So Much To Do
(But I Don't Have to Carry It All)

Blog: So Much To Do - But I Do Not Need to Carry It All

I’ve been here before – rethinking my priorities based on some goals and/or where my pain levels are at. And here I am again. Change is inevitable in life. Heck, you’re not exactly the same person at the end of the day as you were when you woke up. Life shapes us, more than we attempt to shape life around us probably. So in this post, I just want to open up a bit and let you know what this latest changeset means for me – and for my content.

How I Got to This Point

As I shared with my Patreon Crew over a week ago, I sat down with paper and a pencil – away from the distractions of the screens and social media. I listed down things in my head that were tasks I thought I needed to do. The total was 22, before even considering specific blog posts.

Now, these 22 were not all FJ-related. They also included DIY jobs, woodworking tasks, personal research and world-building. Nevertheless, I am still one person and a list of 22 was too much. After all, it is impossible to clear all things you could do before adding any new things.


Deciding the Priorities

Making Money Was Never ‘It’

My Lalafell Thinking - As I have to each day - do I blog or not?
Money in and of itself is not a motivator (I rarely have need for “things” unless my current “things” break). It’s why my ads on this blog are set to be as user-centric as possible, rather than only flinging the highest-paid ads in your face.

But money is useful to buy supplies that would have had to come out of the family finances, for example. My ad revenue, Patreonexlink and Ko-Fiexlink all help either to support my family or prepare me for when large costs become inevitable.

Motivation

Looking out over a Hobbit village.
Wifey said that I shouldn’t do anything where “supporting the family” was the sole motivator, unless I was also enjoying it.

Any blogger or content creator could tell you of articles, shows, and streams that weren’t enjoyable – no job in the world is all fun and games. Writing about Executioner of the Wicked isn’t nearly as enjoyable as travelling and documenting the Sites of Yondershire!

So I had to sit back and prioritise.

Thing-to-Thing

For the last year, especially, I’ve let myself move from blog to blog with barely a breather. New topics come up, demand for a particular piece of content leads me to write about it etc. But without space to think I’ve not allowed myself to choose what I would enjoy – only what serves others.

So here we go.


1. Fiction Writing

The Actual Book(s)

A drawing from the world where Chronicles of Qal'ath take place.
If I continue to lurch from one blog to the next then nothing will change. I’ve been working on the Chronicles of Qal’ath for three to four years. And that’s just the first book. I want to complete it (as much as I can without professional advice) and begin to consider publishing. For that to happen I have to be intentional about allocating time to work on it properly.

World Building

Review of WorldAnvil for Fantasy Writing - How I use their World Building tools.
A while ago I wrote a WorldAnvil Review and since then I have continued to build my WA siteexlink. While this may appear a distraction, I use it to fill out places, characters and background lore.

While my focus is on the book(s), I still need to give time to World Building, which helps keep everything in my world consistent and feeds questions to me, helping me to enrich it.

Conclusion: I must build my gaming blog time around fantasy writing, not leaving the dregs of my energy to it, hoping I can be creative.


2. LOTRO Content

If you ignore my legacy SWTOR Blog Posts (many are now out of date) my top three content categories are:

  1. LOTRO: 132
    • This is further broken down into Fan Fiction, Event Guides, Cosmetics and others.
  2. Fibromyalgia: 50
  3. FFXIV: 18

This weighting towards LOTRO was intentional when I moved away from SWTOR blogging (a topic not relevant for this post). And I’ll come to FFXIV shortly. It exists but isn’t a priority. So, what are my LOTRO priorities, then?

LOTRO Festivals & Events

One of my LOTRO Questing Duos, Ayrthir and Glirheryn
While I said my blogging will fit around my fiction, the only exceptions are LOTRO Festivals/Events. My diary will continue to be built around the LOTRO Events Calendar and I will always endeavour to keep my Event Guides up-to-date.

Event “Tools”

LOTRO Midsummer Outfit Cosmetics Rewards Library
Alongside these guides are the tools I’m building to help the community: Cosmetics database, mount lookup and recently I’ve put the infrastructure in place for pets too. If I see a chance of a new tool being helpful – or someone points it out, then it’ll be put into the mix.

New Lower-Level Regions

Hunter's Ledge - LOTRO Wildwood - The Wealth In Trust Quest Location
Due to having no experience of endgame, I’ll never be in a position to write about the latest expansion. To do so would be at the expense of playing my dear Glinmaethor and her story. But I have loved exploring and writing guides for the newer lower-level regions: The Wildwood, the Angle of Mitheithel and Yondershire. I want to continue doing new regions.

But naturally, this relies on such content coming out, so it only applies when they do. What I may do in a lull between events is see how I could improve my existing guides, or if there’s a feature I haven’t written about yet. This way I can make my guide “set” more comprehensive.

“But…I expected (name) deed!”

My LOTRO Beorning doing the Shrug Emote
Well…expect away, I guess. I am one person and LOTRO is huge. Par contre, LOTRO Wiki is huge and is a team. This means they usually get stuff out well before I do.

If it’s a deed you want for something that was launched yesterday, check the Wiki. It really is a fab community resource and I link to it often from my guides.


3. Discussion Posts

Why are People Anonymous on Twitter - some arguments for and against
All that’s to say here is that I found a bunch of old “discussion” posts in my database that could use rewriting. These are not geared towards getting traffic, or stir up controversy etc – but to discuss a particular subject. The first one of these I’ve already done: Why Are People Anonymous on Twitter?

The joy of these is that, yes they need researching, but they’re not stressful and there’s no set time they should be done by. That makes them interesting to create and may (or may not) spark a conversation with people on Social Media. My motivation for writing them would be purely the fact that the subject interests me and I will enjoy creating them.


4. FFXIV Content

Right, a few caveats:

  • I will not be regularly blogging about FFXIV.
  • I do not intend to balance my LOTRO stuff with FF14.

However, as a content creator and former small business owner, I have to consider risks. As I support my family via my blog, if I lost all the visitors to my LOTRO posts, I’d lose 90% of the income I get from ads. Granted, the 100% isn’t loads (maybe the equivalent of a one-day-a-week job working in a shop). Nevertheless it does help them. So I’ve been silently experimenting with FFXIV content, focusing on two areas:

Event Guides

FFXIV Make It Rain Campaign 2022 - Seasonal Event
FFXIV events differ massively from LOTRO ones, with the sole exception being there are some rewards available each year.

But, by the same token (no pun intended), they also happen each year, usually. I chose these partially due to my experience covering LOTRO events and partially because they are on a much smaller scale. The quests for an FFXIV event change every year as do the rewards, but there are only a few of each. The last event I wrote about took me a day and I had covered it all. So I was able to experiment without putting too much time in.

Hunting Logs

FFXIV Gladiator Hunting Log Rank 5 Guide - FF14
Hunting Logs are like mini slayer deeds in LOTRO. Each base class has a set and is awarded XP for clearing them. This is ongoing and is far less involved than it sounds. I took my LOTRO Cosmetics database code and retailored it. But each class does not have a totally unique set of entries. Although I need an entry for an enemy to defeat, it may be relevant for two or more classes. Each time I complete a set, the next one takes less effort.

Nearly all the content is being pulled from my database. This means the actual “post” for a Hunting Log only needs a couple of paragraphs or so for information specific to that class and level.

This project is ongoing but is not a priority. If I have plenty to do from the above, I don’t progress on this project.

Were the Experiments Successful?

For a new blogger trying to scrape at the edges of a new readership, yes. In the first six months of 2022, I gained over 6000 visits to FFXIV content.

Overcoming False Guilt

When I first started blogging about LOTRO, I didn’t post it to Twitter for fear of losing SWTOR contacts. In the same way I haven’t yet tweeted my FFXIV stuff. Going forward, now that I have explained why – and told you that it’s not a priority – I will.


Isn’t All That Too Much for “Focus”?

My LOTRO Lore-Master Ayrthir, Thinking Emote
No, it gives me freedom and variety. Once I’ve cleared current projects, the aim will be to only work on one post per week – and maybe have weeks solely dedicated to my books and/or world building.

During this experimentation phase I’ve been making two posts a week and doing data entry too. Now, I just need to reprogram my brain not to feel guilty about not writing another LOTRO post and all will be fine.

What About Existing Projects?

As I explained to my Patreon Crew, I have “Commitment Bias”. This is a psychological theory that people stick with an idea, project or plan even if the evidence would say that they should stop.

As such I am in a transition week or two trying to tie up some projects so I can refocus correctly. The Hunting Logs will take a while to complete, but

  1. Once all the data’s in, it’s done and never changes.
  2. I won’t be replacing it with another FFXIV project of that scale.

To Summarise

  1. Fiction Writing & World Building: these will be planned in first around family time, housework and DIY etc.
  2. LOTRO Content will be planned in the following priority:
    1. Festival Guide Updates (where applicable)
    2. Event Tools (such as cosmetics and mounts data entry)
    3. Content for new lower-level regions shortly after launch or
    4. Improvements/additions for area I’ve already done guides about.
    5. FanFiction may feature.
  3. Discussion Posts: this could be about any topic, from Fibromyalgia to Social Media, from cross-game comparisons to, well, anything really. As/when I think of a topic. My Why do Guys Play Female Characters post was sparked after I was asked that question multiple times by different people.
  4. FFXIV Posts: in the following priority order:
    1. Event Guides
    2. Hunting Log Data Entry (until that job is done)

So, while there is variety, believe it or not, it has helped me cut down the topics in my head substantially. It is not improbable that there will be times when I don’t make a new LOTRO post because of my choices. I will feel freer to work on my world without feeling like I’m slacking!

Y'shtola reading a book in FFXIV

TL;DR I’m Still Writing But Freer

Here I’ve given myself the license to not blog about LOTRO sometimes. I know that means my Social Media engagement rate will drop – but given I do not track it, I’m cool with that. I want to get my fiction published and become a better writer. But I also want to keep supporting LOTRO and the community in the areas I’m best at. I hope that this makes some sort of sense. And when the time comes to review things again, it should be because of needing further refinement, not because I’ve gone back to old habits! Hopefully…


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October/November 2022: I've been fixing broken images recently, which will surface some very old content, some of which may be inaccurate now. I can only deal with one problem at a time!