Ugh… That Thwomping Writer’s Block…

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 My old response is way too out of date to re-post (especially since I didn’t follow my own advice and actually broke down and deleted my old website… oops) so I decided to provide a newer answer in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.

Thwomp Writer's Block 3
Wait… I need a cape to be a real writer, right? That’s my problem!

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…

Thwomp Writer's Block 1
“Grrr!! I suck at writing and wanna delete my stupid blog! WTF is the point of life??” – May 2018 Me

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!

Thwomp Writer's Block 2
My mood plays a huge factor in fueling block problems. 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.

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.

Thwomp Writer's Block 4
This ugly thing is an Envy Demon… just be happy for other people and make the Thowmp hit that thing instead.

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!

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Published by

"Lightning" Ellen

My name is Ellen, and I've been babbling on the interwebz about video games for over 15 years. Video games themselves have been a large part of my life since 5-year-old me first encountered a SNES in a children's hospital. Fun times... Video game escapism is still the #1 coping mechanism for adult me these days.

31 thoughts on “Ugh… That Thwomping Writer’s Block…”

  1. I find writing about the writer’s block ends up getting the creativity going again: IE: “Damn that writer’s block. It’s a wall of epic proportions. Stacked brick by brick. Into the heavens. Much like the walls, and columns in Rise Of The Triad. ROTT runs on a heavily modified Wolf3D engine……” See? Eventually something will parlay into what you were writing about already (hopefully), and then you can touch up that portion, and put it into your article/chapter/lyrics/etc. etc.

    Anyway good luck. Try it out next time, maybe it will work for you as well as it does for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah yes, the writer’s block problem. Something I have had multiple times with my game script.

    For me, I try and think wbat I’m going to say as I’m writing. If that doesn’t work, I take a walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find what helps is attempting to write while not at home. If I’m home, I’m likely to begin goofing off. Therefore, I usually write the game reviews at work and the film reviews at home because the former take much more time than the latter. If that doesn’t work, I find reducing the amount of time I have to work on them can be effective as well; it causes me to become more efficient with my time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very good point! I find I waste time with social media tabs when I’m having difficulty with words. A self-imposed time limit is also a neat idea. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Whenever writers block shows its ugly head to me I take a break because if I try and force myself to get creative when my mind is telling me not to then I know I won’t be happy with whatever I come up with. I play some games or watch some TV and next thing I know my brain is giving me all these neat ideas to write about. It doesn’t happen over night though and I wish it would :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve learned that the hard way. I can’t force myself to write when I’m in a bad mood or I just wind up wanting to delete everything I ever wrote, haha. Playing games definitely helps me too. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As someone who has lacked a bit of creative spark lately, I really appreciated this post. It reminded me of what’s important in writing and how to find that creative spark. Thanks for sharing your experiences and keep up the awesome writing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Stress certainly is a factor when it comes to writers block. I only work on the blog during days off. After work I am either in a bad mood or tired, which doesn’t help with being creative. I can sympathize with being a slow writer. My reviews are only five paragraphs long and it still takes me ages to finish them.

    View stats are a double edge sword. When you see the numbers grow it can really motivate you to work on the site. When the hits begin to dwindle however you begin to wonder if it is worth the effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep! Work does that to me too. 😦 Thanks for the understanding!

      I still have to stop myself from checking view stats too often. They can either be encouraging or discouraging, usually the latter for me, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Don’t beat up on yourself too hard. My last “official” post was in 2016. I only just recently rediscovered my creativity again… just barely rediscovering it I should say. I agree with Thedeviot above that making the block the subject helps get the creative juices flowing. Likely none of us here will ever be a famous author or creator, but like you say, that’s not the point is it. [Enters daydream again].

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Very true. The point is to just have fun writing and that’s so easy to forget.

      It’s nice to see you back in the blogging world, even if you’re not fully back yet.


  8. Hello! It’s been a minute since I’ve been on here.

    I was so busy last month that I couldn’t write anything. Don’t beat yourself too hard about it, everyone suffers from writer’s block, including yours truly.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Formal writing training? What’s that?? But speaking of writer’s block, can I just give a collective ugh. This year’s NaNo has been so difficult. The beginning of my novel is a mess. I’m going back to outline and hope it gets better. It’s not even writer’s block, it’s that I want to get to the good stuff, but I need to slog through the set up prior. It’s probably only a chapter in length, but it’s just so difficult. I think I’m also floundering because I have The Broken Rose still to edit and I like to finish one project before I start a new one, but this story was WHY I wrote TBR in the first place *throws self down the stairs*

    I think fresh starts are good sometimes. As someone who has deleted things in a moment of who knows what the hell I was feeling, I understand this emotion. I’ve gone looking for things, can’t find them, then remember, “Oh…I was going through that phase. Dammit.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can imagine NaNo being incredibly difficult! I think we were talking about how if favored the “pantsers” writing style.

      I can relate SO much to that. My mood heavily influences how I write. And lately I’ve been all over the place, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m freaking starting AGAIN. I was sitting with the story yesterday reading what I’d written and it’s boring as hell. Like I don’t even want to read it. Usually I’m a gigantic narcissist when it comes to my own writing hehe, but this was so bland. I need to show the main character doing typical stuff to introduce her character before everything bad happens, but it needs to be interesting. I don’t want to shelve it because the stuff that happens later is going to be fun to write, but I just need to get over this hump.

        In contrast I’m adding this little scene into TBR that involves nail painting, which seems totally mundane/normal, but it’s so cute and fun to write. I need that magic with the other WIP D:

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know that feeling!! I almost fell asleep when I reread the first part of my novel, haha. Could it be that you’ve read it to yourself so many times it’s lost the special meaning to you? That’s what I think my problem is, if that makes any sense. I reread what I write way too many times, I think.

          Aw! Nail painting scene sounds cute 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh no this is just super boring. Literally NOTHING happens haha. I have my main character walking down the hall reminiscing completely mundane stuff. I’ve experienced the “boring” you mean, and I think that’s when you’ve re-read something so often you’re just like ughhh. I know other writers will get beta readers when that happens to them, but I’m too neurotic and perfectionist to have anyone look at something I don’t approve of. I think it’s because I plot things out to a T so if there’s some flaw in it, I have to have a Hamlet sized meltdown lol.

            Omg, writing that was so much fun. Now I get to read back through it and hope I don’t hate it.

            Liked by 1 person

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