Removing the Bottom of the Barrel

When I saw Patrick Rothfuss at his reading this spring, he discussed the idea of writer’s block, and how it’s really just an excuse for writers to not do their work. It’d be like a plumber saying that he didn’t feel like plumbing (?) today, so he has plumber’s block. Writers just have the added advantage that they have a word for it that makes it sound more legit. It was one of the things that gave me the inspiration to write more frequently, or at least to keep doing so.

But then there are moments like tonight, when I sat down in front my screen and didn’t really have anything to say. That doesn’t literally mean I have nothing to say. But I try to make myself update at least four times a week if I can help it, and sometimes my enthusiasm for the whole thing is just at a low ebb. This week has been one of those weeks, where every entry has felt a little rote, words haven’t come easily, and it’s easy to question why I’m doing this in the first place.

At some point I’d like to actually make some money writing. The trouble is, I’m not completely sure what I do as the next step to make it happen. It’s not even a matter of effort, though I probably need to just keep hitting the pavement and trying to get my stuff out there. I’m terrible about looking at options and things to do, and then never actually doing them. More than once I’ve resolved to just push through that and try to find freelance work. But even then, how does that happen? Do I just write for a content mill for a pittance? Do I shop articles around to places? How is that even done? I’m able to find a lot of good stuff on how to do it in print, but writing for a website is a different beast. All of the articles on web writing usually amount to hollow hucksterism and empty self-promotion. Maybe that’s what it takes, and that just bums me out. And I’m already just about tapped out writing as much as I do.

Besides, I don’t yet have a lot of experience writing about much besides board games, and while I’ve received wonderful support from a lot of people I still feel rather minor-league as that goes. I don’t know if that’s really the case or not, but it often feels like the kind of board game writing I do isn’t really that valued by hobbyists, who mostly seem to want bullet points and lots of pictures. How does one push through to the next level? Is there even a next level to push through to? And is that even something I want to write about for an extended time, even if it’s for money? I like writing about movies a lot too (and you’ll see some more of that after Potterville finishes up), but everyone writes about movies. Is being good at it enough? I don’t have any answers. I’m not sure anyone does. But it’s easy to look at all of this stuff and feel like it’s just not worth the trouble.

But then I come back to the fact that blogging has become one of my real passions in life, something special that I do that kind of keeps me sane. Maybe opportunities will open for me that will be obvious enough for me to see, or maybe it’s just a goof-off I do forever. I don’t know. But I do know that it’s something I need to do.

Just keep writing…


One thought on “Removing the Bottom of the Barrel

  1. I blogged professionally for a while. I have no tips to offer you on how to get the jobs unfortunately – I sort of fell into it via a couple of gigs offered me by some PRs I had interacted with on my blog.

    One job was writing about parenting issues for a drinks manufacture blog, the other was writing about pop culture for Xbox UK. Both subjects interest me and were ones that I dealt with on my own blog.

    However I found that having deadlines, guidelines, and being paid actually took every jot of fun out of writing and i gave it up pretty quickly.

    I’m not saying that would happen to you obviously, but for me having my hobby also be my work doesn’t suit me at all as I lose all enjoyment in it.

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