Here's the Thing
A closeup of the ribbon on a manual typewriter.

I’ve Been Staring At This For Two Days

This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #155. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.


Here’s the Thing is where Rob dumps his random thoughts and strong opinions on all manner of nerdy subjects – from videogames and movies to board games and toys.


I love writing for Unwinnable. Love it. I basically have carte blanche to write about anything I want – from videogames to toys to kaiju movies to how much I love my cats, and just about any combination of those (and other) elements you can think of. It can’t be overstated how much I both enjoy and appreciate the level of freedom I have with this gig. But here’s the thing: I’ve been staring at the template for this article for two days now and I still have no fucking clue what to write about.

And that’s the rub when it comes to writing. Sometimes actually getting started can be the biggest challenge of all. There’s no way I’d presume I speak for everyone who writes, but I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one who has this problem. There are days where the work practically bursts out of me. At times I have to make myself stop writing because it’s been several hours and I haven’t eaten anything, let alone moved something other than my hands. On occasion I end up tripping over myself because I’m so excited to write about the next thing it’s making it tough for me to focus on the current thing.

But then there are the other days. I’ve been having a lot of those lately. The days where I want to write – I need to write – but simply working up the enthusiasm to see what I might be able to write about is a challenge. Sometimes once I get going, I’m able to bang out an article at a fairly respectable pace. Sometimes that kickstarts my brain and I’m able to slowly ramp up my enthusiasm and keep things going until I’ve hit my limit. Other times I have to take little mini breaks after every paragraph – every sentence – just to get through it.

Other-other times I want to do this thing I’ve chosen as a career path for myself, and actually do enjoy despite how it may sound going by what you’ve read here, but things just fall flat. I can’t focus; I struggle for every word; I start to get back on track but now it’s time to toss treats to our cats and now I can’t remember where I was is this turning out okay it’s a complete train wreck but I have to get it done oh god it’s already been 45 minutes how much longer until someone asks me where the story is I haven’t been hitting the same numbers that I was when I first started this job sooner or later they’ll catch on and fire me I can’t afford to lose this job I can’t go back to [insert former job I hated or that literally would’ve killed me here] why am I even doing this I’m terrible at writing and even worse at doing it reliably how much longer am I going to have to wait for the other shoe to drop or some other overused phrase?

Point is, I have no idea what my point is. I legitimately had no idea what I was going to write about when I sat down and forced myself to stare at this template until something – anything – popped into my head. Then I thought “Well I guess I could write about how much trouble I’m having with writing this,” and now here we all are. I suppose I can always hope that somebody reading this can relate, and that maybe knowing they aren’t the only ones who sometimes go through this will help them to feel a little bit better? Did writing all of this out make me feel better? I have no idea. I wish I did.


Rob Rich is a guy who’s loved nerdy stuff since the 80s, from videogames to anime to Godzilla to Power Rangers toys to Transformers, and has had the good fortune of being able to write about them all. He’s also editor for the Games section of Exploits! You can still find him on Twitter, Instagram and Mastodon.


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