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Posts tagged “Blogging

Professional Writing Update 1: Entered A Short Story Competition

At the start of the month, I mentioned that I was going to get into professional writing and blogging. This month, I’ve taken my first steps towards that goal. I’ve gotten myself a new blog, where I talk about writing. I also have taken the plunge, written a short story and entered it to a short story competition. All in all, it’s been a busy month, but not as busy as I was hoping I would have made myself. Still, a start is better than no start, right? Read on to see what I’ve been up to.



I’m Becoming a Blogger For Hire

Have you ever wanted to write for a living? I think many of us have, even if it’s only a passing interest. I’m one of the many people who have wanted to do this, so, I guess this is my way of saying that I’m now a Blogger For Hire. But what does that mean, why did I get to this point and what sort of services can I offer? More importantly, if you were interested in doing something similar, what do you need to know?


Celebrating Five Years of GeekOut South-West

Holy smokes, I knew this year was my fifth year running this blog, but on Wednesday 19th, it was officially the anniversary of the website. Hurrah! No, there’s no time for cake, as I thought that was a perfect excuse for me to chat about everything that’s happened with us. The good, the bad (although there’s not really a lot of ‘bad’) and of course, the outright amazing. All in all, it’s been five years of ups, so expect to see a lot of gushing about how excellent this has been… And hey – We’ll chat about the meetup and what that means to us, as well as future plans.


Writing In WordPress

Most, if not all of us have heard the name WordPress, in fact if you’re here you may notice the words “Blog at WordPress” somewhere near the bottom. It’s been a long-standing tool for bloggers and keen writers to get their work out into the world, and with a bit of careful effort noticed there too. It’s also a fairly functional means of producing a quick and easy website for those of us with only rudimentary programming skills, with a wide selection of modifiable themes and plugins that can be put into play to make your WordPress site stand out from the many millions of other WordPress sites there are out there (about 74.6 million). (more…)

Blogging – Why I dun did it

They say reflection is a form of mental processing, so when I think about it, it’s only logical that I would finally do an article on why I started to blog and why I think you might want to consider it too. After all, it’s not like I produce the highest quality of articles, but I’d like to think the topics I touch upon are at least vaguely interesting to someone out there. Except perhaps my personal cosplay posts, those are a whole different beast.

We’re going to go quickly into the history of this website, along with the future of the site and what I believe are some universal truths about blogging. Hopefully someone out there will benefit from this knowledge from an “insiders point of view”, so if you benefited from it in some way, just leave us a comment and let me know.


The money

What money?!

I know a lot of people actually start blogs with the intention of making a lot of money off of their free blogs. If you start with the intention of making money, let me tell you now: You may make a couple of quid, but you’re going to win no friends this way. I’m not sure about all of you out there, but I think the majority of you will agree with me that networking is one of the coolest things in the world.

If you don’t believe me, welcome to GeekOut South-West, a website built around the concept of having a geek social group. We exist: 450+ members of us. We have over 930 Twitter followers and rising. We have over 130 of you on Facebook too. We thank each and every one of you for every click, every like, every share you do of our little corner of the internet and don’t think that’s me just trying to appease our regular readers.


GeekOut Bristol - May 8th

GeekOut Bristol – May 8th

This is from the bottom of my heart – I honestly love seeing the, albeit small, sense of community we have here on this website… But more to the point, I love the community spirit of the greater blogosphere. Whilst all of this is great, it’s not why I started blogging, so now let’s go back and look into why I started blogging.

Ayacon Apocalypse 2013

Those of you who know the website well enough will be aware of the events of Ayacon, all the way back in 2013. This was when I first met Joel and this was actually a sort of prequel to the story of this website. Before this website… No, before Ayacon… I was really in a rut. There was nothing for geeks here in Bristol, not really. Now, suddenly, Bristol has exploded with geek activities and events… But let’s talk about this site.

When I begun, there was very little here in Bristol. The highly praised and much loved Bristol Video Game Social wasn’t a thing. Bristol Bad Film Club was still quite new, as they started around summer 2013 (to my knowledge). Other than this, we already had the amazing BristolCon… If I’m going to be brutally honest: Other than the Bath and Bristol RPG Meetup Group… There really wasn’t much else! I mean we had some cool shops, but that’s about it.

It was bleak, very bleak. So back in late 2013, I thought to myself that I would give myself a little bit of a run for my money. After Ayacon 2013, I needed to see more people so positive, so ready to allow themselves to be freely geeky and freely up for chatting to other geeky people. I attribute a lot of this to my fellow GeekOut writer, Joel… More on that shortly.

At Ayacon, I went with a costume that was so bad, I refuse to link to it. I say it was bad, but people somehow recognised it. So, clearly, something was right about it. The nicest thing was: People cared. They wanted to talk to me about the costume and the things I had made. They wanted to know how things were made. They wanted to know the cost. Everything. It wasn’t just one or two people: It was tens of people. A lot to me.


From humble beginnings...

From humble beginnings…

I knew these people had to exist in my home town of Bristol, so I thought to myself: How can I bring a convention feeling to the every day of Bristol, without running a full blown convention every single month? Simple: I had to form a social group.

Quotes from the Tabletop

Occasionally in life, you meet someone who far exceeds your expectations. Joel was this person and if he reads this, I hope you don’t feel so mushy about this post. Joel was a large part of why GeekOut South-West was even brought to life. I’ve told countless stories of this, but it bares repeating. One of our most important partner sites, Quotes from the Tabletop, is one of the pivotal points of this websites fledgling life.

When I met Joel, he was an incredibly enthusiastic individual who came literally rushing over to me and my friend Rob. I was wearing a shirt that I’m wearing as I write this post (don’t worry, I’ve washed it between then and now). It says: “I KNOW KARATE (And like 2 other Japanese words” I put a blonde wig in as my cosplay was completely destroyed… and I put a blue band around my head. Why? Because I was just having fun at the event and you know – it was funny to me.


When Joel rushed over to us, he wanted to chat to us about everything geeky and that to me was something I aspired to see more of. More positivity, more unification of a geekified world… So after I grabbed some details off of him, I bugged him day and night. No, really: I did. I bet he got fed up with having a little me bugging him whenever I felt like it. I set up the initial website of GeekOut… But never did I expect to get anywhere near the numbers that we received. The positivity of the scene alone was something I had always wanted to see.

I set the website up, I started to blog and when we got big enough: I asked Joel if he’d like to get involved. Interestingly, I think because of our friendship, he started to watch the website more and more. It was good to have a second pair of eyes, an ally, as it were, in my quest to bring a more geek front to the UK – Even if my initial reaction was to bring more of it to the south-west. Eventually, we’d like to expand and have more events happening across the UK… But this is a way off yet.

The point to take away from this is: You must always begin with a goal in mind. You need to have a reason to start a blog. Are you a gamer? Why not start a blog about your favourite video games and all of the really cool things you know about them that not everyone does? How about a writer? You need to have a blog about your upcoming releases! A blog can change someone for the better… So this begs the question:

How you can start blogging

This post focused on the life of GeekOut, which is more or less how I expected it to be, but I want to send you away with a positive lesson out of all of this. You’ll notice I’ve mentioned that I didn’t start this for money. I didn’t even think a site like this could make money (for the record, we’re currently not making money. A lot of expenses comes out of my own pocket!)

Don’t let costs of anything deter you. You don’t have to pay a penny to run a WordPress blog. In fact, it can even make you money for absolutely nothing if you really must earn money off of it. But what I want you to take away from this post is that you need to find a subject that not only are you passionate about, but you think others will be interested in too.


A writer doesn’t usually write just for themselves… Although I’ve known a few writers write just because they enjoy writing. If you’re one of these people, do it. If you’re not one of these people who writes because they like to write, you don’t need to matter yourself too much. I don’t write for the sake of being a writer, I’m afraid to tell you all. I write because I believe people will read it… and people will come together, even if my writing isn’t the most riveting of prose written.

I hope you feel that you’re passionate about a subject enough to start writing. If you’re already a writer: Why did you start? Let’s talk about what makes someone a blogger, or a writer, and let’s share it with the world. Are you new to blogging and looking to other blogs for the first time? Share your experiences in the comments below, over on Twitter and Facebook.

Happy New Year from Timlah

Me and Joel discussed what we would do for our Happy New Year post, welcoming in 2015 and we decided we’d split up and do a separate post. Once you’ve finished reading my post, please do go check out Jaberwock Joel the Jemmy’s look at the year ahead of us. Yes, I just called Joel a nonsense crowbar because he’s great at bludgeoning the rubbish out of the best of us. Including me, it would seem. To think, I’ve not even begun my new years celebrations yet.

We could have done these posts on New Years Day itself, I mean you’d think that’d be a better way to welcome in the new year, right? But no… We figured we’d look at what was going to be a fantastic year coming up, offering what we’re most looking forward to and what we’re hoping to achieve this year.


My 2015 plans

Let’s begin with the thing that really made GeekOut South-West come into existence: Conventions.

So far, I’ve got 5 conventions in the works for 2015:

LAGC header

London Anime and Gaming Con this February – I’ll be on the reception team, so please do swing by if you’re going to that event and please say hello to me. I’d love to see you there and you should join the Shonen Heroes team, since heck – I am an awesome hero there. Not only this, some of the GeekOut South-West group will be there at London Anime and Gaming Con! Come make yourselves known to us.


After LAGC, I’ll be attending EGX Rezzed with the 1001-Up crew. I’ll be there as a member of press and I’ll make every effort to go and speak to anyone and everyone about upcoming games. Not only this though, I’ll be speaking to the cosplayers of EGX Rezzed and let’s see what I can throw together for my part of the deal. Hurrah for Rezzed!


Next up, I’ve got Kitacon, where I will be joining Joel and many others. Originally Kitacon was going to be available for registration as of January 1st at midday, but they have suffered a technical set-back. Nevermind, the team were diligent enough to tell us in advance that this has been pushed back to Thursday 8th at 18:00. So please do come join in and come meet up with me and Joel! We’ll… Sign your… Things..? Wait, that’s the silliest idea ever! But do come and make yourselves known to us and chat geek with us!

Then there’s a combination of Cardiff Anime Convention in August and then Bristol Anime Convention in October. I believe I will be the head of the registrations team for the Bristol Anime Convention and I will be on the registrations team again for Cardiff, so please do come and say hello – Yes, GeekOut South-West are officially involved with conventions now! We’re super excited to be bringing some smaller, local conventions to the scene!

BristolCon 2015

Last but certainly not least there’s BristolCon which I intend to take the group to once more. It’s a fantastic experience and I’m considering doing a panel on Sci-Fi and Cosplay. If you can make it to Bristol and this sounds interesting to you, please let me know in the comments below, or if you think there’s a topic I’d be better suited for that should be covered, let me know! I think the local Bristol conventions need to be made aware of the presence of cosplay, why we do it and more importantly: How it can help any/all geeky scenes out there.

What about GeekOut’s plans?

Some of these things I have been keeping close to my chest, so close that maybe even Joel doesn’t know of some of it… So here we go:


One thing about blogging is you have to pay close attention to the demand for your website. Whilst we’re not quite ready yet to be moving to self-hosting, it’s an option that’s ahead of GeekOut South-West. We’re looking towards a bright future, but this means we’ll need to move to our own hosting service. I’m keen to stick to WordPress, but moving away from the platform will be a big leap. We’ll see if we make it there in time next year.

You’d have noticed if you’re a regular reader of this website that we had an advent calendar which wasn’t so spectacular. The original idea was to have windows set up for each and every day, so that every day it would open automatically and show the post behind it. There was no way to do this via our current WordPress hosted server, so if we want to do anything as ambitious as that in future, we’ll seriously need to consider moving to the .org platform.

Mobile development

Android_logo apple_logo

Anyone who has seen our mobile website will be aware it’s not the prettiest one in the world. It’s pretty ugly. So I’m working on making mobile more optimised and better looking for everyone, as well as looking at potential other avenues for mobile technologies to get involved, perhaps with integrated Meetup features.

I’ll keep everyone informed as to what’s happening, of course!

More content

Yep, this one was a given, but it’s important to note that we’ll be keeping our posting schedule up as hard and as fast as we have been. We believe geek culture has so much to discuss, so we want to chat about it all! We also wouldn’t mind getting more people guest posting for us, much like our friend Kevin Kutlesa has. Please do get involved if you feel you have an article that you want a platform to launch off of!

Also, do note: I’ll be doing a return soon. More on that later in the week.



What are your plans for the new year? Any resolutions that you have made? Anything particularly geeky that you’re interested in this coming year? As always, please comment below and remember to check out Joel’s New Years post!

Merry Christmas – Timlah

Merry Christmas ladies and gentlemen, readers of GeekOut South-West and new readers alike. You’re the very reason why a post even exists today; We thought we’d reflect on what was good about this year so far. So whilst Joel looks to make years the best he possibly can make them, what did I think about 2014 in general?

It started with a bit of a whimper if I were to be honest. I just set GeekOut up and I was already nervous about where do I go from here? How often should I post? Will people care or even enjoy what I have to say? Then I realised: This is blogging, if people don’t like it, they’ll generally respond by not responding at all – Which was great news for me! I was ready for whatever the world threw at me then… But I never expected to have the year I had.


Becoming a… Level Designer

Building your own world in a 3D environment is what hundreds of youngsters wish they could do, yet few make that step from dreamer to practitioner. Why in this day and age do they not make the first step towards fulfilling their dreams which isn’t so hard to fulfil really confuses me. Alas, I am not them and they are not me.

When I was a child, I took a major interest in games development as a whole. It’s not hard to get into and as a child I made my own variants of Tetris, Pong, Space Invaders – You name it! However now-a-days, it’s even easier still. When I was growing up, the internet was inevitably around but was nowhere near as accessible as it is now. So the burning question is: How do I get started with making my own games… Professionally?

Becoming a

If you’ve read my articles on Game Development on a Budget over at 1001-Up, we will be covering a lot of lost ground. This is going to be a supplementary series to that one. If you’ve not checked them out, please do. Your comments would be appreciated.


Becoming a… 3D Modeller

Building your own world in a 3D environment is what hundreds of youngsters wish they could do, yet few make that step from dreamer to practitioner. Why in this day and age do they not make the first step towards fulfilling their dreams which isn’t so hard to fulfil really confuses me. Alas, I am not them and they are not me.

When I was a child, I took a major interest in games development as a whole. It’s not hard to get into and as a child I made my own variants of Tetris, Pong, Space Invaders – You name it! However now-a-days, it’s easier still. When I was growing up, the internet was inevitably around but was nowhere near as accessible as it is now. So, the burning question is: How do I get started with making my own games?


If you’ve read my articles on Game Development on a Budget over at 1001-Up, we will be covering a lot of lost ground. This is going to be a supplementary series to that one. If you’ve not checked them out, please do. Your comments would be appreciated.


Bristol-Con – Are you in?

Bristol-Con is an annual one day convention held in the heart of Bristol. Not surprising, since it is called Bristol-Con.

Bristol-Con looks to promote Sci-Fi and Fantasy, giving authors, artists and even game enthusiasts a chance to get together. There’s great chances to network with other authors/artists, as well as being able to showcase your works.

Held in the Doubletree Hotel which is basically just across the road from Bristol Temple Meads train station, Bristol-Con will start in the morning, hosting panels and activities throughout the day until the evening.

If you’re an author or are an artist and you’re looking for exposure, then Bristol-Con might just be the place for you. Also, if you’re part of the general public like me, then you’d be amazed at the series of informative panels, activities and stuff they sell in shops.

Also, this year it looks like Bristol-Con are taking Sci-Fi and Fantasy games a lot more seriously. As an avid gamer myself, I have to thank them for this. For more information on this, please check out their official post on the matter.

This year however, they weren’t prepared for one thing.


GeekOut South-West are taking to Bristol-Con

Yes it’s true, Bristol-Con and GeekOut South-West have been in discussions and the amazingly lovely Jo Hall has offered us a severely discounted price (providing you are part of GeekOut South-West on Meetup.)

Click the logo to be taken to our Meetup page!

Click the Meetup logo to be taken to the GeekOut going to Bristol-Con event!

The wonderful people at Bristol-Con have given us a special discounted rate of £15 for between 10-20 people or £12 for more than 20 people. We can’t go wrong with these prices as normally it’s £25 to buy a ticket or £30 on the door!

As such, they’ve offered us a better than half-price deal. Thanks guys!

To make this event even sweeter, they’ve teamed up with the amazing Bristol Bad Film Club to deliver all Bristol-Con goers a chance to watch an awful film called The Uninvited. This is about a killer cat. Okay, I’m sold.

Please note, if you come for the GeekOut session, we’ve not gotten a deal on the bad film, which if you pay in advance is £5. If you pay on the door, it’s £6 and profits go to charity.

We’ll end the night on a high by going to a pub, but I think we’ll leave the pub decision until the very end of the day when we can all decide together what/where we want to do and go. It’ll be a long day, full of laughs, talks and I’ll bring some card games. Oh gosh, I didn’t mean Zombie Fluxx again did I?! I’ll need to get some new games!!

Oh yeah and I might have said I’ll be getting dressed up as Twoflower, probably closer to the movie version.

Yes, I’ll be making a case for my actual camera to do those kinds of shots.


I’m getting all tear-y eyed

It feels strangely apt that I make this post today…

You see, exactly one year ago, I joined WordPress. One of the first groups that I ever reached out to was in fact Bristol-Con. As such, I’d like to extend my thanks to you, old reader and new reader alike. I’d also like to thank Bristol-Con, including Jo Hall and Cheryl Morgan for being kind to this local Bristol geek and his idea of running a social group. I’d like to think GeekOut South-West is turning pretty successful with over 100 members on the Meetup page.

We joined Meetup in January this year and we’ve not looked back since. We’ve been on the up in all aspects, be it the social group and be it via the blog. As such, to everyone we’ve ever spoken to as a group: Thank you. No matter what your contribution was: Thank you.

Now that the grovelling is over, here’s to another many years of GeekOut South-West content and to many more years for Bristol-Con.

Do you like the looks of Bristol-Con? Have you been to it before or do you know of anything similar? As always, please do share your experiences in the comments section below and we’ll speak to you all very soon!