Thursday, 13 March 2008

Taking the rough with the smooth

Blogging gives you a whole lot of freedom. As someone who in real life works for a newspaper (albeit in an I.T. role) I can appreciate the fact that as a blogger I have complete control over what I write.

Admittedly there have always been ways of doing this. A couple of years ago I could have started a fanzine which, if I was lucky, would have reached a hundred or so people a month. With a blog I can reach that many people in a day.

It is the same with programming. Back in the day (pre-internet) most of the stuff I created would have ended up either being sold through the small-ads of a computer magazine or via a budget software company. It would have reached maybe a couple of thousand players. Publishing it myself for free doesn't make me any money, but on the other hand has reached many thousands of people.

One of the high-spots of doing this is getting positive feedback, either in comments or via email. I've had my fair share of both, but don't let that put you off telling me how great I am! Someone telling you that your game is one of their favorites, or that they really enjoy reading your blog is the payment that we are after.

On the flip side however are the people who don't like my stuff. This can be damn depressing, but as I remind myself "You can't please everyone."

When it comes to the games I take negative comments very seriously, as long as they aren't just "your game is bad, and you should feel bad". Just telling someone who is giving you something for free "you suck!" doesn't help anyone.

If they tell me what they don't like and why, then it gives me something I can look at improving. Changing someones mind about a game by fixing what they hated about it is the biggest challenge you can face, but can certainly improve the quality of your output.

The same goes for blogging. Hopefully over time you find your own voice, and maybe an audience to go with it. If you take the time to read what people say, and take notice of constructive criticism, then you can improve the quality of your output.

Just remember though, that behind every blog post and every bit of freeware software is a person. Be constructive when giving feedback, not destructive. Who knows, they might thank you for it!

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