FTW: A look back at 2011 and ahead to 2012


Well this past year has been quite the ride. That's for sure. From putting the whole thing on hold to getting back into the swing of things and setting some definitive guidelines for myself and the site. I don't think there's much I've missed this year.

The FTW Blogger Group and Hobby Talk Network
The Group continues to grow each month. It seems like someone is always starting up a new hobby blog and I'm happy to see it. It means the hobby is thriving out there. From blogs that cover one army in particular to blogs that covering everything under the sun and then some.

It can be hard to find your voice out there with everything that's going on, but it's not impossible. There are lots of ways to get your new site noticed, I keep seeing new blog rings popping up all over the place.

The Hobby Talk Network was added as a new blogroll. To be honest, it was a selfish thing for me to do... I wanted a list of all the best podcasts in one place so I could keep up with them as they put out new content. They were kind enough to allow me to add their links and create the new podcast specific roll on FTW.

The look of the site
I think I've finally settled on a good look for the site and have reduced my work on it to some fine tuning every now and then. I'm still Archiving things and trying to find the best way to keep things accessible for folks. I hate when things are hard to find on a site and I'm sure other folks feel that way too.

I got to do some super cool things
I was fortunate enough to participate in the very cool Heroes of Armageddon Project and another smaller charity project for Race for the Cure. I haven't done much gaming this year. It seems like less and less actual playing these days and more modeling and painting.

I'm alright with that though, I find the building and painting aspect to be the most fun for me really. I just like to build cool things.

Commission work
Last year was a busy year for me. With all that I have going on, that's going to change some. I've put my commission work on hold for now. I have two small projects I'm trying to wrap up so I have free time to do some real world stuff.

It's back to college for me and I need the time to focus on my classes so that I do the best possible. It changes when you're footing the bill yourself. Once I get past that, I'll be picking up some occasional commission work here and there to fill my free time. Don't worry though, I have tons of stuff to post about!

So let's take a look at what 2012 holds then
The site has taken a few changes over the past month and will continue to evolve over the next few months as well. Since I won't be doing any more commission work for the near future, I'll be focusing on smaller projects that I can finish in a day or weekend at most when I have the free time.

Believe me, I'm at no loss for content at this point. I think I've got two months conservatively of stuff I want to post already. There's just so much out there. If you're one of those folks who have emailed me, I will get to your stuff.

So what am I going to be posting about
I'm going to be doing more things like following up on reader emails. Things where I can help folks out with the modeling and painting aspect of the hobby. I find those to be the most enjoyable and like to fill my time doing that kind of stuff. That and trying new techniques and such. That's fun too.

Like I said, it will be things I can get done in an afternoon or between a couple days as I get the time. I'm fairly comfortable with the 3 posts a week routine and barring some natural disaster, I plan on keeping to that schedule for the foreseeable future. I think it's a nice balance for me and allows me the time I need away from the site to do all that real world stuff.

The FTW Community and keeping track of it
Some of you may have already noticed that the Google Friend Connect widget is still at the bottom of the page. No big thing, but it won't be there forever. Word on the street is that Google is dropping the service for non-Blogger users around March sometime and then for all users later on in the year. What exactly will replace it... I don't know. Either way, the support you guys give me is tremendous and I am very grateful for it.

I think that little widget has helped bolster a good number of blogs and keep them going knowing that they do have Followers out there and someone is interested in what they have to say. It might seem trivial, but those kinds of things help out when you're getting started.

I've added a few ways for folks to keep track of FTW. Actually it's the way most of you keep track anyway. Through a reader (RSS) and then by getting the emails when new posts go up. So thank you for following me and thank you for the support. Maybe if Google offers up something new that fills the old Friend Connect void, I'll look at adding it to the site in the future.

As far as Twitter goes, I plan on trying to use that more for sneak peaks at what I'll be posting the following day or so. Sort of like an inside track for those who use Twitter regularly.

I'm also on Google+ now and want to thank everyone who added me to their circles. I've got all of you in the FTW circle now and add folks as they drop me into one of their circles. I'm planning on using Google+ as a way to talk about all the additional stuff I come up with between posts. Of course I'll have my blog posts on there, but I'm going to look at making my Google+ thing more of a discussion area instead of the hard and fast posting like the blog.

In summary
There's lots of cool stuff coming. The site has settled down, I've got a good routine in place, stress is low and I'm having lots of fun posting stuff.
Thank you all for the motivation!

UPDATE: This post is fairly old and FTW has since experienced a number of changes. Sometimes it's nice to look back at where you came from and where you're going.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
But what should I post about, I don't have anything...
Really, is your little blog worth it?
What's the purpose of your 40k blog?


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

10 comments:

  1. 2011 was quite a ride and I'm very glad that you got things settled with FTW. I think your posts have been they best they ever have and I can definitely tell that you are having fun and working on what's passionate to you which is great. Happy New Year to you and your family and thanks for keeping FTW going strong. It is honestly the single best hobby motivation out there for me and I greatly appreciate it!

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  2. Thanks for your help throughout 2011 Ron. Here's to 2012!

    Cheers
    Dave

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  3. Want to second what the harrower noted above. This year has seen some of your very best posts! Happy to know you, glad to follow, and so glad you painted some of my models. Happy new year!

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  4. Congrats on a Solid Year Ron!! Here is hoping that you stay on top of your game for all of 2012. You continue to do the online community a great service.

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  5. FTW will always be the absolute heart of this hobby network for me, and I thank you for it Ron, and for finding a way to keep it going that it doesnt feel like work, or harm your enjoyment gets a big thumbs up.

    often imitated, never bettered :)

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  6. Happy New Year Ron and thanks for all your help and inspiration over 2011

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  7. Harrower and Slate Blank: Thanks guys!
    I have some even better stuff (I think) in the works. They won't be big projects, but lots of killer small things.

    Dave: Here's to looking forward to this year and the new cool projects.

    Drkmorals: Thank you Sir, but you're still not getting a raise for the Spotlight column.

    Karitas: If you only knew... Thank you.

    IDICBeer: Thank you and I'm still working on that post. You have been a steady source of inspiration and posts for me this past year. Thank you for sharing your stuff.

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  8. Man lets hope 2012 is an entertaining affair with plenty of great things for our beloved hobby. I have to say Thanks to you personally for letting me be part of possibly the best gaming community where I've garnered inspiration from everyone here especially yourself. I hope you and everyone else has a great year ahead of them and look forward to seeing more=]

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  9. Long time lurker, just wanna say great site, read it almost every day. Great articles and source of inspiration.

    Happy New Year

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  10. vandalworks: Sounds like it will be. I appreciate your participation in the Group!

    Grimz: Lurkers are very important, thank you for stopping by each day.

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