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If you’re considering starting a blog — and you want it to last more than the average of 100 days — then I think it important to discover your motivation. Not because there are necessarily any right or wrong answers. But rather so that when the going gets tough you have something a little more concrete to pull out and examine — and hopefully — see you through the other side.
It’s OK to start on a whim and discover your motivation though. Or to start with one motivation and discover another.
That’s essentially what I did with Time to Loot. I thought I’d returned for the reason of covering a singular title that had somehow busted through my armor of jaded cynicism and turned my hype dial to 11.
I’d initially registered a very Anthem specific domain. But even if we had found Anthem to be everything we hoped for — going with such a specific name would have been a mistake. And also? Anthem would have been my ‘what’, and not a longer term motivation or ‘why’.
Incidentally, Belghast has a whole post on finding a blog name and blog purpose (from a content type perspective) now. But that is a bit of a different discussion from the one I want to follow.
The Content You Cover Isn’t Your Motivation
Or at least, for most of us it won’t be. If you’re blogging about environmental issues or for political activism, then it might be. But for those of us covering gaming, general geekery or even writing and the like — the content we cover is just a vehicle.
Our ‘why’ might be to improve our own writing. Or to document a learning journey. Or in the cases of social issues and similar — perhaps the ‘why’ is to inform and affect change.
My own motivation I didn’t discover until I’d been back at blogging for a month or so.
First — the elephant in the room: I’d be a giant pants on fire liar if for a moment I tried to claim I didn’t want to build a readership. Of course I do. But I feel pretty strongly that this needs to be a background reason and not the primary driver.
For me discovering my motivation was akin to an epiphany. I’ve been on the internet a long time, and have been playing games for the vast majority of it. I have memories of amazing events going back to Asheron’s Call, or heck — even perhaps playing as a clan in QuakeWorld: Team Fortress.
But that history is nebulous and undocumented.
There are people I have lost touch with that I valued a great deal but are now lost forever to me.
I don’t want to look back in 10, 15, 20 years from now and feel the same pain, having made the same mistakes as I have over the last 20 or so. That’s my motivation. That, I think, is the key difference between this blogging effort and my past efforts.
I can’t predict the games or content I will cover, but I can be confident in my motivation and desire to keep a record of it to live on throughout.
So that’s mine. It might be yours as well. It might not be. There’s nothing wrong with having a dream of one day being able to monetise your blog and have it supplement or even replace your income. There’s nothing wrong with simply wanting to become internet-famous, either. But will that see you through the tough times of getting started when it feels like such goals are a million miles away?
If there’s one takeaway from this:
Your motivation for doing this crazy blogging thing is a ‘Why’ not your ‘What’.
Your content can change. You should pretty much count on it changing.
Ask any long term blogger and most of them will tell you their blog has been repurposed or reimagined to some extent over the years it has been alive.
This isn’t to say your ‘Why’ can or never will change, over the long term we tend to shift and change as people after all. But they’re not the same and understanding your why, is something I firmly believe to be required to create a blog that lasts.