Another day where I am not quite so sure what to post, so I’ll be digging in to the Blaugust topic of the week and talk about staying motivated to write.
The challenge for me is that I tend to want to write when something is either very right or very wrong for me in a game, and more the latter than the former. When launch windows are in effect, I’ll post very little because I’m not sure where I land on the game’s quality yet. I posted very little FFXIV content during Shadowbringers launch recently, and this time last year I had only barely returned to writing more seriously about World of Warcraft after BfA had started to run into a wall for me.
But I can dive deeper than that, and discuss what motivated me to write in the beginning, where I lost that motivation, and what brought it back.
I’m going to do an editor’s note here and say that when I originally wrote this, it grew to over 2,000 words and also managed to include recaps of 3 years worth of both FFXIV and WoW news. Needless to say, I can deliver a simpler version of this post, so I am going to!
I started this blog in February 2017, and 2019 is the most consistent year I’ve had for it. Why’d I start writing? Well, only my relationship with my girlfriend was going right for me – I was stuck in an awful job, living in a shabby run-down home with people who didn’t care how they lived, and my 2016 run at pro wrestling training didn’t go how I wanted it to, so my investment in my physical health had fizzled out and my mental state due to that failure was pretty bad.
Writing is something I’ve felt like I’ve always done somewhat well, and I was yearning to talk about games in a meaningful way for an attentive, engaged audience, and to have something to take pride in.
My starting point was how-to’s and guides about playing Vengeance Demon Hunter in WoW. I wasn’t an expert, so it tended towards being neutral-voice articles recapping the class and spec abilities and how to use them. I was talking a bit about my gameplay, and rolling in some PTR news and analysis, but I was struggling to find my voice and I stopped pretty quickly.
Alunaria discovered my blog and gave me my first big break – posting about finding my content, linking me to her followers, and being one of my earliest commenters. When I came back and saw that, I was excited to have found a footing, and resumed writing.
I had come back to see it in part because of the launch of FFXIV’s Stormblood expansion, and together, those things reignited my blog. In 2017, I did a leak analysis for 8.0 (the leak; of course, was complete rubbish) which got linked to MMO-Champion’s forums and NeoGAF, both sites’ commenters treating it fairly well! Finding an audience lit a powder keg for me, and coupled with improvements in WoW’s gameplay and content and the newness of everything to me in FFXIV, coupled with the new content, it was exceedingly easy to find things to write about.
Basically, at this point, I find motivation to write in a few ways:
1. Knowing that people read it, think about it, and discuss it – and sometimes, MMO sites bigger than mine use my posts as fodder for discussion!
2. Being able to give voice to the things I like/dislike about my current games in a way that breaks down why I feel the way I do makes my game time more engaging and fun.
3. I get a decent volume of good, thoughtful comments which give me new insights – insights I can only access by writing and publishing.
4. Outside of #1, it is validating on multiple levels to write and be read, especially given that the other video game content creation I’ve done in the past had no real audience.
5. At this point, I feel like I’ve found my groove in writing, and when I’ve felt that in the past, it has also rapidly grown and I’ve expanded that groove and my audience with it, and it has been fun to expand my style to sucker people into reading my other hobbies (like that time I compared WoW to pro wrestling!)
6. Personal development is key for me, and one of the things I often struggled with as an introvert is communication. I wasn’t raised in a setting where what I had to say mattered much, and my first relationship was also not a great environment for me to communicate within – so in the time since that relationship ended in 2013, something I can safely say I’ve gotten a lot better at is communicating. Writing about games, and defending my positions when applicable, is something that stretches my ability to communicate in a positive way. It has been good for me personally to have that stretch. So was stand-up comedy – which I have done! – but writing on a blog is less nerve-wracking, at least.
7. Cultivating excitement is something I enjoy doing. I tend to be the hype-man among my friends and in my relationship, because I generally like being excited about things and being able to share that with others and hopefully get them excited. Writing about Shadowbringers was exciting – because it was an expansion that has played out very well so far. Writing about the backlogged titles I played during the post-Uldir raiding break was fun, because it was a chance to be excited about a non-MMO. Writing about wrestling is exciting, and you’re all lucky that I haven’t been able to draft the newbies guide to the new wrestling war, because if I had been able to distill that down, there would be a ton of stuff about All Elite Wrestling all over this blog! Maybe after their All Out pay-per-view this weekend, that will happen. Maybe. Take that as a potential warning!
Overall, while I do find a lot of outward motivation, in terms of seeing audience engagement, seeing my stuff on larger MMO sites, having interesting and detailed discussions in the comments, my primary source of motivation is internal. I feel glad to be able to write and to communicate in a way that people seem to like, generally. I’m glad to be able to share my vision and perspective with others even when there are disagreements. I’m glad to be able to learn of other perspectives like Wilhelm’s much more studied takes about MMOs, or Bhagpuss’ similarly studious knowledge of MMOs before my time in the genre. I’m glad that one of my first readers in Alunaria was so delighted with my content and always so joyfully engaged with the game – which makes her recent absence of new posts somewhat sad. For everyone else that comments regularly, I am also thankful – it makes it so much more interesting to write knowing that there is interest there.
One of my challenges for myself going forward, on a motivational front, is going to be to push myself to read more of everyone else’s content and to comment more frequently. I have a fair few posts that have been born from wanting to comment and writing about 10 pages too much, but I think that I could stand to be better about shorter, more thoughtfully truncated engagement! I do read everyone’s posts regularly – I even got back into playing SWTOR a bit because of Shintar! – but I don’t comment or relay that often enough.
Of course, the big challenge for me is that I’m likely to drop off the grid for nearly a month during my upcoming world trip (47 days away as I write this!), but since the end of said trip is my 10th outing at Blizzcon, well, I also imagine that I’ll spring back to life with a lot of things to say – hopefully about how good WoW 9.0 looks. It’s an odd-numbered WoW version, so surely it will be the next big thing and the expansion we all pine for when 10.0 comes out!