Dec 102012
 

The idea for this post struck me on my way to work this morning, and it would NOT leave me alone! So, here it is!

Sometimes we all get a bit bored with our daily SL routine. Maybe we signed up a few years ago and many of our friends have drifted away to other grids, or are simply not around anymore. Perhaps our partners live in different timezones and we have hours to kill before they log in and we can be with them. Or it might simply be that good old ennui has set in for a prolonged stay. It happens to all of us at times!

So, what’s to do?

Well, how about giving yourself something new to do, in the form of what you’re reading right now. A blog!

“Oh gawd, Mar,” I hear you mutter. “I wouldn’t have a clue what to write about! I can’t write anything interesting to save my life! My SLife is soooo boring; who’d want to read about it?!”

Yeah yeah. Cry moar, as the meme goes ;)

Everyone has something they could blog about, and finding your niche could be the very thing that boots the fun back into your Second Life again! Sure, sometime bloggers need a break, but blogging can be a lot of fun.

Hop behind the cut for some hints and tips and ideas!

The first thing to decide is… what the heck you’re going to blog about. You might think you’re going to come unstuck at Stage One (!) but here are a few bullet points to help you out:

  • Make sure your blog is about something you enjoy. If it’s not, then you’re going to end up resenting it!
  • Try to combine two things, so that if you get burned out on one you can fall back onto the other.
  • Don’t worry if someone else has done it before. They won’t be doing it the way you could do it.

The first is a given. There’s no way you’ll enjoy blogging about something if it feels too much like hard work. So, sit down and think about what you like doing in SL.

Here are a few (amusingly-illustrated!) ideas:

Places to go

Work your way through the Destination Guide! Blog about your favourite social spots! Go map-hopping (open up the map, set your avatar flying, click and drag the map wildly, then click one spot that looks vaguely interesting, and teleport there) and blog about the places where you end up! Find every beach in SL and write about it (or just take a snapshot of yourself doing activities/sunning yourself there)! Collate a list of sandboxes! Find sports-related sims and blog about what they offer! Take a roadtrip around the Mainland and blog about your adventures! Take snapshots of some of the fugly fullbright hot pink buildings on Mainland while you’re at it ;)

There are thousands of sims in SL, just waiting for your snapshots and prose (be they great or no; the more you do it, the better you’ll get!)

Freebies!

I know, I know. There’s a gamillion-SQUAZILLION freebie blogs out there. Hell, you’re reading one of ’em! BUT!!! This isn’t just a freebie blog, as you can see from this post. I also blog tutorials, guides, and how-to’s, as well as newbie help (that’s my back-up for when I burn out on the freebies: the second point in my bullet list up there).

What would make your freebie blog different? Find a freebie niche and blog that. Focus on skins, petites, furries, tinies, goth items, treasure hunts, free stuff for child avatars, etc. See if you can spot emerging trends from the blogs you already read. Right now, petites are really big (pun intended! *g*), but a new trend that I’m spotting (which, obviously, won’t be for everyone) is for the new style of prim breasts that require ‘appliers’. There are already hunts and special events where these appliers for clothing and skins are sold at discount prices, so if you’re a prim boob wearer, that’s a great blog to get started with!

There’s always something, freebie-wise, that you can specialise in.

Roleplay

Vampires and Goreans, medieval courtliness and gritty urban realism. There are loads of great roleplay sims out there, so if you know your IC from your OOC and you enjoy nothing more than mooching around District 8 for a few days, before changing outlook entirely and wandering through Berlin 1920, via a detour through Blade Runner City, then a blog about roleplay areas might be right up your (Hard) Alley [sorry, couldn’t resist!]. Walk around as a tourist, or a reporter. Take snapshots of your favourite RP sims, report the ‘news’ (the current storylines) from the sim. Heck, even roleplay yourself getting SL pregnant (bonus points if your avatar’s male!) and blog about your upcoming bundle of prim joy ;)

A word of warning, though: don’t post roleplay logs without first obtaining permission from those involved. It’s not exactly forbidden (SL’s ToS only forbids posting of chat logs on official SL premises, such as the SL Forums) but it is bad form, and probably won’t endear you to your fellow roleplayers.

LGBTQ!

There’s a large LGBTQ scene in SL, and if you’re a part of it then you could help out many a confused newbie to the scene with a blog about it. Write about LGBTQ-friendly places: hangouts, beaches, shopping locations, places to hook up and places to dance. Were you confused as to where all the gay zones, or women-only clubs, or trans-friendly locations were when you first joined SL? Did you wish there had been a blog about it back then? BE that blog!

Of course, LGBTQ isn’t the only scene in SL by any means. There are communities of every colour and stripe in-world, from furries to tinies, steampunk’d Victorians to demons, breedable-collectors to the BDSM scene. If that’s what you love, then blog about it!

“But Mar…? My life really is boring! I don’t do any of that stuff!”

Have you ever heard of Project 365? In it, every participant has to take one photo per day, for a whole year (or longer). Doesn’t matter what it’s of; just that one photo is taken every day. It could be a picture of a tree through the changing seasons, or a baby’s face as s/he grows up. Or it could be different things each day.

One of my favourite blogs is Alicia Chenaux’s Ch’Know? Alicia simply posts a photo every day (or every few days), with some text accompanying it. Sometimes it’s a hilarious post with a funny picture, sometimes she has  nothing much to say and says as much when she posts the pic. But she posts quite frequently, and I really love following her everyday SL life. That’s not to say she lives a boring life in-world, but she does many things that we all do: she likes to decorate her home, she hangs with her friends, she goes shopping, she does fun things with her husband (jumping up and down on the bed while he’s trying to read the morning papers, before you get any ideas!) – it’s all more interesting to read than you might think.

So, in short, don’t assume you’re so boring that nobody would want to read your blog. Even a blog about your everyday SL existence can be interesting.

If you’re totally stuck, then try taking up something new in SL and blogging about your learning experience. Start building things (scour Marketplace for freebie sculpts and textures – there’s hundreds!), take up LSL scripting; hell, go all-out and download Blender and blog your hair-tearing as you get to grips with it!

SL for Nowt began its life with me wanting to blog the first 30 days in an avatar’s life in-world. I set myself some goals (read about them in the very first post on the old SL for Nowt blog!) and, once those 30 days were up, I realised that freebies, cheapies, and helping newbies was my niche.

“So, where do you get this blog?”

The two main blogging platforms are WordPress.com (not WordPress.org – that one’s for self-hosted blogs on your own domain!) and Blogger. Both will give you a free blog (as you might expect, since the blogs are free, they will also contain ads, but it’s a good place to start). Blogger is a part of Google, so be aware of that if you’re wary of giving even more info to Google than you already do!

Both have lots of great free templates and good stats options, to let you see if people are reading your blog.

There are other options, such as LiveJournal (and the many spin-offs of it, using LJ code), but most bloggers use the main two: WordPress and Blogger.

A few do’s and don’ts

In handy bullet point form ;)

  • Don’t beg for free samples. There’s little that annoys a creator more than a blagging blogger!
  • Likewise, don’t bug the people who run the big SL feeds to add your blog. Never be pushy!
  • Give credit where credit’s due. If you see an idea elsewhere that you like, credit the originator of that idea!
  • Always be polite (as much as possible, anyway!). As a blogger you have a public image, so bear that in mind.
  • Never bitch about avatars or stores or locations by name in your blog. Trust me: it will get back to them!
  • Above all, have fun!

I’ll be right here, cheering you on :)

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