Why Creating Content Is Like Building A Kingdom
It can be exhausting to produce new content regularly. In my case, it's books and articles. To stay motivated, I imagine that I build a small kingdom where I create unique content. Gamification is the keyword.
Why do so few people have the energy to build a business when the same people happily invest many hours a week in reaching the next level in computer games?
Online role-playing games can be incredibly complex. They require the player to be highly committed over very long periods. Real profits cannot be made in such games, and yet millions of people invest a lot of time, effort, and sometimes real money to get ahead in these simulations.
I myself play a simulation game in which you have to lead a civilization from the Stone Age to the Space Age. It fascinates me to see a small settlement turn into a big city and climb one level of civilization after another.
I have long since transferred this fascination to my writing. This helps me see my work less doggedly and, at the same time, keep a high level of motivation. Who wouldn't want to do particularly well in a game? Who wouldn't be willing to take a few calculable risks in a game?
Looking at my work as a simulation game helps me immensely. I am motivated to acquire new skills, keep an eye on the terrain of my industry, and forge alliances with other authors (fellow players).
The content I create plays a central role in this game. My works are what a ruler in a kingdom is to workers, soldiers, ambassadors, and scientists.
Your creations are your workers
Every piece of content that I produce has the potential to bring money to my kingdom. Not all workers are equally productive, but all together, they generate the resources I need to expand my empire.
The more workers I have, the higher the economic power of the kingdom. But mass alone does not do it. The productivity of each individual worker must be good.
For example, a book can only perform well if it has an appealing cover and an attractive blurb. Just as a king should invest in the training of his workforce to be competitive in the marketplace, so an author must make his works fit for the market in which they are to compete.
This applies not only to books but also to articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, and social media snippets.
Your works are soldiers
Soldiers secure the existence of a kingdom by fending off attacks from outside or deterring them from the outset through their presence.
Admittedly, in the life of an author, there are rare situations in which someone is hostile to us and attacks our kingdom. What threatens us are not hostile forces, but market forces.
We must defend our place in this vast market because new traders are continually coming in to sell new and better goods.
They are not taking away our space, but visibility and audibility. The fewer soldiers we have, the faster we are marginalized, and our customers can no longer find us.
Only if we keep deploying new soldiers, we can maintain our position.
We can even build different units. Some soldiers are meant to be on the front line. These are our books and articles. Other soldiers secure the hinterland so that supplies arrive at the front. This function can be performed by social media posts, podcasts, or other supporting content formats.
Your content pieces are ambassadors
If you want to cooperate with other authors or with influencers or multipliers in the media, you first have to build trust.
Why should a successful author agree to a newsletter swap with you? Why should an influential blogger mention you and thus gain new readers? Where should the trust in you come from?"
I know from experience that it is easier to persuade others to cooperate if you refer to a massive archive of publications.
First of all, a broad portfolio shows that you have a lot of experience and therefore you probably produce good quality. Second, many releases mean that you probably already have a large audience.
Both points are essential for influencers, bloggers, and other authors when deciding whether they want to collaborate with you.
Your skills are the engine of progress
Like in a simulation game, you don't just need workers, soldiers, and ambassadors for your real kingdom. So producing books and other content is not enough to successfully defend and expand our kingdom.
The essential tool is the player himself. His skills decide how well he progresses in the game.
Just as I need to know the game world, as an author, I need to know the market, the market participants, and the peculiarities of my genre or my niche.
I also have to acquire specific skills and continuously improve them. I can only advance to the next level if my art keeps getting better and better. To do this, I must constantly learn more.
But I not only have to improve my writing style. I also have to market my work, and for that, I need completely different skills than for writing.
I have to deal with social media, email lists, Facebook ads, Amazon ads, SEO, and a thousand other things.
If I didn't see it all as a game, I would quickly get overwhelmed. If I only wanted to sell as many books as possible to make as much money as possible, the motivation would be gone as soon as I didn't see any direct progress.
By gamifying the process, I can draw my motivation from many small advances in different areas. An ad that gives slightly better results today than last week is a motivation boost. Every new follower on Facebook or Twitter is a score for me.
The interplay of always new content and ever new things to learn is what makes the game so appealing to me.
When I look back on thirty published novels and over 250 articles, I know that this approach can't be all that wrong. Without the mentality of a playing teenager at the game console, I would have burned out long ago. But this way, I'm motivated to keep aiming for new levels.
Take your gaming instinct and go out into the world to build your kingdom. Create, produce, and have fun doing it.