Blaugust, as envisioned by Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut, is a festival of blogging, a celebration of content creation of the written word variety, and a community-building activity for people participating in a medium that many consider to be dying or already dead. Although Blaugust awards are granted for established blogs who put out at least five posts during the month of August, I’ve set my sights on the Rainbow Diamond award, and am planning a post per day for the entire month.
Apparently, this is not one of my favorite themes, as evidenced by the fact that I can only find one previous year’s post on the topic: Identifying Your Stumbling Blocks (August 2021).
For someone who is so very driven to be productive all the damned time, motivation should be easy for me. It is not. As much as I crave for things to be done, I often get all muddled up in the doing things step. The planning come fairly easy to me. The satisfaction of something finished is huge. It’s the parts in between that get me. And right now, we are all deep deep deep in the parts in between.
When this post goes live, we’re going to be just over a week out from the end of #Blaugust2022. Maybe you’ve found the whole thing a breeze so far, just posting every day and reading and commenting and finding inspiration right and left. If you have, great, but this post isn’t for you. Keep doing what you’re doing because obviously it’s working well and you don’t need my advice.
For everyone else, keep on reading. I’m going to blather on for a bit, and maybe somewhere in there, you’ll find something that speaks to you.
Finding the Reason for the Season (of Blogging)
Motivation looks different on different people. Even though I often struggle with motivation in general, for me, I put very little emphasis on external factors when looking for reasons to do a thing. When I set myself a goal, it’s almost always something I’m doing for myself, and as such, I try to set my goals in such a way that I’m not reliant on the cooperation or attention of others to meet them. Which isn’t me saying that there’s anything wrong with seeking extrinsic rewards for your efforts, but if you came into #Blaugust2022 or blogging in general with an expectation of receiving praise or fame or monetary rewards, you just might be a little disappointed in how it’s all turning out, even if you’re regularly producing quality content.
If you haven’t already done this, sit down with and confront your reasons. Get a pen and paper and write things down. Your first reason – your primary reason – should be right at the forefront of your mind, but don’t stop there. Really think about what being a blogger means to you. Think about why you’re participating in Blaugust instead of just treating August like any other month in regards to your blog. Write down everything you do get from it, and everything you hope to get from it, no matter how silly and farfetched.
Then go back down the list, and put a little checkmark or a star – heck, you can use stickers if you want to – next to every reason that’s working for you right now. If you don’t feel the urge to mark anything off, keep making the list longer. If you were truly getting nothing out of this, you would have quit already. There’s always a reason, you just need to find it.
Now look at the things you didn’t check off. Can you change how you’re doing something (or a lot of somethings) to get closer to a satisfaction point with those reasons? If so, what’s preventing you from making that change right now?
Figuring out what motivates you is often much harder work than doing the thing you’re supposed to be motivated to do in the first place, but if you don’t put in the energy to figure out your whys, you might be missing out on a lot of satisfaction you could be getting from your hobby.
If The Plan Isn’t Working, Make a New Plan
The first year I participated in Blaugust, this blog was only three days old. I have a tendency to jump into things without any care of how deep the water actually is. Despite the fact that my Parting Thoughts on #Blaugust2019 were pretty positive (and let’s be real – definitely sanitized), I know I struggled a lot that first year. I’d never started a blog without a narrow focus and a solid plan, and I have never been too good at just winging it. While I managed to reach my goals, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the journey.
Whatever your plan (or lack thereof) was for #Blaugust2022, it isn’t too late to revise.
Looking critically at at plan and deciding that it isn’t working is not failure. A non-functional plan is a roadblock, and the sooner you can clear it on out of here, the sooner you can get back on the path to whatever it is you actually want.
Depending on how much free time you have, it may in fact be too late to do 31 posts before midnight on the last day of the month, but if you’re revising your plan, you can also revise your goals.
If you accidentally missed a day, and it’s throwing your mojo off, well, write something else and backdate it. It’s your blog, you get to do that.
If you’ve been faithfully posting every day, or doing whatever it takes to meet the goal you set for yourself, but you’re unhappy about the quality, you can go back and edit your posts, but do it in September. Promise yourself, next month, you’ll go clean everything up. Chances are good that it’s either burnout or imposter syndrome telling you nasty lies, and when you go to look at those posts in a week or two, you won’t hate them anymore.
You’ll be amazed what you can get done if you make up your mind to get out of your own way.
Winning Isn’t Everything (But It Feels Damn Good)
When you signed up for #Blaugust2022, you probably did so with a goal already in mind. Maybe you intended to post ever day. Maybe you didn’t necessarily want to go that far, but set your sites on getting silver with 15 posts. Maybe you just wanted to jump back into the community and find new interesting bloggers to read and see if inspiration struck you.
Now, Belghast does a damn good job of making sure that there are rewards at multiple levels of participation, because let’s be real – everyone loves to get a shiny badge that says “I did something!”, even if we aren’t really comfortable admitting it. The addition of Blaugcheivements this year just added to the diversity of potential Blaugust goals.
However, I’m going to add two more badges into the mix – there’s not going to be a quiz or anything, and if you think you earned one or both of these during #Blaugust2022, then you did. I’m sure some of your are rolling your eyes, but I bet there’s someone out there for whom this is going to be a revelation.
There are a lot of ways to win. Just because you might not win #Blaugust2022 in the way you planned on, didn’t mean that you got nothing out of trying. You put yourself out there, and that’s certainly worth acknowledging. Maybe you learned something about yourself, about the way you work, about the kind of writing you do – and do not – want to do. That’s valuable. In fact, it might be the most valuable thing you take away from #Blaugust.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Everyone Else
It’s worth bearing in mind that a lot of the blogs you see posting every day, or nearly every day, are the work of bloggers who aren’t just starting out. They don’t just do this in August. At least a couple of them are on posting streaks of a year or longer, and in many respects, this is just another month of doing the thing that they do.
The thing is, if you were exactly like any other blogger out there, then you’d just be redundant. What makes you unique, and what makes your voice important is your personal perspective, your life experience, your taste, and your style. While it’s great to have role models, the world only needs one of each of us. The content you create, the parts of you that you choose to put forth couldn’t possibly be written by anyone else.
Blogging doesn’t need to be something you do every day to be worthwhile. Sometimes, it’s hard to forget that in the push of a sprint, but if you want to keep a blog and have it keep adding value to you (and to your readers), then it’s more important to stay the course than to rush to the finish line.