Friday, May 24, 2013

Tim Brannan guest post

Hello everyone and my name is Tim Brannan, some of you might know me from either of my two blogs The Other Side (gaming, horror and geek life) or The Freedom of Nonbelief (atheism, science and human rights).  I also am one of a groups of bloggers at Amazon Princess and Red Sonja - She Devil with a Sword.  I am guest posting at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

One of the reasons I first got into blogging was to expand my abilities as a writer and help build an audience for my various game books.  I started my blog, The Other Side, as a design journal for my then WIP The Witch.  Then something interesting happened.  I became part of a community.  Sure I had been part of an online community before, via message boards, chat and even going all the way back to BBSes and Telnet.  But a blogging community is something a little different.  I can say my bits here and then others respond, I respond back and there is the back and forth that is very nice.  I then go to other blogs and repeat the process as a responder.   Over the years I have integrated nicely into a community of other bloggers in both gaming and atheism.  I continually get ideas based one what ever the topic du jour is.

I do not underestimate the value of community here.
That is one of the reasons why I feel the Bloghop or Blogfest is critical part of my blogging experience.  For the month of May I am participating in seven different bloghops/blogfests.  I am considering adding an eighth.

I enjoy participating in these for a number of reasons.

First off it exposes me to new bloggers.  I get to read something new and potentially someone new to follow with each one.  For the A to Z challenge I end following a dozen or so new bloggers.  Likewise it exposes me to a new audience and potential followers to my blogs. There are a lot of blogs out there. There are even blogs out there that have similar interests to that I never saw before.  Joining a Horror-related bloghop, for example, is a good way for me to find people with similar tastes outside my normal circles, but joining a "First Loves" bloghop really gets some diversity for me!

Secondly it stretches me a writer.  So with all of these blogs you think I have a lot to talk about.  Yet I have to admit that there are some days that I open up Blogger and stare at a blank screen. A good bloghop gives me ideas, and failing that it gives me motivation.    One of the more obscure ones I joined was one dedicated to silent film star Mary Pickford.  Now you might ask how a game-blog with an emphasis on old-school games and horror can have anything to say about a silent film star, but in truth there was a movie that had a huge influence on my future writing.  Being able to share that with my primary audience (my regular readers) and my new audience (people in the blog hop) was great, especially since I needed to write from the point of view to satisfy both.

At this point I do want comment on not alienating your audience.  I know there are some people, not a lot, but some, in my regular blogging circles that do not like blogfests, and the A to Z one in particular.  I want to be cognizant of this.  Not tailoring my involvement to the loudest minority mind you, but what it means to my primary audience.  If I were for example were to spend the entire month of June doing nothing but talking about silent movies the people that come to my blog for gaming material will be turned off and leave.  I participate in these bloghops/blogfests, but I have to make sure that anything I post would have been something I would have posted anyway.

I enjoyed being in the A to Z blogfest the last three years.  Each year I do something a little different.  I am thankful to all the mods, helpers and minions that made this years' run so much smoother.  A real special thanks goes our to Arlee Bird for driving this Leviathan every year.  This year I was more focused and did things that will end up in my next book Eldritch Witchery.  Again, stuff I was going to write anyway and share.  This time it ended getting more diverse feedback than say if I had done it in June.

In the end I guess these things are what make of them.  For me they have been a great experience both as writer who happens to be blogging and as a blogger in a community of bloggers.   Now if there was only a central place where all the blogfest and bloghops were advertised that would be great!

Maybe someone else can take that on. I have some posts that are screaming at me to write. ;)

About the Author: Tim Brannan is an author and blogger living in the suburbs of Chicago.  He has worked on a number of games including the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG, Ghosts of Albion, and The Witch.  He is currently working on Eldritch Witchery for Elf Lair Games and Darwin's Guide to Creatures for Battlefield Press for the Gaslight RPG.  When not working on game material or blogging he spends time with wife and two sons.  During the day he designs curriculum for universities going online. Prior to this he was teaching Statistics at the university.


Sheena-kay Graham said...

I agree that bloghops and fests are great ways to challenge ourselves and meet new bloggers. Each one has unique challenges and prizes. And even there are no prizes you still get the feeling of accomplishment for doing your part. Especially when readers comment on enjoying your post.

Unknown said...

Hi Tim! Great post. I follow you on The Other Side and enjoy reading your posts from there, as well. I'm not into gaming, but I learn a lot reading about your vampire's, ghosts, elf's, witch's, etc... I write Urban Fantasy and need all the help I can get. Good Luck to you in your endeavors.
Mama Bear Musings

Timothy S. Brannan said...


One of the main reasons I get involved in this blogfest is to meet some many people outside of gaming for more ideas.

So when people, say from the Urban Fantasy or Modern Supernatural circles reply yo my posts with ideas I get something very different.

I know I am always looking forward to a variety replies.

Plus, like Sheena-kay says there is the feeling of accomplishment.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Blogfests are a great way to connect with others here online. I don't understand those who blog with little or no interest in connecting. (And you don't even have to participate in blogfests to connect.)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

There are those who dislike the Challenge, and it's their loss. Like you, I post what I normally would anyway, just tailored to a theme and the letter.
Community is so important and such a blessing.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

@Diane, I am not sure why someone would do this and not relish in comments or connections.

@Alex. Agree. This is what I would normally do or say, sometimes just in a different order.

Silvia Writes said...

I find the sense of community building very inspiring. The idea is to build something (whether a platform, an interactive give and take of information or a place of learning and ideas). And so it's difficult to do that alone or with a limited audience.

Being exposed to new bloggers, stretched as writer, are reasons and ideas I subscribe to as well. Thanks for the post.

Unknown said...

Hi Tim! Thanks for this post on Community. It's one of the aspects to blogging that I most appreciate!
Alicia of

Arlee Bird said...

Great points, Tim. You were a real asset to my team of Ambassadors, always out there commenting and spreading good will. And thanks to you we keep the list more free of the non-participating blogs. Thanks for what you put into this year's Challenge.

Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Suzy, The Grey Brunette said...

I had a wail of a time with the A to Z Challenge. This was my first year and it introduced me to a wide variety of bloggers who I wouldn't ordinarily have mingled with and Tim, you are one of the most interesting and fun! I'm completely not into gaming and all that it entails yet you always make an effort to help me understand (!). I enjoy reading your blog and I'm looking forward to learning more from you!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tim - I agree .. the Challenge is a great way of meeting new bloggers and find community to share life with ... and it's good to learn about different genres ..

Cheers Hilary

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Hey! I want to thank everyone for coming by and commenting! Which of course makes the point I was trying to make. ;)

I'll be checking out all your blogs too soon (if I don't already follow you now).