|Beginner's Guide to Writing Magic Content|
I believe it's important to broadcast your passions in life and for me, writing about Magic—Modern in particular—was one of the best impulse decisions I've ever made. I achieve this through writing about Magic, in particular, Modern. If you're interested in dipping into Magic content creation, this series of articles will give you a crash course in how to get started. We will look at best practices, platforms and approaches to Magic content from the perspective of someone who is just starting out. While I focus on writing, plenty of what I go over applies to video and audio content creation as well.
Magic's breadth and diversity makes it one of the best games around. Magic content has never been more in demand, thanks to MTG Arena and the eSports culture. On the flip side, Magic presents you so many options on what to write about, which can be intimidating. How do you pick what to focus on? Content creation is motivated by passion, which means it's incredibly important to identify what you enjoy about Magic and focus on creating content within that. Whether you prefer Modern, Commander or Cube, it's essential to write about a subject you love within the game. That subject doesn't have to be a format—it can be competitive Magic in general, the community or even the artists. Magic has plenty of themes and characteristics, and you should spend a generous amount of time thinking about subjects you may want to cover. Remember, you are allocating your own time to do this, so do not stress about writing on current topics in an attempt to be relevant. This process becomes more common when you are writing for a paid website, so I recommend putting this thought to the side for now.
The first thing to do is spend some time to identify what you love about Magic, what you love enough to create content regularly. I started out writing tournament reports with Eldrazi Tron early last year. Playing Eldrazi Tron was my first foray into the Modern format, which sparked my love for the format. As a result, I wrote small reports to help process my experiences more clearly. At the time I knew I wanted to improve and reflect on my matches, and I figured I had nothing to lose in making the information public.
You may find that writing or creating content is not for you. That's fine! Identifying what you don't enjoy is just as important as knowing what you do enjoy. Don't feel like you need to pursue this for its own sake, it's something to do for your own happiness. There's nothing wrong with stopping if it turns out you don't enjoy the process.
A common mistake I see from aspiring content creators is over-complicating the process. Creating content is straightforward: it's just about writing. That's it, and it's that simple. If you are spending energy focusing on elements that do not involve creating the content, then you are only postponing the action of doing so.
When starting out, it's essential to focus on creating the content and ignore all the other factors that come with it. Admittedly, they can be very distracting, but your content should be your primary focus. Another mistake I see new content creators make is comparing themselves to other creators, and this is something you should always avoid doing. You can only affect the content you create, so why should you worry about what others are doing? This may come across as a little selfish, but obsessively following everyone else's work doesn't help you create your own content, and can waste your physical and emotional energy. Use that energy to make your own work the best it can be.
In addition to broadcasting passion in your content, consistency is also crucial. It is fundamental to build a routine for you to complete content consistently, whether this is weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Once you have identified that you want to write regularly, figure out a routine that works for you. Plenty of content creators have full-time jobs and other commitments, so you are not alone in the struggle to optimize your time. I recommend starting small, so write something on a bi-weekly basis and once you can achieve this comfortably, you can evaluate whether you want to make this a weekly effort or not.
Don't try to create too much content when starting out. Going back to the point I made earlier; if you over-complicate or give yourself too much to do, you are more likely to quit. We want to make this process simple and being comfortable is essential—it should not feel like a job at any point. Once you have adapted to a routine, you can reevaluate any other work or endeavours you wish to achieve. Starting small will also help you stay consistent for your audience. The best way to grow an audience is to deliver content consistently, as that makes it easier for people to build a routine around your work. Lose that consistency, and you will lose your audience no matter the size. It's important to communicate if you are missing a week due to external commitments. Networking helps grow your audience too, but we will expand on this in a future piece.
This may come as a shock, but the first article or piece of writing you will create will not be good. Perhaps that's discouraging, but it is important to note that practice makes perfect, and this is another area where consistency comes into play. Content creation is similar to Magic: The Gathering: the more you practice, the better you become. As long as you demonstrate you care and display passion in the content you are creating, your audience will gravitate toward this above all else. People will trade quality of work for passion, and it's crucial to display passion first and foremost. Quality of work will come through writing lots of articles over time, and no one enters into this at a high standard. You will develop skills the more you create content, so do not put too much stock in quality when starting out and focus on your strengths.
Reading articles and other content is a proactive way to see what's out there. However, I would proceed with some caution. Content creation incorporates influence, and it is easy to fall into the trap of being influenced by someone else's work without even realizing it. The last thing you want is to copy someone else's content—besides being unethical, it dilutes your voice and erases what makes you unique as a creator. For me, I tend to avoid reading articles about Modern as it may unintentionally create bias which may feature in my future work. However, we all behave and act differently, which means you may be able to compartmentalize with no issue.
Once you've figured out what you want to do and get down to writing, where do you want your content to go? I do not recommend pitching to websites immediately, as it's essential to get your content out there on a blog or something similar first. This shows you have the drive and motivation to achieve your goals independently. Having a hub for your work is a good starting point, as this allows your growing audience to find your content easily. Again, you want to keep things simple when you start out, and pitching to sites is something you can do down the line once you are comfortable and in a routine. While posting content on your blog, you are creating a portfolio for future websites to look at.
In terms of sites to use, I recommend either Tumblr or WordPress. These both have free options and do the job. You don't want to dig too deep into finding a place as mentioned before; you want to focus on the content and not the small details. Both Tumblr and WordPress provide a level of professionalism and allow your content to do the talking.
Mentioning Grammarly is not a sponsored mention, I've just found it to be an excellent tool for writing. Grammarly irons out the creases in your grammar and writing habits and identifies when you are writing in passive voice. I would not treat what Grammarly offers as gospel; however, it will get you into a routine of how to write, which will improve your skills long-term. I attribute a fair amount of my writing skills to the software, and I recommend giving it a go. The free side of Grammarly is still a great resource, and you want your content to be as tidy as possible before you post to the internet.
Remember, no matter the numbers, likes or subscriptions, you are always succeeding if you are producing something you love. It's easy to be consumed by figures, but the vital factor is what *you* are doing and how you are feeling about it. Passion is an important instrument when it comes to content creation, and it's critical to nurture that fire for as long as possible.
Magic is one of the best games in the world and is reaching a new threshold of popularity, which creates an excellent opportunity to delve into content creation. I hope this article gives you an idea of how to get started and how to approach the world of content creation—it can be scary, but it is one of the most rewarding ways to engage with the game.
Lastly, if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter. I am more than happy to help any of you who want to start this journey into Magic content creation. Give it a go, and it may ignite your spark.