason why I chose to forego that part of my life, and it was at the beginning of 2019 when I was gripped by feelings of depression and the desire to wake up from my ‘normal gamer’ coma.
There was something in my life that was key to the mental wellbeing that I had managed to avoid during my long trip, but there’s no place like home. Being honest with myself and those I care about and have been close to was the most important step. It doesn’t automatically change everything for the better, but it does add purpose to your existence – a goal perhaps, something you can focus on.
The saying ‘it gets worse before it gets better’ had a lot of meaning to me at this point as I began to see how much I had missed during my time away now that my focus was on returning to blogging. Having continued playing video games, seeing new trends arrive, forming opinions on controversies and finding new gaming addictions, it was tough not having a place to share my thoughts and discuss them with like-minded gamers.
I think there became a boiling point at which I could hold back the tide no longer and asked Kim if I could make a post or two, which was completely out-of-the-blue and unexpected. Still, if you never take any risks you’ll never get anywhere in life, and she was very kind to let me post the article Live service games: ‘But it’s good now!’, a topic burning away in my mind for months since the release and of Fallout 76 and its controversies last year. It was just what I needed!
The post was well-received judging by the comments, and I’m so grateful to everyone for reading and commenting, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It represents the power of the amazing WordPress community, and I don’t know where else there is on the entire web to have such a positive experience.
Not long after this post I was lucky enough to meet TriformTrinity in person when we sat and discussed all areas of gaming and pop culture. It was incredible to see how much knowledge one person can recall so quickly and it felt like we had all known each other for years. It’s these encounters with fellow gamers and developers I had missed so much from blogging life. Writing just isn’t possible without meeting people and having these experiences, otherwise, you’re stuck in an own echo chamber which loosens your grip on reality and is hard to break out of.
Something I’ve always struggled with in blogging is output – the speed of writing posts, to be specific. Compared to content creation on a site like YouTube, writing gives you time to craft something that captures your thoughts precisely by focusing solely on the written words, compared to the various factors that go into creating a video. In the time it takes to edit a sequence of clips into something engaging and understandable, you can write several posts which much more meaning and to a high standard.
I feel that ten minutes of video doesn’t convey ideas or thoughts anywhere near as quickly as reading an article in the same length of time. Have you ever read a book and then followed up with the film adaptation and wondered why so much character development and plot mechanics were stripped away? I’ve just finished reading Stephen King’s Pet Sematary for the first time and then watched the 1989 adaptation. While the film was enjoyable, they cut most of the internal monologue of the main character, Louis, that added weight to his actions and made the ending so jarring.
While my writing doesn’t flow easily from mind to paper, I do thoroughly enjoy it and will happily spend hours re-writing and checking everything until everything is perfect. However, this is being tested throughout August with the Blaugust 2019 challenge. It’s a step outside of my blogging comfort zone, with not only coming up with topics to write about, but to get them written in a reasonable amount of time and not screw up the schedule. So far I feel it’s going quite well and the challenge will increase later in the month as I’m heading to gamescom in Cologne, Germany where I’ll be writing a post for each day of the event. Look out for these in the final week of August!
To summarise the return to blogging from my long hiatus: it started with a complete downturn in my mental wellbeing and a desire to return to the community. It was essential to seize all and any opportunity to heal by reaching out to others for help and committing to taking the appropriate steps without relapse. Life isn’t perfect, and you must learn to accept the reality of any situation and put the responsibility on yourself to resolve it in the best way you can. Not only is time a healer but it also allows everything to slot back into place one piece at a time, and to learn from mistakes.
So, here’s to a much stronger blogging career and thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement. Keep those tweets and comments coming!