While working my way through a backup of posts from my deleted website that I want to restore here on Livid Lightning, I found my old answer to the Well-Red Mage’s Asking Big Questions 003 community event: “How do you overcome writer’s block?”
I’ve sadly seen a lot of bloggers being vocal about having writing issues lately, and that whole NaNoWriMo thing is happening at the time of this post. This seems like a great time to babble about my battle with the block! My old response is way too out of date to re-post (especially since I didn’t follow my own advice and actually broke down and deleted my old website… oops) so I decided to provide a newer answer in this post. I’m keeping my weird Thwomp analogy, though, since it amused me… a lot.
The Block Battle is For Realz
Ugh. This year really sucks in terms of personal problems and whatnot. I won’t vent about it in this post, but damn, life stress can really add to the block’s stranglehold on my writing aspirations. I have a bunch of video game reviews I’d like to finish before year’s end, I’d love to write more things for AmbiGaming soon, I want to finish my first review for the Well-Red Mage’s website after being warmly welcomed back into the mage crew (thanks guys), I want to type so many more words on the second attempt at my novel (400 words so far)… but my words are very difficult to find these days.
It doesn’t help that I’m a very sloooow writer. It can take me several hours to finish a simple blog post since my process requires a lot of daydreaming to occur before the words actually decide to appear. This is time I often feel is wasted since I could’ve made progress in a game or something more worthwhile instead.
I also have no formal training in the writing of things area so I’ll always consider myself a wannabe writer. Writing is suppose to be a fun hobby in my chunk of the internet (I keep telling myself that anyway), but my writer’s path is always littered with Thwomps from the Mario series – a bunch of cranky blocks waiting to crash down on me when things seem to be going well. I’ve let those blocks crush me so many times in the past…
I really need to listen to myself so I’ll say it again: writing is just a fun hobby for me and will most likely never be something I can turn into a nice career, or anything super cool like that. I need to chill and focus on that important fun aspect of writing. Why put so much pressure on myself? I’ll keep babbling about the games and the random things I love, while being eternally grateful for the few awesome friends and cool people who do follow me here. I also can’t get any better if I just quit. Each word I type is another XP point toward my overall Wannabe Writer Level!
Things That I Think Can Help Conquer the Block
Try writing new things or in a new way – If you’re genuinely sick of the way you write things, don’t be afraid to change it up. Going with a new blog post format, for example, can help inspire you. Your goal here is to make the whole writing experience more enjoyable, and seem like less of a chore that you force yourself to do. Community collaborations within writing communities are great ways to generate exciting new content and meet cool new people.
Focus on what works best for YOU ALONE and no one else – I see this every year in November, and it’s a reason I always stop myself from jumping into the popular NaNoWriMo event, people struggling and feeling awful that they aren’t meeting a 50k-words-in-a-month deadline on their novel, like “everyone” else is. Don’t get me wrong, NaNo works well for a lot of people, but if that high pressure challenge is making you miserable and you’re not having fun with it, just seriously stop. There’s no shame at all in having to work at your own pace.
A thing I see a lot in the blogging community is a condition I like to call “view stat sadness”. I’ve seen this unfortunate scenario happen to so many great bloggers in my 15 years on the internet: they set an unrealistic viewership stat goal, try so hard to attract readers that they lose sight of their own unique style, fail to meet the viewership goal (or reach it and then lose it), feel like a failure, and then give up on blogging because they hate how they’re writing things now.
Made Up Fact: There are a billion and one bloggers online who also dream of writing things for a living. It’s a crowded market with a lot of sellers (writers) and very few buyers (readers). It takes a ton of dedicated work, and even more luck to attract a super huge audience to your website. If you aren’t meeting viewership goals you set for yourself IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU SUCK OR ARE DOING ANYTHING WRONG. Ahem. You’re awesome, I’m sorry to say.
So, are your view stats nowhere near where you want them to be? Well, consider just not looking at them anymore and focus on that fun aspect of writing. Yeah, I know. You want to somehow track your “success” as a writer, but trust me, with the swarm of spam-bots circling around the internet and known stat tracking issues on popular platforms, those view stats usually don’t mean all that much. View stats are definitely a great measure for some bloggers, but they don’t have to be a measure for you. Which brings me to my next point…
Let others inspire you, not crush your dreams – This one is my biggest problem, for sure: comparing myself to other people, and then feeling like my work sucks by comparison. I follow a lot of cool people and I’m pretty sure all of those people are much better than me. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, why not get all inspired instead? Sure, I’m definitely not an Athena, Shameful Narcissist, Professional Moron, Overthinker Y, Later Levels, Adventure Rules, Well-Red Mage, Mr. Panda, or Normal Happenings, but I find their articles, reviews, stories, and other creative stuff incredibly awesome. I certainly look up to those brilliant writers, and I love watching them succeed, but Ellen just needs to have fun babbling in her own unprofessionally sarcastic style, as hard as that is for her to remember sometimes.
Jealousy is something we all face as well, I think. It’s really hard to ignore the Envy Demon that creeps in when we see another writer effortlessly achieve a level of success we are struggling to accomplish. In a crueler online world, every other content creator would be seen as “the competition” we need to defeat, but that’s no way to think at all. Working together with other writers can open so many doors, and even help improve your own style. We’re all in this together! And if you want more supporters, you really have to support others too.
Sometimes you need to take a step back, and that’s okay – As someone who still regrets deleting her old blog back in May of this year, I learned this lesson too late. Breaks from blogging and writing really can do wonders for the creative soul, eh! You’re not a quitter if you need to just shelve your projects for a bit and focus on other things happening in your life (like actually enjoying your hobbies instead of struggling to write about them). Forcing yourself to continue writing when it’s making you more stressed out and miserable WILL NOT help you in the long run. It might take a while, but oh it will catch up to you, and you might even explode, which is the worst feeling ever. Just sayin’…
Ultimately, everyone writes words that form sentences differently and has different writing goals. If you’re stuck in a rut, always ask yourself WHY you’re writing. If you’ve been crushed by a Thwomp and are trying to find the will to continue on, you need to remember why you started the whole journey in the first place. Or maybe find a Green Mushroom somewhere… whoa… dude.
⚡Thanks for reading!⚡
If for some odd reason you want to read more of my posts, you can find a somewhat organized (and usually up to date) archive of my ramblings… I mean, articles here!