[Insert Title Here] – A Discussion on Creative Bankruptcy

We’ve All Been There

You Know the feeling where you don’t know what to write about despite the seemingly infinite amount of things you could be writing about? That’s me right now. Today I’ll be talking about feeling creatively spent, even when you still have plenty of ideas. Sorry for the lack of reviews on my part lately too, I guess I just have a lot of discussion lately. With that, let’s get to it.

When I talk about creative bankruptcy I don’t mean it in the way it is typically applied. At least in the reviewing sense, I’m not saying someone has reached a point of copy + paste iteration or unoriginality. Rather, I mean the feeling that you have nothing meaningful to contribute and would have to rely more heavily on more uninspired works that don’t live up to your own standards. Hopefully that wasn’t as confusing but that’s how my mind envisions it.

Last week you may have noticed that I didn’t produce any content personally, it was all my contributor Jacob (who is awesome). During that week I spent a lot of time doing IRL stuff and prepping for a D&D session that I was guest DM’ing. I spent a lot of time creating materials, even going as far as generating rules and tables for things that don’t currently exist in an official form. When it finally came to present my work, I was spent.

As a result, that session was not great. People still had fun but I was feeling creatively bankrupt. So what’s my point? Despite my wealth of ideas when I sat down to get started, when it finally came down to it, I was somewhat at a loss. If I had prepared so heavily, I have no doubt that the session would have been a huge flop rather than a lukewarm success.

To shift this back to blogging, I often have really great ideas or grandiose works I want to do, but I don’t always know where to start (or how). Let’s look at an example, I could talk about a huge number of things. Just looking around at my room I could pick out any board game, anime, or video game and get to work but I don’t know the first thing I’d want to say about a majority of the things around me.

This isn’t to say I never do this, because I totally do, but I have to have a bout of inspiration to do so. Right now, I’m feeling a distinct lack of creativity. If I were to create anything right now it would be dry and meaningless. Alternatively, I could lean on “easy” articles that are low-effort but aren’t exactly what I want to create.

At the same time, I need to consider my audience. I can’t just write nothing or what I want to write about specifically all the time. There has to be a balance, just like with everything else. So this article is a compromise of sorts. Hopefully it can promote some discussion or offer some insight for somebody. Really though, I just don’t know what to write about and I’m totally spent creatively speaking.

How about you? Do you find yourself at wit’s end to come up with topics for your site or do things come pretty easily? What are some strategies you employ to keep your creative flow going? Discuss and share your thoughts in the comments below. As for me, I’ll have an ABC vote go up later this week but otherwise I’ll be taking the time to enjoy the discussion here and get my mojo back for next week. As always, thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!


34 thoughts on “[Insert Title Here] – A Discussion on Creative Bankruptcy

  1. SpasticSurgeon’s weird methodology incoming

    When I feel like I can’t get the passion flowing what helps a lot is recording my voice and getting all my thoughts out. Then I listen to it and think hard about what the most interesting part is or what makes the best thesis. Then I write down the best parts and use them as notes to record a second audio clip, rinse and repeat until what I’ve written is basically done. I know this is a really weird way of doing things but it’s basically impossible to get writer’s block or something this way.

    As far as just not wanting to write, I’ve found that pacing myself works. Like you said, it’s a fine balance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I write as a ritual. More or less at the same time every day. I generally write two posts a day whether i have something to write about or not. I find that inspiration often comes as Im writting but I will occasionally scrap posts because I just can’t make them work. Since I write more than I post I usually have a bit of a cushion

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, my blog is pretty young so I can’t say I’ve already lost all my post ideas. However I work as digital marketeer, so I just end up being creative all day long and sometimes I just hit a wall and can’t really think of good ideas.
    There are some things I do that help me a lot. I go to Youtube and just search for “creative music”, don0t ask me how but it helps, I change my environment, for example go grab a smoke and do some hiking alone, normally it also helps to unlock new ideas for something. I look out for content that may inspire me, depending on what I have to do I will go to different places. For example if I’m looking for ideas for a design I go to Pinterest, if it’s something bloging related I look through other bloggers posts and things like that. I don’t copy the ideas, but helps my brain to start working and get inspired to new ideas. Ah… Long baths normally also help 🙂
    Hope this tips can be of any help to you because I know how frustrating it is to fell creative block.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I used to run a daily blog at https://angryjedi.wordpress.com in which I could write absolutely anything every day, and oddly enough I found that a lot more challenging at times than my current, more focused work on MoeGamer. I think it’s because at MoeGamer I’ve set myself a few more “rules” and “formats” that I can rely on if inspiration is proving tricky.

    For example, when I launched my “Cover Game” format, in which I devote a whole month to a specific game or series, I started with a strict format in mind: provide a general introduction, then the history of the game or its broader historical context, then an exploration of the mechanical aspects, then a discussion of the story, and finally a look at its aesthetic components. I stuck fairly rigidly to this format for the first few months, but now it’s become a little more flexible as I’ve become more comfortable and confident with what I want to do. (I tend to leave the narrative until last now, since that’s the bit that tends to take the most “research” other than the history!) If I do find myself struggling, though, I know I can always fall back on that original format.

    For days when I’m not doing Cover Game features, I again have distinct “formats” in mind.

    In my case, I devote Wednesdays to my Waifu Wednesday features, which picks a specific female character and explores them in some way — usually through their narrative context, but perhaps also their significance from a historical perspective, or the fact that they were designed by a particular artist.

    Outside of that, the most common format I use are my “Essentials” articles, which are one-shot articles that focus on a specific game with a specific theme in mind — be it a particular genre, the work of a particular company or something on a specific system.

    And outside of all that, I have my “Community” and “One-Shots” categories for when I just want to write something that doesn’t really fit anywhere else. On days where I just want to provide commentary on something topical, I use one of these and don’t follow a specific format. Oddly enough, these are often some of my best-performing posts — people like topical commentary, particularly if it’s on a controversial subject!

    Obviously this is specific to my site, but you may find developing some formats like that for your own content quite helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good way to do things I think. I did have these, but it isn’t as strict as what you’ve described. I’m also not wind about “something something weekday” because that is actually more stressful for me personally. What I’ve been doing works well enough but I know it can always get better.


  5. I’ve been feeling this lately not wishing to write anything. Today I finally feel like writing some content. I needed a personal break. But I always go to my blogger notebook where I write down any blog ideas that come up from reading others content. This had never failed me in when I don’t know what to write about.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve felt that way about several topics. For someone like myself who does music, poetry, film/anime reviews, videography, and fiction, it can be very overwhelming. I try to focus on one or two subjects whenever I have some free time given my heavy work schedule. I set up short-term and long-term goals to try and accomplish. Definitely keep on posting content, but make sure it’s good regardless if it’s an easy or hard subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “I can’t just write nothing or what I want to write about specifically all the time.”

    Why the hell not? It’s your blog and you write the rules. If you have a rule that says you can’t write what you want – line it out!

    Seriously, I’ve heard this complaint before and I just don’t get it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What I mean by that isn’t that I can’t do that ever, but rather if I did that all the time I would lose readership. Despite the wide range of topics I cover, there are still things that if I decided to write about that would be outside the bounds of what I normally cover. If I did that regularly, people may decide I’m not delivering on what they got into my site for.

      I get what you mean though. Doing that sometimes is totally fine. Thanks for reading and the comment though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I definitely understand where Jon’s coming from. It’s an awful feeling really, pressuring yourself to write when you don’t feel capable. But Derek’s right; it’s your blog, your rules.

      Sure you can set a strict schedule to post, but even professionals have off days – inviting a guest writer now and then to pick up the slack. Nothing wrong with that.

      Right now I’m taking Derek’s advice and just taking my time. I definitely need to push out more content but I want to do it on MY terms.

      It’s my blog after all.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m always saying do what’s best for you. Despite my lack of success, I am trying to elevate the site to be more successful so I try to make moves here that I think will help out with that while still being stuff I want to do. I guess it is just tricky to explain?

        Any way, glad you are happy with how you are doing things and taking things at your own pace 🙂


        1. Yeah, being proactive in growing your blog is essential to – well, growth. I think I’m still in that phase of “Wow, someone actually read what I wrote.”

          Your site will continue to grow as long as you keep writing. So write what you want when you want.

          Liked by 2 people

  8. I try to keep a list of potential topics for features and top 5’s with quite a huge range of ideas on it that I write down when I’m overly creative and have no time to actually write the posts. Then, if I’m trying to draft a post and realise I’m stuck for an idea I go back and read through it. Most of the posts on the list still don’t get written but it usually helps me think of something else I’d like to write.

    Liked by 1 person

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