Thursday, January 27, 2011

The perennial problem - What the hell to write about

I got a little off-target from my new year’s resolution this month, mostly due to spending the early part of January filled with snot and despair. That’s probably one of the worst colds I’ve had, and the only thing I felt like at the time was a quick, merciful death. Much better now, barring a pulled muscle or something in my side/back that feels like a knife to the ribcage. But only a very small knife.



Of course, I’m raring to get back into writing something every day, if only for my blog if not actual (*gasp*) fiction. And of course, I can of bugger all to write about. I suspect that piece yesterday about childhood memories and snow is going to get posted whole to AC/yahoo as some kind of prose, partly because I suspect judicious use of keywords like ‘snow’ would be fairly popular right now, but mostly to see if ‘dogshit’ registers on any censorship radars over there.


That’s not exactly writing, though. Nor is this, this metawriting bullshit that I’m doing right now, writing about writing without actually writing about much of anything. It’s really just a fallback position for writer’s block. This month, and probably next month, that’s not something I really mind, though. I’m mostly getting into the habit of trying to write something every day. Quality over quantity will hopefully come later. Hell, I wouldn’t mind both at once.


It is difficult finding things to write about, mind. It’s a truism that you should write about what you know, but I don’t want to ramble on about my Childhood indefinitely, because that’s really something only I’m interested in, and presumably the idea of a blog is to write about stuff that a hypothetical, invisible (non-existant) audience might find interesting.


I have interests I like to write articles about, but to be honest, there’s a pretty limited audience for reviews of Roguelikes. Anyone sufficiently interesting in that type of game invariably knows about the ones knocking around in the first place. Anything more in depth is doomed before it starts. Suppose, for instance, I decided to write a strategy guide for Nethack. They already exist, it’s already been spoiled to death over the last 20 years, there’s strategy guides in abundance already, and it would probably be filled with inaccuracies brought on by having played the damned thing for way too long and building up a collection of bad habits and assumptions. Dog help you too, if there are any errors, or even any questionable suggestions about how to play. I’ve seen dissections of Maniac’s (rather decent) ascension guide that, if printed onto hardcopy, would make respectable phonebook replicas. And they get quite personal, too, in that oddly polite but wounding way you see from veterans of USENET when they decide to wade into a thread with their size 12 boots on.


So, nothing roguelikey, then. Except possibly a review of Crawl somewhere with some kind of twist to it. I seem to be well liked by the admins on the forum, and they seem keen on backlinking any mention of the game, which wouldn’t hurt traffic.


My interests otherwise are kinda limited. I can be outrageously British and pull a fair bit of attention that way, but there’s another 60 million or so of them out there, and quite a few already have the corner marketed. The Internet does not need another website about cats being amusing. ‘Eating pizza’ is, while popular, something that doesn’t really need much written about it.


I read the BBC news daily, not with a view to looking for ideas, but just to keep up on things and get a news source that isn’t too horribly corrupted by US politics and commercial interests. Whatever else you might say about the BBC, they’re reasonably unbiased, or as unbiased as a news center can get. I do tend to keep an eye out for things I could write about though. Again, there’s remarkably little jumping out at me. Nothing I wouldn’t just be repeating parrot-fashion from the original source. I can, in all honesty, see why AC like (and will pay more for) first-person accounts of events. There’s way too many sites around nowadays that do exactly that. I don’t even mean aggregators like Boingboing or Fark or so on, there are hundreds of cookie-cutter news site that just cut and paste stuff in its entirety. I suppose that’s true of most places online nowadays; for every Facebook or Twitter there’s scores of imitators trying to jump on the bandwagon. Total members of these sites: 3. And at least one of those is the developer’s mother. It seems particularly pronounced with any news or article feeds, however.


Anyhow, I think this is yet again enough rambling for one day. No real conclusions, no specific, clear-cut ending, no moral to the story.


Why, I could be writing about life itself.


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