According to the Blaugust Festival of Blogging timetable, the designated writing prompt for week number five is titled “Staying Motivated”. Because at some point, all content creators will find themselves either too tired, unwilling or simply unable to produce any new material. You may well have the time and resources to do so but lack inspiration to actually apply yourself. It’s a perennial question for anyone who writes, live streams or produces videos and podcasts. Like most problems of this nature which are dependent upon personal and subjective factors, it does not have a standard or easy answer. Staying motivated is a personal battle that you have fight by yourself, in your own way. If you find a solution that works for you there’s no guarantee that it will be applicable to others. However, there are some practical steps that can be universally taken that can contribute to staying motivated.
If you truly are just writing for yourself, then there is no requirement for any sort of schedule. It also means the question of motivation is greatly mitigated. But if you do write to interact with your audience, then a schedule is a useful thing for both parties. Therefore set a schedule that you know you can sustain. Be honest and realistic with yourself. If it’s just one post a week, so be it. At least everyone then knows where they stand. Once you’ve got a clear idea of how often you want to write (or whatever it is that you do), find the time and use it. If it helps, prepare some sort of reward such as a tasty snack, gin or ketamine that you don’t get until you’ve achieved your goal.
I find that on occasions, there are days when the writing just flows. On such days I publish a blog post and “bank” anything else I produce for another day. Film reviews tend not to be time sensitive, can be written on the fly and left to build up in my “drafts” folder. These can then be rolled out on days when my writing mojo is waning. Then there are feature columns and recurring blog posts. Articles in which you summarise what you’ve been up to. And again let us not underestimate the popularity of sharing screen captures from games and such like. If you managed to obtain that obscure armour set after grinding out a specific instance, then let people know.
Although I do advocate schedules, I also advise taking breaks from your content creation, when you feel the need. However, if you do regularly produce content then you may want to notify your readership of your pending absence. If people know in advance that you’re taking a break, they’re more likely to return later. If you simply vanish without explanation, then your audience will evaporate over time along with any goodwill. I would also add that if like me, you tend to produce content regularly, don’t take too long a break. In my experience the longer your away, the harder it is to return.
One way to keep busy and stave off any loss in motivation is to collaborate with your fellow blogger, streamers and podcasters etc. Group writing projects can yield interesting results, especially when debating subjects that are contentious or have multiple perspectives. Podcasters and streamers can have guests on their shows or facilitate round table debates. Not only do such projects boost your motivation and strengthen community bonds, they also offer a degree of promotion for your online presence.
For many of the people participating in Blaugust, blogging or whatever other form of content creation you’re pursuing, is a hobby. If treat it as such, in a manner that you can sustain, it will remain so. Pushing yourself beyond what you can reasonably cope with, is the quickest way to fall out of love with the thing that you’re doing. That’s not to say you should shy away from applying yourself and sometimes maintaining a degree of discipline. But you have to find a mode of operation that is right for you. A degree of introspection and honesty is also required so you don’t bite off more than you can chew, or conversely, sell yourself short.
Finally, stay in touch with the community after Blaugust and keep a presence on the Discord server. Being around like-minded people is invaluable for staying engaged and focused. After a busy and engaging event such as Blaugust, it can feel like things grind to halt in the days and weeks afterwards. It is not unusual for many content creators to actually stop if they feel that the support network has gone. But it is still there, so it is important to keep the lines of communication open.