Gamotere Is Two: Another Year Of Writing & What I've Learnt

I summarise what I've learnt after two years of weekly writing right here on Gamotere.

A year ago I wrote about what I'd learnt after my first year of semi-serious writing on Gamotere. Since then, another has passed - games, comics, movies and TV shows have been released, come and gone; I've written and published 42 posts (including this one) and, along with them, I've started to gain something of a following. While it is, by no means, a huge number, that would put my little site up with a behemoth like IGN, going from a consistent 5-10 views per post to between 45 and 65, occasionally more, is huge for me, and a sign that, hopefully, what I'm doing has been working.

As I state in the "About" section, Gamotere is a place for me and my wacky ideas, "a creative outlet where I can talk about my passions freely, openly and without restraint" while this has certainly never been more true, in the past few months I've also tried to focus on gaining a readership, and one that will stick. Not just for the sake of it, but to try and figure out what attracts people to an article, and why they click on a link on Twitter or Google Plus or elsewhere.

This, in turn, has lead me to try and create prettier thumbnails, and a better looking and more ergonomic site that will, hopefully, attract people here and to try and get them to come back.

But. in truth, trying to attract people to read Gamotere is the smallest part of what I've learnt since July 2015, although certainly one of the more measurable aspects. 

For those trying to infiltrate the games-media industry, a piece of advise so often handed out is "write and podcast as much as you can". That's why I started Gamotere. Although originally called the somewhat better, although more used than I'd first thought Nerd & Proud - I came up with that name after realising I'd been using it in my Twitter bio for a while, and assuming I was the first to call it my own; within a day I'd find a clothing company of the same name, and a plethora of others that followed shortly - the idea was to write, and eventually podcast - something I've dabbled in a few times, but never really had the time to do properly, although I do have some ideas for potential shows. The idea from that aforementioned advice is to get better through repetition: that, by constantly flexing a muscle, over time it will naturally become stronger.

From my own experiences, I hope you'll agree that, this has been tried and tested. Read one of my very first pieces, this one about Steam for example, and I think you can see the difference between then and now - hell, even something from a year ago reads as though I'm still finding my feet - which I very much still was.

And, by all accounts, I still am. Just by writing every week for two years, you don't suddenly become a professional and you don't learn all the tricks in the book - to do that you need advice, critique and, most importantly, to read for yourself. Find things you like that people do, and start to do them yourself; read about the English language and try to get a better understanding of it so you can better utilize the tools made available that most people won't have a clue about but will make your writing infinitesimally better; try and learn new words and use them in everyday situations. I once read that the human brain needs to see or hear a word 10 times before it can start to use it: by exposing yourself to new vocabulary and then finding out what, exactly, it means, you can start to us it yourself.

While I don't think knowing every word in the dictionary necessarily proves you're smarter than everyone else - it certainly proves you have more time than they do - having a more advanced vernacular makes you sound better informed, more trustworthy and has the knock-on effect of helping others improve their vocab as well: one of my biggest inspirations in the games industry is Colin Moriarty, whose vocabulary has rubbed off on me to a huge extent just by listening to him on podcasts each and every week. Finding people like that to inspire, entertain and also educate is hugely important.

Again, I'm not a professional, and I'm only finding these avenues after two years as I realise how instrumental they are in helping to improve a person's writing, which I think demonstrates that fact extremely well; if I was a professional I wouldn't necessarily not have any more to learn, but I'd be better at finding out where to do that learning.

And I actually think that encapsulates exactly what I've learnt over the last year incredibly well: that I still have a whole lot more to learn. Whether it be about writing, or about the things I'm writing about, as I become absorbed further and further into the games - and movies, TV and comics to a lesser extent - industry as well as learning more about the present, I'm realising how important the past is as well, if not for interest and the idea of history repeating itself - a great quote from comic book writer Dan Abnett is that "history doesn't repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes" - is simply having context for what's happening currently.

Again, that doesn't necessarily mean one has to know everything about Atari, Nintendo, PlayStation and everything in between, but it does - perhaps - mean that one should know that PlayStation were originally intimately connected with Nintendo until they somewhat screwed Sony over. Having knowledge like that can be crucial when writing about the games industry and, quite frankly, is something that anyone doing so should know. You don't have to memorise every tiny detail, but having some of the knowledge shows passion and, more importantly, that you care about your topic.

So that's it, what I've learnt, so far, is that there's always more to learn, and only one person can change the amount left to consume: you. The best advice I've ever received was to "just do it - follow your dreams" and if, in some small way, you're not trying to reach them today, then just do it, and let me know how it goes - hopefully I'll have as big an impact on you as the following have had on me;

I want to thank Greg Miller for giving me and everyone that listens to his podcasts with the same dream that advice.

As previously mentioned, I want to thank Colin Moriarty for helping me to always want to know more.

To round out the Kinda Funny crew, I want to thank Tim Gettys and Nick Scarpino for helping me always stay positive and make sure I never settle for anything less that 100%.

I want to thank everyone who has ever let me interview them (hopefully more of those on the way).

I want to thank Daemon Hatfield for hosting Game Scoop - the first games-media show I ever consumed.

And, as I ended last year's post: "most of all - thank you to you, the reader. Thank you for reading this far in the article, but also for sticking with the blog through thick and thin, crap articles, and the best ones I've written." Without you reading this and helping the numbers go up from five to 55 I probably wouldn't still be here, doing this; the numbers really shouldn't matter, but having them stay low is demoralising and certainly not the encouragement I need to stay on course. Please keep reading blogs and inspiring people to continue simply through your click: it can make shitty days turn around completely. 

Whether this is your first Gamotere adventure (if you can call it that) or re-treading a familiar path, please know that your support - even just through a click - means the World. Thank you for reading.


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