The featured image I chose for this post is from the EXO One Demo, in which the craft you control can shift in shape and function in service to the art of soaring above it all- skimming across clouds when you can but hardening into a ball with heavy mass to plummet groundward when your airborne energy dips. Down below you go, with the hope of finding that next burst of momentum to get above it all.

Then there’s all the stuff about rescuing a bunch of astronauts and going through a journey into space and alien planets — but that doesn’t really further this discussion any, so let’s put all that to the side.

“If you need to go looking for motivation then you’re already in trouble. But then this week isn’t about “finding” motivation. It’s about “keeping” it. We’re assuming you had it to begin with and you haven’t lost it yet. It’s just beginning to slip away.”

Bhagpuss, Inventory Full – That’s Motivation! (2021)

I was reading Roger Edwards’ post, ‘Blogging: Do or Do Not‘ earlier today where only the first sentence of what I quoted from Bhagpuss there was referenced. Alone — and the point Roger then went to build around it — struck me a little discordantly and started the fire that has resulted in this post tonight. In amongst a day of work, I’m not sure I’ve really properly synthesised everything and so I’m falling back into my usual style of ‘thinking out loud’ as it were, onto the page here.

So who knows whether this will come out coherently in the end — but let’s find out together.

I should point out too — that respectively, Roger both specifies talking to the task of daily/regular blogging and Bhagpuss concedes without any necessary intervention on my part that what’s true for him isn’t universal. So this is less an argument, and more an expansion on the idea of individuality when it comes to motivation and enjoyment.

In the Moment vs. In Retrospect

Soaring High

This isn’t an entirely new conversation, in fact, Bhagpuss and I discussed it in the comments of last year’s Blapril — the difference in where we sourced our enjoyment in the act of participating in these events. Bhagpuss is, in my view, very fortunate. Fortunate because he is someone who takes great pleasure in the act of writing itself. Post by post and event by event. And it shows too — Bhagpuss’ prose is some of the best we have going, not least because of the underlying sense of fun; whether it is presenting as wry humour or something a little more exuberant.

For myself; that isn’t me. Not consistently, at least. It is the sort of grace I can perhaps touch once in a while before falling as Icarus. I’m not a writer. That’s a realisation I came to last year. Specifically, I don’t possess that innate drive to be writing. I don’t necessarily derive pleasure from the act of putting words to a page (although, sometimes I do)!

One of the things I said then, which I still believe to be true is:

I enjoy the benefits associated with blogging way more than actually putting these posts together. By which I mean — keeping in touch with the community; keeping track of my own history for later perusal; having an outlet to discuss my hobby of gaming… These are the reasons why for me.

Naithin, Time to Loot – I’m Not a Writer (2020)

Those are all true and good reasons and might form part of the motivational/enjoyment ‘package’ of blogging for you too, but there’s more.

Where Bhagpuss finds joy in the act of creation, I find joy in the act of having created. Of having a thing that took effort and work and seeing it done. To completion. Be that a simple post or an entire challenging (for me) event, like Blaugust.

I’m almost loathe to put blogging and these next things in the same mental basket; but the parallels hold true I think, so I will. As with exercise or eating healthy — sure, some people will find in the moment enjoyment in these things. A lot more people find the results, or the entire package of having done so, to be the satisfying and enjoyable element.

Blogging, as with those things, are endeavours almost certainly easier to maintain motivation for if you’re able to garner enjoyment as you go and in the very process of it all — but I think the part I’m somewhat rebelling against is the idea that if you don’t, you can’t be successful in these pursuits.

It perhaps just takes being a little more clear, even in your own mind, why on earth you would be doing it. What is driving you? What benefit are you getting out of it? Finding those reasons and then really holding them tight when the challenge starts to feel too much.

Mental Blocks Can Still Hit Us All

Breaking from the Exo One theme — this is Phrike, from Returnal. … I haven’t beaten it yet, but I will. I will.

And this has really been the focus of my advice this year. Recognition of the fact that it is stupidly easy to unwittingly build up additional barriers in a myriad of forms.

One of the most common forms is the building of unnecessary perceptions of obligation. I started this series- I must finish it. But I’m really not interested in the subject matter anymore. I must post three times a week! But I missed two posts already and I cannot possibly catch up. Final Fantasy posts are going really well right now! Ugh, but Elder Scrolls Online is looking particularly fetching this week.

Don’t believe it. Don’t let these things rule you. Your blog is yours and yours alone. Life happens. Minds change. Whatever the case may be, let it go and carry on.

You really can just carry on. No one will bat an eyelid. Honestly, it’s OK. Better by far to drop a particular ‘thing’ than the entire blogging endeavour instead.

Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway

One of our new bloggers from this Blaugust, Thyanel, wrote Staying Afraid — a piece that speaks to the amount of ‘self’ that can really go into producing content for the world at large. The insecurities that can easily follow.

It’s a post well worth reading for yourself, with a segue from a personal relation of this issue into Carrie Fisher / Princess Leia.

Mental blocks under this category can be immensely more difficult to work around and can steal the motivation and drive to post even from those who would otherwise fall happily in Bhagpuss’ camp of enjoying the act of writing in and of itself.

I don’t have a lot of additional advice to offer here beyond what Thyanel and Carrie Fisher suggested in the first place, but perhaps just a reinforcement of the encouragement that your voice does matter and you do deserve to have one.

So… “Staying” Motivated Then?

I think it’s a valid line of discussion.

I do not think anyone seeking a means of refilling their wellspring of energy in this regard is ‘in trouble’. It’s a more difficult road perhaps but not an unnavigable one.

Like the Exo Craft, it just takes a little bit of faith that in taking that rest and diving back toward the earth we can find that hill, that momentum, that motivation to take to the air and soar again, skipping with freedom over the clouds above for a time.


This was posted during Blaugust 2021, the annual blogging event hosted by Belghast. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year-round!


Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

8 Comments

Asmiroth · August 28, 2021 at 5:33 am

I’m in the discord on this, so it’s interesting to watch the month go by. The time commitment for Blaugust (or just blogging in general) is the killer for me. I get a lot done in what time I have, but it requires a significant amount of planning. I was reading Kayl’s post about his methods, and setting like 3 hours aside to get quality work done on that aspect. Even with COVID, I would greatly struggle to find that much free time to write at length. I’m certainly fascinated at how folks are able to pump out sensible material at 5k words, pretty much every day…

    Naithin · August 28, 2021 at 7:46 am

    Aye, the three hour block of time Kayl gives it is impressive! But as you mention, difficult to replicate. I might give a blog post three hours of writing sometimes, but it’s broken and disjointed time spanning the course of the day (or at least the evening), split between work, settling kid to bed, watching shows with wife, etc.

    Outside of Blaugust; that’s still my method and I still tend to post the same day I start writing a post — but I don’t do it every day, not by a long shot. xD

Nimgimli · August 28, 2021 at 6:49 am

I remember reading that and gasping. THREE HOURS every day? If I devoted 3 hour I’d do nothing but work the day job, take care of the family (such that it is), sleep and blog. Granted I am TERRIBLE at time management so maybe I’d have to get that sorted first. Still though, 3 hours is a lot of time to devote to something every day, at least for me.

    Naithin · August 28, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Just a note for anyone else: This looks to be a reply to Asmiroth’s comment. :)

    But what I will add directly in reply to this myself is that there is quite a difference between spending three hours (or even the more typical two that I get away with) spread across the day in writing a post vs. being able to do it as a contiguous and focused block. But like you, I don’t think the latter is even really an option for me most days, even now that we’re back into another COVID fueled lock-down.

Nimgimli · August 28, 2021 at 6:54 am

I’ve been struggling with the motivation bit this week, but we’re so close to the end and I have a stubborn streak so I think I’m gonna get it done. Just to say I did it. I don’t think I would do Blaugust a second time; I can’t say it has really been enjoyable, though like running a marathon (I guess, I’ve never run a marathon) I’ll take some pride in having done it once.

What I’m REALLY looking forward to is continuing to blog on my own terms, come Sept 1st!

For me it’s all the meta crap that I hate. I can spew out a post fairly quickly, but then excerpts and tags and finding an image and crafting a tweet for the auto-share. Blech. There are days when I spend twice as much time making a (bad) image as I do writing.

Come Sept 1st I’m just going to start telling inane stories on my blog. I can’t wait!

    Naithin · August 28, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Hopefully you do find that post-challenge ‘I did a thing!’ enjoyment, but most of all I’m glad it has revitalised, it seems, your interest in carrying on again after the fact.

    It had certainly been a wee while before this kicked off, which as a shame imo, and it’s been great having you back again!

    With you on the side stuff though — I’ve cut a lot of it, particularly images, right down. I rarely do custom title graphics, just slap an unedited screenshot in there. Who has time to adjust lighting levels or cropping just so any more? xD

bhagpuss · August 28, 2021 at 8:19 am

Thanks for the kind words and also for giving another point of view, one with which I completely agree. There’s huge value and satisfaction in setting a goal and meeting it, hence the immense pleasure in having written that Tipa referred to and I also feel every time I finally hit publish. Equally, it’s so important not to tie yourself up in imaginary, self-created bonds of obligation. It’s great to complete a goal but it’s just as great to realize you don’t have to. You are always allowed to change your mind.

What worries me a bit every year with Blaugust, and also at other times outside it, is when I sense people’s anxiety over missing self-imposed blogging targets (or gaming ones). I understand that it can be a problem to give up too quickly (or what you feel is too quickly) but the thing I try to emphasize is that blogging is very forgiving and very flexible. It’s not really all that time-critical. You can miss all the targets you set for yourself and people will still be there to read what you post when you get around to it. A blog on my blog roll flared back into life this week after six years of total silence and I read that post on the same day it appeared as I’m sure did plenty of others. A post like that pops just as fresh as one by someone like Belghast or Wilhelm who post almost every day without fail.

On the topic of how much time some bloggers spend writing, that is something I’d like to know more about. I was interested to see Kaylriene give a ballpark figure of 3 hours a day. He writes some of the longest posts I’ve ever seen and I would have guessed it had to be something like that if not more. Wilhelm also seems to have a word count that would suggest something similar although he does vary the length of his posts a lot. I generally take at least three hours, sometimes more, but for Blaugust I specifically have been trying to keep it down. Some days I’ve been finished in 90 minutes.

The thing is, I only work part time and I generally don’t post at al on days I work. For Blaugust I wrote a bunch of posts on the days I wasn’t working and saved them to use on the days I was. I am dropping to two days work a week soon (my choice – I am declaring myself semi-retired) so I should be able to post most days – but I’ll only do it if I’m enjoying myself. If it gets to feel like a chore or an obligation I will cut back.

Or make the posts shorter. God, I’d love to be able to do that! I’ve said many times, I would love to make the posts snappier or some of them, at least. I try it quite often but they always seem to get away from me. As a reader, ironically, a lot of my favorite posts from other bloggers are short and to the point. It’s a great skill, to be able to say what you want and then stop! If ever did manage to make them shorter, though, I would almost certainly just end up writing more of them!

    Naithin · August 28, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Everything you’ve written here, I agree with. If I was to focus in on one aspect in particular though, it would be: “What worries me a bit every year with Blaugust, and also at other times outside it, is when I sense people’s anxiety over missing self-imposed blogging targets (or gaming ones). I understand that it can be a problem to give up too quickly (or what you feel is too quickly) but the thing I try to emphasize is that blogging is very forgiving and very flexible. It’s not really all that time-critical.”

    This is ultimately the core of the message I want to get across too, and I know this is an aspect we’ve always been aligned on.

    Finding that balance is the tricky bit and if I was to adjust the messaging from what I’ve seen recently it wouldn’t be:

    “If your motivation dips; quit”

    It would be more along the lines of,

    “If your motivation dips; adjust”

    Quit a particular thing you’re doing or trying for sure, find something else that gives you more value. It might still result in needing to quit — for a time, perhaps, after which as you say; come back any time! — I just don’t think it should be the go to.

    And then the other core message here being one of the different ways in which people might garner enjoyment (and motivation) from this crazy hobby of ours. So many different reasons beyond the writing itself. :)

    As to time spent, I mentioned it in other comments but for my part I would say probably ~2 hrs goes in, on average, to a post. But it’s split time, rarely do I have a luxury of writing in a continuous chunk of time.

    Most often that is from life, but sometimes, even if I’m writing late into the evening when the others are asleep — it’s just my own distractibility; YouTube or Show on another screen, that kind of thing.

    Every once in a great while, might get into a flow state with it all — but very much the exception rather than the norm!

    As for your writing; speaking as a reader I don’t think you need to dramatically cut down on length. But I do recall your recent posts on wanting to go for this more succinct style, so if it’s something you want to do for you, go for it! I bet you can do it with some concerted effort over time. :)

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