Category Archives: Blogging

Saying No and Not Working for Free

Ever since I started making YouTube videos I’ve been running into something I rarely encountered when I was just a blogger. People I don’t know are asking things of me. I get requests to collaborate on videos, to join networks, to post my videos on other people’s websites. It can get a bit overwhelming. I have a hard time responding to these requests. On the one hand many of the people asking seem sincere and enthusiastic about what they do, and I don’t want to be a jerk. On the other hand, a question that has to be asked is – What do I get out of this?

It’s very common in hobby-based content creation for outlets to only be able to “pay” you with exposure. Now, I certainly don’t write or make videos for money – based on the current balance in my AdSense account I should be set to receive my first ever cheque from Google sometime next year. After 6 years of writing here and 1 year of video making. I do it because I enjoy it, I answer only to myself, it lets me talk to people with similar interests, and because I like attention and people knowing my thoughts on things. However as soon as a third party comes in asking to use my work in some way, things change. If I’m asked to share my content elsewhere, do extra work, maybe commit to some schedule, then it turns into work. And honey, I don’t work for free.

What kind of collaborations and such I find reasonable will depend on what kind of effort is required from me, and what I get in return. As of now, the only request I’ve said yes to came from the folks at 1 More Castle (which has, sadly, shut down now). One of the site founders contacted me to see if I was interested in posting my videos on the site. I was really new to making videos and honestly I was just pumped that someone noticed me. So, after some back and forth on the details, I said yes. Luckily, I had only positive experiences with posting there. The requirements from me were minimal – I just made a post in WP to embed my video whenever I had a new one ready (along with some tags and a thumbnail and stuff) and let an editor know it was good to go. My videos stayed on my own channel and there was no schedule or rules to follow. I got a few more hits to my videos, the website readers hopefully had some new interesting content to peruse, and I made a bunch of nice new internet friends.

Currently I post my retro videos as user submissions on another retro gaming site. No one contacted me about this, I just thought it would give my channel more traffic. Again, the videos stay on my channel, I just email in a link and description for them whenever I make them. I get some views from this, but have not really felt any sense of community building. Low effort, low return.

When it comes to sites or people asking for original content with no compensation I have to ask – why would I do that? My bf let me know today that a gaming site was looking for staff writers to do a weekly column. It could be a good source of exposure so I checked out the posting and the application for it. Then I got to the fine print at the bottom, which quietly explained that they could offer no monetary compensation. Sigh. Exposure isn’t pay, and writers shouldn’t be asked to work for free.

Professional writers, especially in the video games industry have a hard time making a living wage. I’m not a professional writer. I’ve never made a pitch, I’ve never worked with an editor. I’ve been paid to write something a grand total of 1 time. However, because I think that writing and journalism should be careers that are viable for talented people, I’d never write for free for any site that collects revenue. The more people that create content for free, the more people think that this is the way it should be. That people don’t need to be compensated for their work. Why pay a writer when some schmuck with no business sense will do it for free?

I’ve sort of veered off topic (see? no editor). At least I resisted the urge to go into a tangent about game companies using fans as free Alpha/Beta testers. Oh wait, I guess I didn’t resist. Coming back around to the original topic… if you’re a content creator, how do you respond to requests for collaboration or for you to share your work elsewhere? My current tactic is to ignore anything I’m not really interested in, which is not the most mature response. I don’t want to be a jerk to people who are interested in my content but at the same time, there has to be something in it for me and I want to be sure I’m getting at least as much out of it as I put into it.

Blaugust Complete

This is day 31 of Blaugust.

Well, I did it. 31 posts in 31 days. It was easier than I thought it would be, except for one point in week 4 when I never wanted to look at another blog again.

Let’s look at the positives fist. I learned that I can put out content much more frequently than I usually do. Of the 31 posts, there are only 5 that I really consider filler that I never would have posted if not for Blaugust. That’s not too shabby. This was a really good writing exercise. Another positive is that I found more blogs to read and tried to comment more often than usual. I also got more comments than usual here (at least at the beginning of the month).

Most of the negatives of Blaugust have to do with oversaturation. After a while, the challenge was not only putting out my own posts out but also reading other people’s posts. A post a day on 50-100 blogs is a lot of reading especially since I don’t tend to read on weekends, so they pile up. I read and commented less as the month went on, and I in turn received less comments. My post links on Twitter barely got shared at all, likely because there were so many of them. Likewise, I did very little retweeting myself.

Traffic-wise, this month I received less views than 10 of the 12 previous months. So posting daily didn’t really drive traffic. My post viewed post was Breaking News, Women Play Video Games, while a number of my posts got only a handful of views (especially the ones where I just embedded a video). There were a couple posts I really liked that didn’t get much attention, I’m sure at least partially because they got buried under everything else.

Overall, Blaugust was an interesting exercise and I’m glad I did it. I won’t be making an effort to continue to post this much though.

I’d ask you how Blaugust was for you but I’m sure everyone is writing this post today.


This is day 18 of Blaugust.

This post is based on a writing prompt from Void.

If you were to create content for a different medium what would you choose? Videos, Streaming, Podcast, Something Else? What about that medium appeals to you as a content creator?


I really want to do a podcast. I’ve guested on a number of podcasts over the past few years and always really enjoyed it. A had a very, very brief stint as a regular co-host (if you can call 2 episodes regular) which I really enjoyed as well. I like writing here and I’ve really been getting into videos lately, but they’re both very solitary mediums. There are comments which I love getting and responding to, but it’s still not really a conversation – the content is created solely by me. I really crave the opportunity to sit down and talk and collaborate with people about video games on a regular basis. I think a podcast would be the best way to do that.

What stopping me? Hmm. Indecision. Fear of commitment. I don’t know what kind of podcast I want to have. Do I want to do the usual – what’s the news? What are you playing? One of my favourite podcasts I’ve been on was my first appearance on Justice Points where we did a deep dive on the latest Tomb Raider game. A podcast where I get to spend an hour or so really dissecting a single game per episode really appeals to me.

Who do I want to do the podcast with? Ask one person to co-host? Two co-hosts? A rotating selection of co-hosts? How would we split responsibilities and control of the podcast? I don’t really want to be in another situation where my (I use that term very loosely) podcast ceases to be and I don’t have a say. So I want control, but I also want people to bounce ideas off and collaborate with.

While I sit here wallowing in indecision, here are some great podcasts I listen to regularly and recommend:

Cat Context

Justice Points

Match 3

Spawn on Me

The Heroine’s Journey

The Smartest Man in the World


This is my 11th post for Blaugust.

I’ve been having a bit of a blogging identity crisis of late. Actually, it’s been going on for a while. There used to be a clear reason people came to my blog – I had a niche. I was a WoW player. I wrote about resto Druids, and sometimes hunters. I wrote guides on how to heal, tips for boss fights, the odd bit of theorycrafting, or gear advice. I got a fair amount of traffic to these kinds of posts, from search engines, regular readers and people linking to them from forums and such. My Warcraft Logs guide (which is actually up to date) and Resto Druid guide (from way back in MoP) are still, kinda sadly, two of my most popular posts each day.

It’s been a year since I’ve played WoW so, obviously, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it any more. Even in my last year playing Warcraft, I was pretty burnt out and posted sporadically. Over the last few years, my blog traffic has gone down…down…down. I’m a bit of a stats nerd and this graph is pretty depressing:

Cannot be Tamed yearly stats

It’s not so much that my views are low (they’re actually not bad), but the fact that they’ve been steadily dropping for the last 3 years, and dropping by a lot. I know, it’s not about traffic. It’s certainly not about money, as my one google ad I’ve hidden at the bottom of the page so as not to be obnoxious has earned about me about 5 (unpaid) dollars in the years it’s been there. Write for yourself, blah, blah, blah. But honestly, I like knowing that people are reading what I write. I appreciate the people who are regulars and friends, who stick around and comment more than those who come from search engines, but still, I feel like I peaked in 2012 and it’s disconcerting.

When I bring up the topic of falling blog traffic, people usually offer me two reasons for it. First, that blogging as a whole is becoming less popular. I’m not sure I believe that, and I really have no frame of reference other than my own blog. Second, I no longer have a niche. People don’t know what they’re going to get when they come to my blog. Sometimes I write game reviews – could be on a 4 year old indie game, could be on the latest Call of Duty. Sometimes I write about feminism, or what I’m playing, or The X-Files. I write about whatever’s on my mind rather than try to stick to a certain topic. The thing is, I like it that way. Just like with my videos – though my retro reviews are by far the most popular, I also want to talk about new games. Now that I’m not confining myself to WoW, I don’t want to confine myself to anything.

So… I guess I’m really just whining that my traffic has gone down, because I don’t really plan to change anything.

What do you think? Does a blog need a niche to be “successful”? Do you like when blogs stick to one topic rather than act as a stream of consciousness?

Hey, I have a food blog

I’m still playing catch up from my missed post yesterday. I didn’t really have any ideas for another post here today, so I cheated a bit (is it cheating?) and posted something on my neglected food blog instead!

If you like nice pictures of great food, then go on over to Damn Good Food and take a gander.

DaiLo beed carpaccio

This is my 8th post for Blaugust.

The Game I’m Most Excited For

This is my 7th post for Blaugust.

Oh dear, I’m only at the end of week 1 and I’m falling behind. I meant to post something yesterday, really I did. But I got caught up playing Witcher 3 for a few hours – I found Ciri, I must be getting close to the end, yes? Then I had some late night testing to do for work which went until well after 2am. So when I woke up this morning (can you call noon the morning?) I had no post for Friday.

Being in a bit of a rush, I’m going to go with one of the writing prompts. Void asks: What is your most anticipated game that will release in the next year, and why?

Rise of the Tomb Raider

I’m going to have to go with Rise of the Tomb Raider. 2013’s Tomb Raider was one of the most fun games I’ve played. It wasn’t a game I liked for its deep and meaningful story but the gameplay, combined with some excellent visuals and set pieces, was so exhilarating. There was a particular sequence where Lara had to climb up this immensely tall tower and I felt like I myself was on top of the world. Super smooth controls made everything feel very natural and intuitive, and I just had a great time running around raiding tombs and shooting my bow. As long as Rise of the Tomb Raider offers more great gameplay, I’ll be happy.

I’m also looking forward to Fallout 4, which comes out on the same day, but I think I’ll be tackling RotTR first. I’m more excited for it and the fact that it’ll likely take me a fraction of the time that Fallout will is also a big draw.

Gaming To-Do List

This is my 4th post for Blaugust.

Izlain came up with the writing prompt to create a gaming to-do list. I’m a big fan of lists, I’m making them all the time, so this seemed like a good blog topic to take on. In no particular order, here are the gaming things I want to get done.

  1. Post at least 1 video a week. I’ve actually been fairly consistent with videos, and have certainly posted an average of at least 1/week, but I occasionally miss a number of days and then catch up by posting 3 in a week. Further to this, I want to make sure I’m posting a retro review at least once every 2 weeks.
  2. Get back to my “Doing it Right” series. Games are full of not so great representations of women and a lack of racial and sexual diversity, but rather than always dwelling on the bad, I like to point out the good examples too. The problem is, they’re not always easy to find. I’ve got a video about XCOM floating around in my head, but need more. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
  3. Play some PC games. Between retro games and Witcher 3, PC games have sort of fallen off my radar (other than HotS). After the last summer sale my number of unplayed Steam games has been creeping up to an uncomfortable number. Yesterday I started Dead State, which unfortunately didn’t impress me much, but I’d like to finish at least 1 PC game this month and take a look at a few more.
  4. Finish The Witcher 3. One day.
  5. Get to rank 18 in HotS. Why 18? I dunno, seems like a good number and a realistic goal. For far rank 20 is the best I’ve done.
  6. Find an assassin hero I like in HotS. Right now, it’s basically Valla or nothing, and I’d like to be more adaptable when it comes to the ranked draft.
  7. Find a tank I like in HotS. I do like some warriors, but I don’t like being the tank. Somehow I’ve gotten away with never being forced to do it in ranked, but I’d like to be prepared.
  8. Figure out how to capture game footage from retro consoles. I have a Roxxio and a Hauppage, but so far have only used them with consoles that I can conenct with HDMI. There are a lot of games I’d really like to review on PS1/PS2 and Sage CD, but I haven’t figured out how to record them yet.
  9. Finish my unfinished games. Or make the decision that I’m done with them forever. Mirror’s Edge, which has sort of outstayed its welcome. Persona 3, which I played for about an hour (JRPGs start so sloooowly). Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Invisible, Inc., Hand of Fate, Lone Survivor.
  10. Play Journey. It’s finally out on PS4. Time to play.