Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the answer to that question as I created my Best Reads of the Week series on Dyvers and my Great Blog Roll Call series. The answer, I think, comes down to three things: consistency, creativity, and provocativeness.
Consistency isn’t just publishing on a schedule, but rather posting throughout the year. We all have busy lives – and for the vast majority of us blogging is a hobby, and not a job – so to expect someone who is doing this for fun to keep to a schedule is a bit unfair. Which is why when I say that someone is “consistent with their blog” I mean that they publish throughout the year.
This is why when I write the Great Blog Roll Call I do the blog posts as an average throughout the year. This provides the reader with a general idea of how often they should check back on the blog and it gives a general health of the blog itself. For example, we’ve made it through 239 days so far this year. If a blog has only published 1 post then it isn’t a very consistent blog. By contrast, if a blog has published 60 posts this year, or an average of a post every 4 days, then its quite healthy.
Often when you see someone talk about creativity they’re referring to originality in thought. That isn’t what we’re discussing here.
Creativity in blogging is about approaching a subject that others may have covered and discussing it in a way that makes it your own. For example, when Arnold K., author of Goblin Punch, wrote What Is Tested? it wasn’t the first article on dungeon design that had ever been published. It wasn’t even the first time that someone had discussed the importance of testing your players’ skill in your adventure design; but the way that Arnold went about the topic made it entirely their own and brought a lot of people into the discussion about how we design dungeons for our games.
Being creative doesn’t require that you move the needle each time that you begin writing for your blog, but it does mean that each topic you write about becomes your own – even if everyone else has already talked about it.
This one is a bit controversial, but it’s an important aspect of blogging all the same. When I say that a blog needs to be provocative I’m not talk about it being controversial, though that’s often what people take from that word. What I’m discussing is the way that a blog moves a discussion.
In The Auction of the first Hundred Words author pjamesstuart, of the blog False Machine, discusses the way that we prioritize the words we use in our adventure texts and attempts to focus not only their own thoughts, but that of the reader, on the proper way to orient the text. It’s a provocative piece that pushes the reader to rethink how they would provide the information and what information they can discard.
Posts that cause you to come back to them time, and time again are the sort of posts that I enjoy highlighting and exemplify what I mean by being provocative. They inspire your own imagination and excite you to write about the same topics.