It’s hard to believe that Checkpoint has existed for over 2 years (although yes, the first post that exists here before my cull is July 2020) and I tell you what, time has flown. Checkpoint has always felt like it has been something that has been lurking on the peripheral of my mind for much longer, but I am planning for 2022 to be the year it embeds itself as a crucial part of my life. It was always about taking some time to talk about things I enjoy and sharing my thoughts on a variety of topics in the hopes of getting people along for the ride. This year’s renewed focus on the site is hopefully going to aid in its growth and evolution across the coming months into something more than a simple blog.
I want Checkpoint to become an extension of my learning from my new role as well – as I become better at working with digital content I want to understand how to better optimise this site so that you readers can have the best experience when you come to see what I have to say. So as much as this site is a labour of love for the various topics I will be discussing, it will also be a way that I can refine my skills and learn as I go.
The aim for 2022 is to reinforce the two main parts of Checkpoint; The Blogs and The Streams, in a way that makes them reliable and cohesive aspects of the site. Although these are the primary focus, if time is permitting these two parts of the site will then be supported with YouTube content, Social content and Charity work. Of course, I have a brand new role that I started in December that I am still learning the ropes to but the plan I have for this year allows me to develop both Checkpoint and my role through-out the year.
The backbone of Checkpoint is the blog, so I need to make sure that into 2022 I am getting a blog out to you readers at least once a week. I have a plan to get this underway, which involves writing several ahead of time and then scheduling them in and then leaving time for more time specific posts (film reviews, breaking announcements etc). The first blog (after this one) will land on 5th January with subsequent blogs landing every Wednesday. Although these blogs will be discussing things like video games and TV shows as they have in the past I also want there to be more to it; no doubt you will see many of my Spider-Man theories and Pokémon posts, but I also want to talk about how these impact me and others that I know. There will be more to come on how to play Video Games as a Parent (you can see my last one here) for example as well as other ‘original content’ but I also want to start bringing in other people too so you will start to see interviews with friends and family on how these activities have helped them, and sometimes how they haven’t. Afterall, I am not aspiring to be the next IGN, rather a place that talks to the human side of Pop Culture and how it has shaped those around me.
I love good content and I enjoy reading articles that make you think and influence your view on things, so I want to get better at that aspect of my skillset too. Coupled with my work on SEO, I want to be able to create great content that doesn’t just inform and entertain but also allows me to grow and develop new skills and techniques. In my writing I am still trying to find my right personal ‘tone’ as well as other things like the ‘goldilocks length’ of a blog and the language I should be using so no doubt there will be variations between posts but hopefully I will find my stride in time. So I ask that if you do read this (if you are this far it’s a good start) then please also feedback on my posts (good or bad) as this will allow me to develop further, personally and professionally. If something looks ugly, tell me. If I could have formatted better, or written less, then let me know. It all helps me understand better what sort of things are interesting – what makes you click on the post and then what makes you stay and read on!
Finally, to put my blog aim for the year into perspective, in 2021 I posted 17 blogs… in 2022 I am looking at over tripling this to 52 (one a week) so its going to require some serious planning and preparation on my side! But I have a number to work to and I start ticking those off from 5th January!
If the backbone of Checkpoint is the blog, then the chubby face is the streaming side. I was considering not tying streaming into Checkpoint as it can be as time consuming as blogging, and arguably more exposing, but over the past few months I have come up with a schedule that keeps me busy working on both without (hopefully) jeopardising either. I have tested the set up and the layout and equipment works so that’s a start and although I can qualify for Twitch Affiliate, I am holding off on signing up until I am confident the routine works. I am not a professional streamer and I wouldn’t say that I feel super comfortable on camera but it is another skill I would like to work at and one I am hoping to hone in time. The pandemic has certainly got us used to being on camera more, but managing a community and chat while playing a game is a little different to remembering to put a t-shirt on at the start of a business call. However, it offers the other side of content and community building that blogging doesn’t; an immediate response and real time discussion. I am hoping that tying blogging and streaming together creates an element of cohesion between my various channels and allows for me to get to know you all a bit more.
With that in mind, I am looking at streaming three days a week for about 60 – 90 mins or so, so people can pop in and say hi etc and maybe even moan at me about my fresh takes from some of the blogs. In my 2022 plan I had said I would stream 104 times in the year; if I keep to the below I will manage 156 streams but this allows for some wiggle room for time off and in case the Sunday Roast breaks me down to my very raw and exposed core…
- Sunday Roast Ryan – A much requested session where the audience can roast me… they also want me to eat a roast dinner but for now I think the name is enough... first stream expected 9th Jan at 8pm GMT continuing on every Sunday.
- Mellow Mondays – After a roasting the aim is to play mellow games such as Stardew Valley or the Sims to relax after the week has just started. Scheduled in for Mondays at 8.30pm GMT with the first round on 10th Jan.
- Tactical Thursdays – As the week draws to a close I will be playing tactical games, starting with XCOM 2 and this is scheduled for, you guessed it, Thursdays. Starts 13th Jan and 8.30pm.
As I get to grips with routine more and start to strike a better work life balance, an aspiration for 2022 is to hold/host/participate in another Charity Event. In previous years I have been part of plenty of 24 Hour Charity Streams for example so this may be something that I look to replicate either solo or with friends this year. My friends over at TripleXP Podcast would no doubt be interested in doing something like this so its on the cards for sure this year however the details need to be ironed out. We may also look to do something completely different so watch this space! My aim would be for this to happen around October 2022 to give us time to plan and create something that is great for you to watch but also raises awareness for the supported charity we choose.
In terms of chosen charities, there are so many incredible causes out there that this will also need to be something to be chosen in the planning stages. If you have any that are close to your heart please let me know and I can look into it!
There is already a lot on the cards for Checkpoint this year, however there are a few other aspects that I would like to dabble into if I get the chance to across. Some of these go hand in hand with the Blogging, Streaming and Charity work and some represent other opportunities to develop new skills.
- Discord – this was something that I have been working on when I get time to but I also don’t want to kick it off until I believe it is the right time to launch it. Ideally this will serve as a chat/social space that ties together the blog and streaming allowing people to join the chat and chat with each other.
- Asset Creation – currently, for Sunday Roast Ryan I am working on photoshopping my face onto a turkey. It won’t be pretty but it will serve its purpose. However, I would love to also be able to create my own basic assets to help spruce up the streams and blogs!
- YouTube – this would make the semi-permanent Twitch a little more permanent where I could clip & cut parts of my streams and maybe even make the vlogs into video form as well. This will require me to learn video editing etc too so again its a nice to have but not a guarantee this year!
This will be a big year for Checkpoint and a lot of content for me to create. I won’t lie, as I type it up it’s an ambitious quantity for an amateur, part time content creator (not sure I even qualify as this yet) but it’s a challenge I want to take on. With the right routine and schedule its doable but, much like last year, I wonder what my Personal Performance Review (here’s 2021s) will say – did I succeed or fail? Here’s to 12 more months of the blog! See you at the next Checkpoint!
Happy New Year and welcome to 2022!