I’ve been trying to focus my side projects into discrete 30-day challenges. This is less about keeping going, and more about keeping bounded. EvanCoin is a good example of a 30-day challenge I pulled off last year.
In February 2018, I decided to focus on one of the side-projects I’d been toying with for months: headgames.blog. I’d been thinking about developing a blog about actual play RPG podcasts for a while, and concentrating that effort into a 30-day challenge would make it a little easier. (What’s an actual-play RPG podcast? It’s a podcast where people actually play a role-playing game or RPG.) Concentrating on a short month, like February, makes it even easier.
I decided to try to write a full blog post each day of the month. On Head Games, I’ve been writing reviews of episodes, explainers for podcast series, and opinion pieces on actual play RPG podcasts. I only managed to get things written 19 out of the 28 days, but it feels exhausting nevertheless.
One thing I learned is that time is of the essence when you’re trying to write for an audience. Review blog posts I wrote in the 24 hours after a podcast episode dropped were much more popular than ones I posted a few days later.
There also seems to be very focused fandoms in this area. Even though the podcasts often cover similar territory, it seems like fans of one podcast don’t really want to read about other podcasts.
It was hard doing this much writing. I got a lot less sleep in February than in January; I spent 2-3 hours a night on the computer, writing or researching each story.
And for the reviews, I only covered a half-dozen podcasts, and it felt like an effort to make them all work. I really had to listen to each episode 2-3 times in order to get detailed reviews worth writing, and sometimes I had to go back and listen to parts of old episodes to get facts straight.
But I found it really rewarding. I listen to podcasts a lot, and I don’t often talk about them. Having readers with opinions about my opinions made for some worthwhile conversations.
Now that the month is over, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing. Ideally, I’d find some partners who love a particular podcast and would like to take over the section for that one. I’m not sure how well that will work, but I think it’s the only way to make this project keep going forward.
My next 30-day challenge? Home repair. Gonna try to get some of the TODOs I’ve had for the house out of the way as we go into Spring here in Montreal.