Staying Motivated

I’m tired.

Posting every day is 110% not for me. But going through the Blaugust experience has given me an even greater level of appreciation for those that do, or just about do.

I’m sort of stealing a bit from the ‘what I learned from Blaugust’ post next week with that. But it’s relevant because there have absolutely been days where I’ve wanted to drop out from the daily posting. I always told myself from the start, after all, that I may not end being able to adhere to the full extent of the challenge.

But speaking honestly, I’m still quite fearful of losing my motivation to continue here at all. It wouldn’t be without precedent, I’ve dropped blogs before. One of which was a whispered breath away from reaching 100 posts. I mentioned in that post that something feels different about this one — and that’s true. But Time to Loot is still only ~7 months old and I know I can be flighty. I talk about it with my gaming all the time.

So it has definitely been back in the mind that if I tell myself it’s OK to break from the Blaugust-post-a-day that it might be only a small hop, skip and a jump from there to conceding it’s OK to just call it quits again.

To hear Quin’s recent admission in many ways cemented that fear as a very real prospect. (And as an aside if I may — I’m so very thankful that Quin is sticking around, as a recent favourite blogger of mine.)

And with that preface, here’s some advice on staying motivated! … Yep! Alright, so you might want to just check back in a year or two to see whether it has been effective or not for even me, but here we go. ;)

Fields of Gold

The Advice

Identify what your Motivation even is

Do you know why you want to blog? Why you reaaaally want to do it? I talked about this a little in the lead up to Blaugust and the false start I had along the way to identifying my motivation.

That set of portal co-ordinates is, incidentally, my current home base in No Man’s Sky.

For me, the best motivation is one that doesn’t necessarily rely on other people. It isn’t metric driven, it isn’t for internet fame (as nice as it might be) or fortune (hah), it’s about creating an enduring record of what I get up to, discoveries made and games played.

I know I’ve missed out on this for the years already gone by, and at times this has been really unpleasant a realisation at just how much so.

Yours could be something similar, or entirely different. Just make sure it truly means something to you.

Visualise what your Success looks like

Do it frequently — but especially do it when you feel your motivation levels waning.

For me I picture myself 10 years out from now, reading my old posts like this one with a wry smile at how relatively naive I was and how much I still had to learn. You see — future me, in no small part from the introspective writing I’m occasionally given to *cough* — is a much more self-aware and -confident person.

For you this might mean being referenced by a favourite blogger in one of their posts, or having someone acknowledged you actually managed to change their mind on an issue you’re passionate about.

Whatever it is — picture it and keep working toward it.

Draw from the Community

If there’s one thing I’m thankful for — it is the supportive and awesome community we have in our little corner of the internet.

If you’re starting to lose steam, say so. Like Quin did earlier, and Sandrian just yesterday. Addressing it head on and talking through the feeling is often a fantastic way to draw out precisely what your roadblock is and get help from others that have been there.

Even if you’re brand spanking new and a post may not yet garner the responses you need — that’s OK, pop into the Blaugust Discord and talk to us. (It runs all year around, although is admittedly the most active around the event.)

There is energy to spare, so perhaps it will help.

Closing Thoughts

When your motivation falters, breaking the tyranny of the blank page is a huge part of righting the ship. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in fears of nothing to say. Writing about your game experiences is absolutely enough.

Realise instead that people come to see you as much as the things you say.

Break that blank page wide open and simply tell us (and maybe yourself in the process) about your dip. You’d be amazed how effective this simple act can be at times.

But, to further echo Bhagpuss in his reply to Sandrian — if nothing else works, put it aside for a moment. This isn’t a job, or an obligation. Take a break, with a mind to returning when it feels right. Maybe you need a week. A month. Hell, more. That’s OK.

We’re not going anywhere.


Almost entirely unrelated — but I wrote this post listening to the Ori and the Blind Forest soundtrack, after being reminded of it’s brilliance by Syp’s post including one of the tracks.

I’m quite a fan of the title in general.

I think this will only play a small sample of the 2:21 piece if you’re not signed in, but it’s more than worth a click through to Spotify to hear the full thing, with the build from the start!

This track really struck me as epitomising the feeling of staying motivated, so thought I’d include it. :)

Something’s Different Here

The number of the day is 115. In that, this post is the 115th I’ve published here on Time to Loot. This makes it the most posts I’ve published on a single blog to date. Interestingly I thought this made Time to Loot by far my most published-to blog. When I started digging into it for this post, that turned out to be not entirely true.

Even though I was wrong about how close it was between one of my prior blogs and this one — it hasn’t shaken the feeling I have that something is different this time. Different better. That maybe I’ve found my forever-blog this time around.

My Ex-Blogs

  • Tank’n’Tree (Oct 2008 – Nov 2009, Unknown post count — I estimate ~30)
    Still has some content existing in the archive, but you need to scroll down to see any of it.
  • Fun in Games (Jun 2010 – Oct 2011, 97 posts)
  • Modicum of Gaming (May 2012 – Sep 2013, 16 posts)

I wonder if I knew at the time how close to 100 posts I was on Fun in Games. I feel like this is new information to me, but surely I must have?

Reading back over them now, it’s… I don’t even know that I have an adequate word for it. Some posts have stuck with me in memory across the years, others I recall fondly as old friends upon seeing them again. Still others again, it feels like I’m reading for the first time. I possess not even the dimmest memories of writing them.

For the most part — I enjoy my writing style from back then better. I wonder now if I’ll be able to recapture the vibrancy and sense of life found in the older posts.

But whether I can or not, the sense of lasting — of longer life — to this blog isn’t lessened. I’ve felt it for at least the last month or two, but couldn’t quite define what it was.

Until I realised I already had. In finding my ‘why‘ and grounding it on something a little bit less transient than ‘Blogs are cool, ergo I want one’ grants a sense of permanence I’ve never really had with a blog before. It was always top of mind that my interests could waver and change course at any moment.

And heck, who knows, I could be way off and that happens anyway.

No doubt someone will pull this out and show me should it. But I don’t think it will be necessary. By this stage of a blog for me I’ve typically hit my first break of a month or longer. The excitement turned to chore. A post feeling obligatory.

As I write this a little over the halfway mark of Blaugust, having lost the slight scheduled lead I had rolling for a while, I’m tired but no less motivated for that. I made sure to call out — mostly for my own benefit — at the start of August that I’d try to hit a post every day but that I wasn’t really expecting to and I wasn’t going to beat myself up too much if I didn’t.

I said it mostly as a ward against the risk of making posting here feel like a chore, like I’ve encountered in the past. But tired though I am — I’m in this. :D

Finding your Motivation to Blog

Blaugust 2019 is almost upon us! The Annual Blogging event to welcome brand new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise the old with a month of focused posting. You can still sign-up to participate and jump into the Blaugust Discord!

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.

Anthem: It’s a bit over 6 months on now. Maybe time for a re-review? … Nah. Let’s give it a year.

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.

Namely:

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.