In the summer of 2012, I started a blog. Today that blog is still alive and (somewhat) well, or you wouldn’t be reading this. In celebration of hitting the 10-year mark, this year I’m filling out the archives with all the old posts from the back when this was hosted on Blogger. And while we’re at it, why not talk about the past a little?

But first, there’s a big question: why? What caused me to start writing? The truth is lost to time, but the journey will be interesting nonetheless.

The Before-Times

It’s time to let slip a secret: This isn’t my first blog. In fact, it’s my third.

I hit the creative train really early, all the way back in middle school. Being a child I had a lot of Big Ideas, and I was already fascinated with making my own worlds and characters. I had no idea what things like “DeviantArt” and “OCs” were though, so I picked up a copy of Anim8or, opened a blog called The Rubber Cat (???) and just kinda… well, see for yourself:

The blog itself was deleted long ago, but thanks to Google’s data retention I was able to recover the images from it. Shockingly, this one made it an entire 2 months before dying of neglect!

Another shorter-lived attempt was a world-building project. I wanted to make some big universe, full of planets and galaxies and aliens that I’d draw and write about. This blog was also lost to the sands of time, but I think it got exactly one post and shut down so nothing of “value” was lost.

As you can see, heading into 2012 I had a pretty sorry track record. And yet, this blog not only survived, it’s gotten hundreds of posts. What drove me to try again? Why did it work? The answer may not shock you…

I Had To Do It For School

Pretty amazing what having a grade attached to something can do for its survival, huh?

When people ask me why I made this blog, generally I spin them a yarn about how I received an email right before college recommending that I do so. This story has a few problems. First of all, no-one else I know recalls getting such advice. And indeed, they did not make their own blogs either. The second problem’s a little more serious: I cannot find any trace of this email ever existing. Believe me, it’s not for a lack of effort either! I can find ancient stick-figure animations from back in the day, correspondence with a small indie group from my Game Maker days… but not this. That leaves two possibilities–Either I’m a fool pranked by his awful memory, or I was a fool who handled college communications entirely with his highschool email account. Given that I can hardly find any mentions of Champlain College in my email archive prior to the start of my classes there, my money’s on the latter.

Regardless, this mysterious oracle was correct! Champlain did require some amount of devlog-writing, albeit rarely. I’ll try to point out the coursework where I can, though it should be fairly obvious–most of it is a cut above my usual work.

Taking Inspiration

These pockets of required writing were a pretty good motivator to keep the blog alive, but they weren’t the sole reason either. After all, many folks I know just wrote what was necessary and quickly dropped their blog post-graduation. No, there’s someone else we can blame thank for all this: Shamus Young. The man’s insanely prolific, and even back in highschool his blog had a fairly wide variety of content: Webcomics, programming projects, a D&D campaign recap, etc. If you haven’t read his work before, I recommend giving it a look!

Now let’s compare against the schedule I made for this blog right at the start… art, programming projects, a D&D campaign recap… how familiar! Now, I should note one important difference–Shamus writes for a living, and I was a college student writing in his spare time on top of other hobbies and homework. This wild daily schedule was instantly vaporized by reality, and many of my plans fell through. Regardless, the seed of keeping to a weekly schedule was planted and I held onto it for years as a result.

August 2012

With that out of the way, let’s at least do a tiny bit of recapping before wrapping this post up.

Our story begins in August, right before the new semester. It might’ve begun sooner, but I deleted the first post (more on that in the future) so the true start date is, as usual, lost. We’re starting well, with an incredibly unappetizing photo of scrambled eggs:

To be entirely fair, food photography is challenging. You need good-looking food and perfect lighting, and even then it’s hard to get an appetizing color balance. Even today, I struggle to take good photos of the food I make. To be less fair, why is this the first thing I posted here??? Sure, scrambled eggs with grits is a fine breakfast. But this is a blog, not my facebook wall (Remember, it’s 2012. Facebook isn’t blatantly evil yet). Nothing that follows this will ever mention my cooking, except this one DFGame update post that we’ll get to later. Patience.

With the eggy non-sequitur out of the room, let’s look at some art-related posts.

Following the same creative urges that led me to try blogging originally, I had the idea of posting sketches and bits of art on a regular basis. This led to first of such posts, Sketchpad #1:

This is actually another entry in a long series of promises to post art that went nowhere, as aside from coloring in the treehouse I failed to post any more “sketchpads” until last year’s studies. Still, it’s neat to see how I was already bitten by the creative bug from the very start even if I wouldn’t actually commit for another 5 years.

For now, I think this is a good stopping point. We only covered the very start of the blog, but I thought it’d be interesting to examine some of the blog’s origins and inspiration before diving in. Next time, we’ll take a look at my longest-running (still unfinished) game project! Stay tuned for that.

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