The issue that I have, though, is that gamification is often used to just draw people in, but not always useful in helping with actual personal growth. For example, you get a decent reward for signing up and sharing something to all of your social networks. Then you may complete a handful of tasks. Before long, though, you realize that you have to slave over it day after day for very little long-term benefit to you.
I’ve encountered this sort of immediate benefit brand of gamification a bit too often to my liking. It seems like a lot of writing venues are like that, too. You get really excited, then realize that you’re basically just promoting the site and not getting much in return.
So I’ve been thinking about ways that I have “leveled up” as a writer. You know, setting your own independent goals. You can't rely relying on some clever user experience guru whose only goal is to hopefully make whatever it is “go viral,” then give some sort of flimsy social proof that you should be using this site or program that really only benefits the owners and not so much the end-user. So why not, as the end-user, use the idea of gamification to our own individual advantages?
My first “level up” moment as a writer was starting my own gaming website that reviewed Magic the Gathering cards. It still exists in a form today. Actually getting people to read it was an awesome feeling and I got lots of constructive feedback that helped me grow in my analytical and writing abilities. I found what worked and what didn’t. And while it hasn’t garnered quite the success that I initially hoped, it wasn’t a failure, either.
Another “level up” moment for me was actually establishing a writer profile on the website network that I co-own with my partner, Write W.A.V.E. Media. Before that, I had sort of drifted between my blog and a couple of content websites where I made pennies for the most part. Writing independently is a lot of fun, even if the rewards aren’t immediately obvious. Having a regularly updated writer profile and a place to post your non-exclusive work is very important, not just for your reputation, but because it also is an easy-to-access portfolio of your abilities.
The most recent “level up” moment for me was publishing my first poetry collection, and then its "sequel," Verses Short and Sweet on Write W.A.V.E. Media. Becoming a self-published author has been a long-time goal of mine. I’m not sure what took me so long, but I finally just did it. While neither didn't meet much success, I still have more to publish. I want to publish some collections of articles and essays in the future. I’ve always wanted to write a full-length book, as well. That will be my next “level up” moment.
We should all to look back at our writing careers, or any of our careers for that matter, and identify the moments where we made a serious accomplishment. If you’re ever feeling down, write down anything you ever got done of any significance. You may have “leveled up” a lot more in your life than you realize.
If we set goals in a way that we “level up” and put actual value to everything that we do, suddenly it becomes obvious how every experience that we have builds on one another. Eventually, you can get a lot further than you ever thought possible.
What are some of your “level up” moments as a writer or “level up” moments in your life that you would like to share?