Friday, May 3, 2013

Collapse on the Couch and Reflect

This is my reflection post for the 2013 April A to Z Challenge.

I would like to begin by welcoming everyone to my non-Challenge blog. I feel like blog personalities change slightly when not under the pressure of A to Z. Like getting home from work, or a fancy dinner party with a bunch of strangers. After A to Z, the blog's shoulders relax, it kicks off its shoes, cracks open a beer and maybe lets out a little fart or something. You get to see it when it is not trying to be "on". Sometimes that change is a little different from the vibe given off during the A to Z.

This past A to Z was all about maps for me, but ROFL Initiative is more than a place for pretty maps. Yes, I draw on occasion, but this space is mostly a celebration of all things nerdy. Of things that would make jocks of the 1980s want to beat me up. I would elaborate further, but this past week, Wil Wheaton posted a blog, a video and a picture that also happen to sum up what I strive for in a far more eloquent way than I could on my own. 

You'll be Safe Here, by Dryponder
If you don't follow Wil already, you should check his stuff out. You might like what he has to say. In the mean time, welcome. I'm glad you're here.

On to the reflecting!

This was my third year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In a lot of ways this year was wildly successful.
  • My visible followers grew by 50% over the course of the month.
  • I smashed my previous monthly page-view record by 200% and broke 10,000 pageviews for the first time.*
  • By hand drawing my maps, I actually got myself away from my computer in the evenings and avoided the temptation to work on personal projects during work time.
  • I wound up with a collection of stock maps that I have already begun putting to use in my D&D game. This past Monday, my players battled a bunch of undead beasties at an altar.
  • Using maps as my theme helped prevent me from phoning in my posts while in the thick of it. In years past, I've always been tempted to just get a blog done regardless of how crappy it was. Not so with the maps.
  • I added quite a few new blogs to my feed reader.

 *This was largely due to a wonderful fellow blogger posting about my project on Reddit, which led to it trending as high as #3 on the RPG boards for a day. It'll be interesting to see where things stand post spike.

However, there were also a lot of things that continue to frustrate me about the Challenge, or at least make me pause and say, "I wonder…"
  • I had a heck of a time making it to other people's blogs.
  • When I did find time, I found myself wondering if I should go to new blogs, or revisit the ones I was really digging. I definitely felt like I didn't have time to do both.
  • It generally took longer to make the maps than it otherwise would to write a blog, so more of my time was consumed by the challenge.
Very soon I will add this year's posts to my A to Z archive page. If you would like to check out my entries from years past, you can find them there in convenient lists! Do I think the Challenge was worth it this year? Yes! Will I do it again next year? Not really sure yet. I probably wont know for a while now.

Oh, if you didn't get enough alphabetizing during April, check out Realmwright, who has decided to run a May to Z blog challenge!


  1. I enjoyed your maps, and I'm sure I will enjoy getting to know your "nerdy" side as well.

    1. Huzzah! I actually really like having readers from outside the usual game community!

  2. Although I won't, your maps made me want to play again.

    1. C'mon! Do it! You know you wanna!

  3. Congrats on the Redditt hat tip man. Those guys are hardcore. Out was a struggle to visit all the new blogs and keep up with my favorite ones.


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