How Do You Thwomp Writer’s Block?

Hello internet folks and pesky swarm of spam-bots!

For his 3rd community question, the awesome Well-Red Mage couldn’t have asked a better thing at a better time: How do you overcome Writer’s Block?

aq3 ss1
12 forever in-progress drafts, and 100 published posts in over 2 years. Well, if I DO finish this post it’ll be 11 drafts and 101 published…  still, you get the idea.

Yep, not gonna lie, that cranky block is in my head again. For another great example, I’m honored to be a part of the big Final Fantasy community project (run by the Well-Red Mage and Overthinker Y), but “Lightning” freaking Ellen is struggling to write a freaking article about the freaking Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, of all freaking things (one whole paragraph so far!). As many of you are aware, I babble about Lightning and her games a lot (also look at the theme of my website), but my stubborn brain just doesn’t want to function for this. I think it’s a combination of I’m not the FFXIII expert I may appear to be, it’s been a few years since I played the games, I have so many feelz about the trilogy, and there are so many talented writers on the project that make me feel, well, inadequate.

aq3 ss2
Wait… I need a cape to be a writer, right? That’s my problem!

This latest writing block isn’t the first one, and certainly won’t be the last, I’ve had to deal with. Pardon the horrible analogy, but I like to think that my path to becoming a writer is littered with Thwomps – a bunch of blocks waiting to crash down on me when things seem to be going well. Instead of letting them obliterate my writing aspirations like this:

“Grrr!! I suck at writing and wanna delete my stupid blog! WTF is the point of life??”

I need to chill and remember that writing is just a fun hobby for me. I’ll never be paid to do this so why put so much pressure on myself? I’ll keep babbling about the games I love, while being grateful for the few awesome friends 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.

My mood plays a huge factor in this. You can let the block destroy you or you can use it to elevate you to greater heights. How you deal with it is up to you.

They always say that writing about not being able to write helps you actually write, so here are some things that have always helped me battle the block. You should definitely check out the Mage Man’s post for better advice!

Try new things and play nice with other writers

Sometimes something new and exciting can launch you out of a writing rut. I was in a slump when Adventure Rules started the epic Blogger Blitz competition this year. I can easily say that was the most fun and terrifying blogging experience, ever. Not only was it was the first time I had a group of judgey little punks critique my writing, but it was also very scary to post things I knew an audience would actually be, you know, reading. Overall, I learned so much from it and gained a lot of needed confidence.

I’ve also started joining in on the Later Levels QoTM game and did a writing prompt given by Luna in October. Those are all new things that spiced up the writing thing for me. If you’re looking for some collaboration opportunities on WordPress, here are a few I am aware of:

  • Adventure Rules has started another Charming and Open event. Once I think of a damn question, I’m so there.
  • TriformTrinity started a segment called Gaming Gripes where he discusses topics with other bloggers. If you ask nicely, he’ll probably talk about stuff with you too.
  • Later Levels is cooking up some Christmas-y collab things (so watch for that) and another blog party happening there December 11th. That’s always a great way to meet other people who write.
  • Those blogger-chain-letter-post-tag thingys are good for a laugh if you need something to blog about. I’m currently working on a rather, um, interesting one I was tagged in recently… tee hee!

Sometimes you need to take a step back

Just taking a break from writing and not brooding like a Final Fantasy protagonist over how much I suck at it helps. This is my state of mind now. I’m not running a professional site that needs to talk about the latest greatest games to drive up traffic numbers (if you are, this example may not help). Yes, I want to write a novel worth of stuff on my Dragon Age journey thus far, and I have a half finished Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice review I wanna complete before I forget most of the game, but I just don’t have the drive to do any of that now. Instead, I’m just playing the damn video games and not worrying about it. The words will come when they want to, or not at all.

Let others inspire you, not crush your dreams

My biggest writing problem is comparing myself to other people, and then feeling like my work sucks in comparison. Fact: There are a billion and one writers online who also dream of writing things for a living. Almost 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, a Shameful Narcissist, or a Professional Moron, but I find their articles, reviews, stories, and other random stuff incredibly awesome. I certainly look up to those three brilliant writers, but Ellen just needs to have fun writing in her own sarcastic, smartass style.

Ultimately, everyone writes words that form sentences differently and has different 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 just find a Green Mushroom somewhere… whoa, dude.

Wannabe Writer’s Notes:
– Before I retreat to go play moar Dragon Age II (then I’ll work on my FFXIII article… I promise), I just want to thank everyone who has supported this little ol’ blog of mine over the 2+-ish years I’ve been here. So many awesome people have always encouraged me when I’m in one of my many “OMG I suck at writing” moods. This internet community rocks!

⚡Thanks for reading!⚡

44 thoughts on “How Do You Thwomp Writer’s Block?

  1. My friend, thanks so much for participating in this shindig! I just want to help encourage people and when I read your work I really am struck by how personable it is. There’s a huge tendency in games writing, especially of the professional vein, to sound sterile and monotone. Reading your work, it’s like I can hear your voice talking, and that’s something that’s a gift you’ve got to cultivate. “Each word I type is another XP point” is stellar advice for this. I read somewheres that we can’t get to our better posts until we plow through the ones we need to learn from. I have to wrestle with that advice all the time. Just know that there are a lot of people who respect you and your work and want to see you succeed!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve found it’s about discovering the approach that suits you, so experiment a wee bit, perhaps. For me, I’m at my best in the morning, so I get up mega early, drink tea, and usually write for about 5/6 hours solid. But then from 12 I’m usually finished (this is when I’m not at work, by the way, I’m no freeloader). It’s different for everyone, though – Nabokov used to write his books in the bath. That’s a bit archaic… how about the shower?

    Anyway, you’re a bloody good writer, which I mean sincerely, so take your approach in your stride. Don’t hassle yourself about others, just do your thaaaaaang and enjoy. Also, when you’re out and about, have a pen and paper handy in case you have ideas. Jot them down for later. Or just jab people with the pen, for fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Twomps shutting down your writing ideas is always a panic moment for sure, but just remember that they had to have had the idea to have stopped your idea which may give you an idea about their idea 🙂 Not sure where I was going with that, but yeah writer’s block is definitely annoying and I’m sure it’s happened to everyone at some point. When it happens to me I usually just take a break for a few hours or the rest of the day and relax with video games or reading for a while. I think you should never feel forced to write something if you just don’t feel like it at the moment and there will always be next time. Your posts are always very entertaining so just keep that in mind and know that you’ll always have loyal blog readers.

    Fun fact- I still mix up Twomps and Whomps. I always forget which is which

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great topic. Time for some great tips!

    Visualization for the win. A picture tells a thousand words,
    this is true. Taking some screen grabs, making a mood
    board, using drawings, collage, and scraps of inspiration
    can do wonders for writers. Forget you are writing and try
    being visual and creative. You are still focusing on the
    subject at hand, but approaching it in a more left brain
    impressionistic way. You can zoom way out, or zoom in,
    and allow the inspiration to do the rest. We are lucky to
    live in the age of multi-media, the image and the text work
    together, not against each other. The adventure you take
    will inspire your writing, anything can be turned from a task
    into a game, it is just how you choose to approach it.

    When the writing is blocked, it is time to take a detour.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. By the way! You are a GREAT writer.

        Your enthusiasm and passion shine through your writing.
        The authenticity and voice is very strong, it is always a
        great pleasure to read your musings and insights.
        LightningEllen’s Release blows Kotaku content out of the
        water. You don’t need to be so modest, you are writing
        having fun, and taking us along for the ride! Much respect

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice article! Great points, specifically this one stuck out: “I need to chill and remember that writing is just a fun hobby for me. I’ll never be paid to do this so why put so much pressure on myself? I’ll keep babbling about the games I love, while being grateful for the few awesome friends who do follow me here.” I do the same thing and need to take this advice. Also I’ll be taking a look at these community prompts and events!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We all “Hope” that you overcome the writer’s block and finish off that FF13 article. I am sure once you get going there is a ton of material to cover such as the characters, synopsis for each title how the gameplay evolved with each sequel etc.

    Sometimes I find going for a walk helps with writer’s block, even if it’s just walking around the house for a bit inbetween paragraphs. Having a shower can also be inspirational. I’ll get writing ideas whilst alone with my thoughts getting a soak.

    Comparing your work to others is the worst thing you can do. I have fallen into the trap of scrapping posts just because they felt weak compared to other anime reviewers. At the end of the day a decent post is better than producing nothing because you struggle with making every sentence perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a timely article because I have also been suffering a bit of writer’s block! I have been cranking out articles but haven’t been fully into them or as excited about reviewing stuff lately for whatever reason (though hopefully that doesn’t show in the articles!). I think it is a combination of being excited about actually playing video games, being busy with work and life, and just not having figures to reviewI’m pumped about. When I get caught up on my “to review” pile, I think I will do some creative thinking to come up with some fun and different article types to get over my block. I hope that you’re able to get over yours and if nothing else, it has inspired a great article and other writers 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ha! Loving the whole Thwomp thing. I’m going to think of that every time I experience writer’s block now. 😛
    This is a great post and also a great reminder to not get all frustrated and just enjoy the writing process. What you said about each word you type being another XP point toward your overall Wannabe Writer Level is brilliant. I’m going to definitely keep that in mind! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I found my writer’s block is pretty situational. Most of the time, I can bypass it by writing outside of my house – typically during my lunch break at work or at the library. When I’m in my den, I have difficulty concentrating because I mainly just want to relax, though I tend to pull through if I’m almost done.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree with this. I often find that moving to a different physical location is helpful. If I’m somewhere my mind associates with “resting,” it’s significantly harder to work than in a place that is designate as a “work area,” if that makes sense. I read a study about that once, too… Hm…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. “The words will come when they want to, or not at all.”

    So true! They can be slippery little things – sometimes you just need to go do something completely different and then the words come of their own accord. And I often find that’s a good excuse to go play video games. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m a big fan of just taking a different direction when the writing doesn’t come easy. One of the fun things about writing on an amateur basis is that nobody can make me write anything. If I’m not having fun with a project for a time, I can just write about something else. Sometimes I switch up the games I’m talking about. Sometimes I review a film or other form of media. Sometimes I talk about how santa is evil and you should take him down. Writing is not a ‘have to do’ thing. It’s something I do for me, to fulfill myself. So if something’s not fulfilling, time to just do something else.

    Sometimes, it helps to just force myself to do it, though. I take on writing projects because I think they’re fun. Even if I’m not feeling it at the moment, I’ll often start to find that fun again after I’ve gotten into writing it a bit more. Seems like more of a pain before I start writing again than it actually is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I need to hear your plan for Santa! I never trusted that dude…

      So true. No one is paying me to do this so why worry? I’m going to force myself to write the FFXIII for the community blogger project I’m a part of though. It will be good for me, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I hear ya about feeling the pressure, but realizing in the end this is a hobby. It’s nice to see and drive numbers but that can’t be the end all of my blog.

    In the end, 2 things I do when stuck, just play some games because I’m writing about those in the first place. I may do something in a game that stood out and prompt me to write a small blurb on it. Another thing as you mentioned, check out other blogs for inspiration. Following many blogs early on was a great source of inspiration, and despite comparing myself to those blogs sometimes, it can also be a huge source of inspiration and just browsing through the reader can spark some ideas even.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. But neither Athena, PM, nor me are LightningEllen so there’s that. You’re the best you in the “you” niverse (omg…I just thought of that while I was writing it and I’m literally laughing at myself). 🙂 As for having FFXII writer’s block, I have a confession…I’ve forgotten tons about FFVII, too. Honestly, I remember what I consider “the important stuff” as in the stuff I remember as important, which mostly has to do with Sephiroth and everything about him. Sometimes I’ll read something or see something about it, and think “Huh, I didn’t now/forgot about that,” and sometimes I’ll blatantly ignore anything that might contradict my point of view on the Great General #cognitivedissonance

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I was as cool as Athena, TSN, and PM though 😦

      OMG… your you-nivrse word 😀 It’s been so long since I played FFXIII. I could revisit it but I’m scared of that pesky feel-o-copter. I ignore LOTS of things I read about my shero, so I can relate, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ughhh me, too with VII. I also have what I like to call my “troll brain” that likes to generate random thoughts, and I’m like, “Okay, but why?” Granted, I’ve been stalling SO long on FFV it’ll be another V years before I finish it. It’s just so much easier to pick up my Switch or 3DS than it is to set up my table for my laptop so I can follow the directions I wrote down for Karnak Castle, which has a 10 minute timer to get everything before ka-boom.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Lots of good advice there! 🙂 Writer’s block happens to us all at one time or another. If I’m not having fun writing, it’s not worth it to me, so I just change direction for a little while. If I was getting paid big bucks, then MAYBE I would conform to a better schedule…. but probably not, haha. I just do my own thing! I plan on answering this question on my blog too, if I can ever get caught up with my posts I want to write! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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