Friday, December 14, 2007

Why Write?

A couple of things have put me in a contemplative mood this week. For one thing, a college friend of mine just turned fifty. He is older than I am, but the implication that time is passing for all of us is inescapable. Someday soon I will be fifty, and that just sounds so darn mature.

For another thing, this is the first time that I can remember that I have had back-to-back columns. No one seems to have posted on Gone Gaming since last Friday. No doubt the other writers have more important things going on in their lives than writing for free to an audience of unknown size (but that probably rates a description somewhere between small and miniscule).

So why write? Why is this worthwhile for me? I guess for three reasons.

1) Exercise the writing muscle. If you value writing skills (as I do), then anything that gets you writing is good. The subject matter could be gardening, or tennis, or dubious conspiracy theories. It doesn’t matter. Writing helps keep parts of the mind limber. Because of my blogging deadline I write on a regular schedule, and I write more than I would otherwise.

2) A voice in the hobby. This is the reason that may have appealed to me the most when I first considered blogging, but that has turned out to be the least important and most nebulous reason in retrospect. Maybe if I went to more gaming conventions, then I would meet more gamers, and writing a blog could be a calling card. But I don’t go to many cons, and I don’t meet lots of new gamers. And I have found that gamers are more likely to recognize the name of the gaming sites I write for than my own name. But every now and then someone seems to know my writing, or they are at least polite enough to pretend to.

3) An ear to the ground in the hobby. This is a reason I never much considered before I started writing, but that has turned out to be an unexpected bonus. Because I am constantly looking for material for my blogs, I have read more rules for upcoming games, played more games that I might have otherwise passed by, and contacted more people in the industry than I ever would have if I had not been writing regularly. Writing has made me more analytical about games and the industry, and made me a more devoted reader of other folks’ blogs. None of this makes me a better human being, but it does make the hobby more interesting to me.

Some readers may have considered writing an essay or two about the hobby. You might have wondered why such an activity would be worthwhile, while at the same time harboring the vague notion that writing for free is about as smart as digging ditches for free.

I believe that blogging has its benefits. They may be intangible, and the cost/benefit ratio may be a little skewed. But now and then there appear unexpected emotional rewards.

If some of you have something to say about the hobby, we’d love to hear from you.

1 comment:

Big said...

Kris, well said. These are pretty much the same reasons that I continue to write my letters for the Penthouse Forums.