Today I sat down at my computer intending to write a blog post. I had a game in mind and a story to go along with it – that’s usually how my posts germinate in the first place. I fired everything up, logged onto WordPress, and started a draft. And then…I just sat there staring at the blank screen. My fingers were ready to type, but my brain had other ideas…as in no ideas. The light of what I thought was inspiration shone very dimly. I managed to get out a few fragmented thoughts before the words vanished into nothing.
“Damn,” I thought, “maybe I really don’t have much to say about this game.”
I saved my sad draft and started perusing the web hoping to gain a burst of creativity from other authors. I have a cache of video game blogs that I regularly visit (hint hint, blog/podcast rolls over there on the right), and every now and again, I venture out into new territory, either searching through WordPress or Google for new blogs. I looked at images and videos of the game I had intended to write volumes about. I listened to commentary about the game industry and read some gaming news. And then, as resentment at my lack of creativity set in, a horrible thought crossed my mind. That one, horrible thought that’s guarantee to invaded every writer’s psyche at least once during their life:
“Why am I even doing this??”
I mentioned before that I didn’t really have a goal in mind when I started this blog. Early on, once I had started writing I had to continue writing. The memories came fast and furious, and I had to get them out of my head or they’d just rattle about incessantly causing constant distraction. And that hasn’t really stopped. Once I get a blog thought in my head, I have to get it out somehow, otherwise it nags at the back of my mind – it talks to me and, at worst, makes me feel absolutely loopy. And when I start typing, what comes out ranges from a paragraph of sense to a deluge of random thoughts.
But some days, there are no words. Only fleeting thoughts that I think are something, yet turn out to be nothing. While some video games have definitely wedged themselves into my conscious mind for good, the honest truth is that many of them are simply drops in the entertainment bucket. Like seeing movies…that one that was pretty good with whathisname…what was it? I tend hold onto ticket stubs because sometimes it’s the only memory I have of ever seeing a particular movie in the theatre.
Like most, I tend to attach memories to things. And now that I’m writing about video games, I regret that I never thought to keep at least the ones I loved most (let alone every one that I have ever played). So sometimes, when I’m recalling a game, I have little more in my mind that a vision of the cartridge and me with a controller in hand. Had I thought back then “I’m going to write game about this someday!” maybe I’d have committed more to memory.
But it’s not just conjuring up memories on cue that’s the problem – it’s writing about the games themselves. Even with the help of the internet to job my memory, what’s difficult to translate on the page is the experience, especially if the experience wasn’t all that personal (or personable) to begin with. The thing of it is, I’m writing to a very specific audience here. It’s actually a little easier to write straight posts about the middling games, the ones I neither liked nor hated, because there aren’t a ton of emotions to deal with. So then, when I’m writing about a game that I simple adore, I feel as though I have to balance my fangirl with facts, and I don’t really know why. It’s a weird conundrum that has plagued my ability to write of late. It’s part of the reason I needed that vacation from blogging.
To a certain degree, this form of self-restraint and reflection has quelled possibly insulting rants directed towards the gaming community at-large. For instance, I haven’t been able to write about Wolfenstein 3D, a game that is beloved by many, because I despised it so severely. The memories of it bring forth nothing but rancor that has nothing to do with the game and everything to do with problems in life at the time that I don’t really want to discuss (but maybe need to if only to explain my hatred). I don’t have issues doing this with games I loved (i.e. Banjo-Kazooie), but it can be extremely difficult with the games I disliked. Not that I care about trolls leaving mean comments — I think it has more to do with rectifying my current warped sensibilities against the composition of my actual gaming memories.
And now I’m pretty sure I’m over-thinking this, because I’m using big words and phrases and I’m pretty sure I’m just rambling in run-on sentences now. But at least all this stuff is out of my head. Thanks for reading. If you made it to the end of with strange discourse, congratulations, you get the “Traversing a Writer’s Tangled Thoughts” achievement!
On my end, this flushing of thoughts has uncovered a little inspiration. Maybe now I can get back to that post I was going to write.