As the Blog Director for Serious Play, I realized that I actually didn’t know that much about our blog site. I had no experience working with web design, I wasn’t sure how to write a “good’ blog, and WordPress just… makes some things easy and other things really difficult, to put it nicely 🙂
So I can imagine what other newcomers must feel like when it comes to posting on our blog site. We all want to write something “good” or brilliant, but since the blog isn’t the same as a graduate school paper, we are a little lost. And we don’t want to screw up. As graduate students, most of us have been the goodie-two-shoes at school, always afraid to make a mistake and desperate for the praise of others. Or is that just me?
I am the Makoto Nijima of Serious Play, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Upper Midwest.
So I thought it would be best to give some guidelines for members of Serious Play for how to approach writing a blog. Unfortunately, this isn’t a four-way stretch fabric approach, so you might find some of these guidelines to be helpful but vague at the same time. The whole point of the Serious Play blog is to give us graduate students a place to express our views, share our interests, and work through some of the ideas we have about games, play, or whatever else comes to mind.
Although there’s no one “correct” or “right” way to construct a blog post for our website, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you create your blog post.
1. Take inspiration from your interests and experiences.
Our blog is all about working with ideas. Writing here gives you the opportunity to stretch, condense, massage, or hammer out the thoughts you have. As such, what you write about isn’t limited to video games or board games or any arbitrary guideline. People have written about conferences they’ve attended, characters they’ve created in tabletop games, and so many other topics.
Write about what interests you, as long as it is sensitive to others. If you discuss gore, violence, or other topics that might disturb readers, be sure to place a content warning at the top of your blogs.
2. Focus on one idea or topic
Unless you wish to write a longer post, most blogs will be relatively short, probably a couple hundred words. Again, the main goal of the blog is to work with ideas, and those ideas don’t need to be completely developed. Try to keep the scope of your post small, focusing on one experience, or one theory, or one game. Honing in on one small topic can also help you develop your ideas more fully.
3. Try out different styles and mediums
Although most of the blog posts on our site have been written using text, feel free to incorporate audiovisual elements or other mediums in your posts. Adding pictures and interactive media makes your post more engaging. Your writing can be academic, or it can be more casual. You can experiment with different styles of writing, including diary entries or post mortems on conferences. Here’s your chance to get creative with your writing!
Reading through other blogs from Serious Play and elsewhere can help you understand what you like and don’t like about styles of writing. For me, I prefer to read blogs with shorter paragraphs and humor, so that’s how I like to write mine as well.
Blog posts are low-stakes opportunities to work with your ideas and to share them with the rest of the collab! Feel free to test out ideas and take risks here. Take this as an opportunity to develop your voice outside of traditional academic writing. In the words of Madge, express yourself.
5. Support your fellow collabers!
Reach out to other members of the Collab for help with your ideas and lend a helping hand when others want to bounce ideas around. Comment on blog posts as they are posted! It takes upkeep to build and maintain supportive communities!
And if you get nervous, don’t forget the Gospel of our icon of pedagogy:
(Cover image from Geek and Sundry)