Title: Remembering the Team Tournament: Writerís Block Blues
Posted: June 23, 2009 (01:30 AM)
ItĎs great to see the return of the Team Tournament, even if I am just a spectator this year. Iím having flashbacks from 2007, like getting drafted first and all those AIM sessions scheming with Lisanne. Itís kind of funny, looking back. None of us expected to win anything, so we approached the whole thing as a learning experience. It was serious business, though. I donít know about my old teammates, but my high point was the build-up leading to the match against Zigfriedís crew. We were going to be crushed - no question there - but I liked the prospect of going mano-a-mano with Espiga (Suskie was the third one, if I recall correctly) and seeing how I would fare. I canít remember how many times we lost (IĎm sure someone can dig up the stats), but after a while I just accepted failure as inevitable and gave up taking things seriously. Iíve always blamed myself for our performance; competition has never been my thing, and it showed in that tournament.
Thatís probably one of the reasons I didnít sign up this year. I didnít want to drag a new team down, even if my writing has improved somewhat. But itís more about a lack of drive and focus than anything else. I used to be able to belt out two or three reviews a week. An hour to write each one, if that. Now Iím struggling to make one review a week. Itís been like this for months now. Itís not that Iíve got less time to write; Iíve still got my weeknights and weekends, even if I am working a full-time job. Itís not that Iíve run out stuff to review. Iíve got access to enough games to last me for years. I havenít fallen out of love with writing, either; once I get something started, the words come out as easily as they used to. But getting inspiration to type something out? Thatís another beast entirely. Iíve noticed that Iím spending more and more time staring at a blank MS Word document and that damned blinking cursor, and less time getting the stuff on the screenÖand that bothers me.
How do you guys deal with that annoying rut of writerís block?
Posted: June 23, 2009 (01:54 AM)
Try talking about a game in your blog, then when you've got a paragraph or two or a whole entry, stick it into Word and make a review.
That's the only way I can do it, these days.
Posted: June 23, 2009 (09:15 AM)
I find if I'm pressing too much on one type of writing, I should try another. Switch from reviews to FAQs or even fiction. I look at reviews as a way to get out of the usual ruts, and if they become a rut themselves, it's best to drop them.
Also, what Jerec said about writing a few sentences for yourself works well. Whether or not you publish it, the writing feels good.
Posted: June 23, 2009 (10:27 AM)
Two things that will work:
-Take notes as you play. It's hard to leave a page blank with an outline of even basic thoughts already in front of you.
-Read a dozen or so reviews by a particular writer you like, step back for a second, and hear their voice and picture how they would tackle the game you want to review. The sarcasm in my FFIV:TAY review ("How dare we take notice to their fan service, just now, when theyíve been serving us exemplary for so long!") comes right after reading King Broccoli's Mortal Kombat II and Rival Turf. Carryover from recent memory is inevitable.
Posted: June 23, 2009 (12:30 PM)
The biggest solution to writer's block is to just write. Even if it's crap, even if you know that it's going to be crap, typing out a few sentences generally gets the ball rolling because you say "I know I can do that better, like if I do this..." and before you know it you're caught up in doing that and another idea is flowing and you've got half of a review written and the rest just comes. Works for me, anyway.
Posted: June 23, 2009 (03:13 PM)
My solution is to delete all my reviews.
Posted: June 24, 2009 (04:34 AM)
I always bull-rush through blocks, which is the single worst thing you can do if you want to avoid burn out. So, yeah, don't do that. Or listen to Janus, either.