Blogging

Blogging Update: New Ideas for Robo♥beat

This month my blog turned six years old.

It’s changed a bit over the years, and so have I, so I thought I’d take some time out to address my writing here and what I’d like to do with this site going forward. Robo♥beat has become such a part of my life that it’s strange to think there was a time before I had it. Yet I also remember when I started the blog — and why — like it was yesterday.

How Robo♥beat was Born

When I was in my early 20’s — out of college and working as a freelance writer — I wanted to start a blog. Since I’d been a history major, I thought a history blog would be a perfect fit. Maybe it could lead to a career writing for museum websites or working for the History Channel. Both of those were career paths I considered taking.

So I dug into my favorite pastime: research. And I started a history blog. Each post focused on a historical event, but I wrote everything in the present tense, like a story. I wanted to keep up the pace and make people feel like they were really there. It was a fun project.

After a month and around 10 posts, I think I had about five page views total. For the amount of work I was putting into the thing, I felt unrewarded and a little lonely. So I scrapped the history blog idea.

Dragon Age Origins
Dragon Age: Origins — my biggest inspiration

At the same time, I was getting into video games, playing through RPGs with that feverish feeling of finding a new love and not knowing when or whether the passion will burn out. I wanted to live it up while it lasted. I was so inspired by the writing in games like The Witcher 2 and Mass Effect that my new dream job was writing for video games. I just didn’t know how to break into that career.

So here I was, trying to blog but unsure what to blog about — and also wanting to write for games. Creating a blog about games seemed like a smart idea, as it would let me build a portfolio of writing and reveal my true interest and knowledge of games, in case that ever came in handy on the job hunt.

I remember looking at job postings for game writers and trying to imagine what the ideal resume would say. Some items I could already check off the imaginary list — literature degree, freelance writing background, some amateur fiction awards (yeah, I really thought those would help) — but the missing piece was current writing, and anything connected to games.

Filling in that puzzle piece was what led to this blog. Now, I knew that just writing about video games could become a drag. I didn’t want to limit my subject matter too much and run out of things to say. But I’ve always been interested in science fiction and fantasy — reading Dune and Lord of the Rings in middle school, and at that time binge-watching watching Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek on my lunch breaks — so I decided to expand the blog’s subject matter to include that. That’s when I created Robo♥beat.

The name was weird. I don’t even remember how I came up with it, but I figured it didn’t matter. I would just blog a few posts and play with the layout, and then start a new blog with the real name I wanted, and the perfect layout. Robo♥beat was a test run.

But people read the very first Robo♥beat post. And the second. Obviously I wasn’t getting crazy traffic or anything — but just getting a comment here and a like there so early on was beyond encouraging. Especially after that lonely little history blog. And not only that, people were subscribing to Robo♥beat, which meant I couldn’t abandon them just to start a near-identical blog with a different name.

So the name stayed, the blog is the same, and here I am six years later, still writing.

My Life Today

Tons has changed in my life since I started this blog.

For one thing, I got an unpaid position writing game news and reviews at the geek/otaku website Population GO for a while, right after I started blogging. That helped lead to an internship at a company that writes video game manuals for companies like PlayStation and EA, among other projects. After the internship, I was hired on full-time; I stayed there for over three years. And then, due to my work with PlayStation through that company, I found a job at PlayStation. I’ve been here since 2017, and I really love it. I may not be writing for games, but I’m doing something that I love in the industry, and that feels like a dream come true to me.

Working in the games industry does make it harder to write personally about video games on a public platform like this. Robo♥beat is a little tiny blog in the grand scheme of things, and I’m sure it’s obvious that this is a personal effort — so opinions are my own. But out of professionalism and respect for this industry, I don’t want to constantly favor certain games over others, or criticize a game when I may meet or even work with its developers or publishers. There’s also confidentiality, which makes waiting to talk about something until it’s public knowledge feel disingenuous at times. Besides that, I used to game a good 15 hours a week — now that number has dwindled to maybe five hours, and sometimes less.

For those reasons, I’m going to be backing away from the subject of video games on this site. I’ll still write about them once in a while — especially those far removed from my job — but I’d like to take this time to refocus my writing on what I’m currently interested in.

The Future…

I started this blog in my mid-20’s, before I knew what path my career would take. Or my life, for that matter. I played video games for hours every weekend, and always after work. Then I watched TV until I went cross-eyed. It was glorious, but it’s not my life anymore.

32511116 - headphones on the old book. concept of listening to audiobooks.
My life now revolves around audiobooks…

Now I’m in my early 30’s, getting married this year, and spending a totally different percentage of my time on entertainment. Now, my main entertainment is audiobooks, which I listen to on my commute to work. I also exercise a lot more than I used to, because health is important and let’s just say my metabolism has changed a bit since I was 23. My goals don’t revolve around finishing X number of games per year anymore; now, I want to run a 10K or focus on the novel I’m writing so I can actually publish it someday soon.

In my What’s New posts each month, I talk about all of these things. I don’t shy away from personal topics, and even discuss vacations and wedding planning and all of that stuff that makes up my life nowadays. But this will never be a vacation or wedding blog. It won’t be a personal diary, as I’m more interested in exploring topics than talking about myself.

I just want to shift focus a tad, adjusting course so I can keep this blog afloat. Part of why I haven’t been posting as often as I used to is because my attention has been on other things, which aren’t related to what I typically write about here. But Robo♥beat is my baby, my outlet, and so if anything, I think it’s time to change things up and have this blog reflect who I am now — not who I was six years ago.

I’ll still be blogging and science fiction and fantasy, and even the occasional video game. But in an effort to make this blog feel more effortless for me, I want it to be a natural extension of my lifestyle — what I’m really spending my time on, and what I enjoy. What I discuss here may never be extremely personal, but I still want it to make me happy, and that is very personal.

In short, things are changing. But you might not even notice. Robo♥beat will keep on going. You might see fewer video game posts and more new content, but it’s still me, and I’m still a geek. :)

… and Thank You

Thanks to everybody who follows this blog and reads these posts. It means so much to me to be able to connect with everybody on here and talk about all of our common interests. This blog would not still be here if it weren’t for you, and I’m happy to keep it skipping along. ♥

— Ashley

8 thoughts on “Blogging Update: New Ideas for Robo♥beat”

  1. I’m in a similar place, I guess, though I don’t think I’m as far along in life as you are. But a lot has been changing in my life lately, and while I don’t think I’ll ever abandon my hobbies, gaming and reading and such has fallen to the wayside a bit. I’ve been having a bit of trouble figuring out what to do with Superior Realities as a result. I don’t want the blog to die, but it’s harder to find topics worth discussing.

    Anyway, it’s good to hear you’ll keep blogging. I’ll miss seeing more gaming posts from you, but your thoughts on other topics are usually pretty interesting, too, so I’m sure it will work out.

  2. I’m glad you’ll keep going here, even if you switch up your topics. In the end, blogging is really about writing and sharing, and they are extensions of ourselves. As we change and adapt in the world, it only makes sense that one’s blogging purpose might change, too. Truly, one of the best things about a blog is that it evolves as you evolve. Congrats on your six years here, and happy blogging over the next six (and more)! :D

    1. Yeah, that’s a good way to look at it – a blog as an extension of yourself. It is such a fun hobby and really satisfying when you let it be what you want and need in any moment in time. That’s what I’m learning anyway! Thanks for reading and the kind words! :)

  3. That is fantastic! Oh wow! That is neat how things lead to another. I am slightly jealous of your job. ;P But that is fantastic! I am happy for you and look forward to any changes and to see how to go about it. ;P
    Have fun!

  4. It’s crazy not only how fast time flies but how much life can evolve over that span! I’m in a similar boat in terms of not being able to play everything all the time like I used to.

    Also, congrats to your blog and upcoming wedding!

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