|Beginner's Guide to Writing Magic Content|
Creating Magic: The Gathering content is one of the most fulfilling approaches you can take to engage with the game. Providing information and help to new and experienced players is incredibly rewarding. Magic content continues to grow rapidly with the introduction of Pioneer, a new and exciting non-rotating format, which creates an excellent chance to write about the format in its infancy.
Extending from the first part of this series, I'm going to delve further into how to approach Magic content creation through writing, including best practices and bad habits to avoid when starting. I recommend reading the first part before reading this piece below, as the first part creates a solid foundation for what follows.
It took me a while to figure this out, but it's true nonetheless. The Magic community tends to define social rank based on competitive success, which in this case means performing strongly at events. If you feel like you can't offer a valid opinion because you are not competitively successful, then try to ignore that way of thinking, as results do not always matter. Admittedly it's difficult, but opinions can be valid despite originating from someone who isn't competitively successful. Being a highly competitive player does mean more eyes will read your work, but content creation is not defined by this characteristic alone. This should not stop you from achieving what you want to do, and various perspectives are important when it comes to Magic. Magic is a broad and deep game. There's many ways to define "success" in Magic, one of which is creating great content. So don't dwell on whether you're a top-tier Magic player—you can bring a different perspective that successful players may miss out on.
Enjoy what you are writing about and remember that results aren't everything. Going back to a point I made in the previous article, you shouldn't compare yourself to other creators as this will generate doubt that what you are delivering is not good enough. Only you can affect what you create, so this should remain a priority. A small note to add is not to get too hung up on numbers in terms of views, likes and retweets of your work. Frankly, your numbers will start low, but by consistently adding to your body of work these will grow over time.
Once you feel comfortable in your routine and want to branch out, try reaching out to like-minded content creators. Social media is an excellent tool to achieve this, Twitter and Discord being the best examples for this approach. Connecting with other content creators allows you to see different processes others use which you can incorporate into your own content. Plus, there is no harm in asking someone to look at your work and provide feedback before publishing your article. It's important to seek out opinions from creators as it allows you to not only improve but cater to the needs of your audience. What's more, networking with like-minded creators may provide the opportunity to do collaborative work in the future which can improve your profile further. Once again, this is up to you and it depends what you want from creation overall. Content creation is different from competitive Magic in the sense that creating content is not a competition—you are not doing this to beat someone else.
A common question I see is how to prepare before writing an article. Here's some best practices to keep in mind.
#1: Know Your Topic
Knowing your topic is key. Whether you're writing about about Pioneer or about Oko, Thief of Crowns, understanding what you want to write about is critical, as this will be the body of your article. Spend some time thinking about what you would like to write about, and remember that it doesn't have to be relevant to what's happening in Magic currently. I recommend making a few bullet points of what you would like to say and the arguments you want to make throughout the article. By choosing to write about Magic, you will already have a strong understanding of the topic, which allows you to go into deeper detail.
#2: Know Your Audience
Admittedly, this is tricky when you are just starting to garner an audience. However, try to be as clear and concise as possible and avoid using overly complicated wording, as you do not want your readers to misunderstand by what you are trying to say. Once you have an audience, make sure to keep them in mind as you plan your next piece. Understand how they would speak and what they would like to read. You can even ask for their opinion to create engagement as well as content they would enjoy. From here, you can tailor your article and get your message across in the best possible way. Be simple and straightforward, and you will develop your own style by writing regularly.
#3: Edit, and then Edit Again
A final note is to always edit your work, and if possible, get someone else to look over your work too. A practice I use is that I look over and edit my article once, then leave it for a day and repeat the process. This lets me look at my work with fresh eyes and pick up silly little mistakes I might miss by speeding through the editing phase or editing straight after I have finished writing. So give yourself enough time to check and double-check your work before you hit publish. When starting out it is important to have tidy and professional work as this will encourage potential websites and sponsors to reach out to you.
Lastly, a common trap I see with new Magic writers is the urgency to be sponsored or published by a website that is not their own. This may come across as harsh, but this is something that will not happen when you first start out as you are still finding your feet within creating content. Opportunities will occur over time and it is important to establish a routine and to write the content first. It's easy to become distracted by the end goal without thinking what you can affect around you at present. You have all the time in the world to become "published." Now is the time to write.
As usual, 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 delve into writing, in particular, writing about Magic. If you have any suggestions for future topics within writing about Magic, please don't hesitate to get in touch as I intend this to be a series which helps you all.
Emma Partlow is a writer and Modern enthusiast based in Suffolk, England. She's been involved in Magic since Khans of Tarkir back in 2014, and loves helping players dive into the game's most diverse format.
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