crop woman writing down notes in diary

Writing On Empty: My Writer’s Block Tantrum

Remember Boyz II Men- the great Philadelphia R&B band from the 90s? One of their biggest hit songs may apply to me right now:

The End Of The Road

Click here for Boyz II Men End Of The Road


I may be at the end of the road with my writing. I’ve written about this before on my personal blog, (btw- if that’s something you’re interested in checking out, you’d better do it quick because I’m not sure if I’m soon pulling the plug on it or not).

I’m not sure what type of writer I am.  I’m also not sure if I have anything to say right now. I’ve tried writing personal stories and opinion pieces. I’ve tried taking the little instances of daily life and reflecting on their deeper meaning. I’ve experimented with telling jokes, sharing parenting advice and even a few travel tips.  For a while, it was fun.  But now it seems like a task I have to complete. 

Who am I completing it for? Myself? The handful of people that are kind enough to read it?

I think I still enjoy writing when I have something to say, but at this point I just don’t have anything to say.

I don’t care about the fate of my personal Five O’Clock Shadow blog either, at least right now. As I said in a previous article on this topic, most of it is filler anyway.

But I am very fond of my friends at Wise & Shine and our product. I still believe in the potential of this project.  So, I’m not ready to give that one up. 

But I’m also not feeling the burn of new stories and ideas as they leap out of my fingers and onto the screen.  

And while I’m whining about writing, let me just mention this other thing I’m very sick of: SEO.

I understand that it’s important and I get the reasons why. But I’m sick of seeing my computerized SEO guide tell me what a bad writer I am,  and how my stories and style are not readable. 

I have to be honest- I don’t care. When I post something, I think it’s readable or else I wouldn’t post it. I understand that fewer people will see my piece if I don’t follow the SEO rules, but- I don’t care.

I feel like a musician whose record label demands him to write a certain type of song, when his inspiration is to write something else.

“This record will never sell,” the label says.

“Who cares. We’re playing what we feel,” says the band.

woman working in home office
Photo by Ivan Samkov on

Except that I do care a bit. I certainly want people to see and read my writing, yet I don’t want to do it “the right way” unless it suits me.

I’m beginning to resist the time and effort it takes to write. I’m starting to resent the posting deadlines even though most of them are self-imposed.  

More posts is supposed to equal more readers which is supposed to equal- what exactly?

A few weeks ago in a post on this same topic, my blog buddy Wynne Leon reminded me of something I said on one of our Wise & Shine podcasts. The topic that day was: trying. 

Wynne asked me how I knew whether or not to continue working on a project when things were not going well.

I said something along the lines of this: if the effort is fun, or if I’m inspired by some part of the process or the result, then I don’t mind the setbacks that come with trying to figure things out. But if I’m dreading the process, then I know that the project is not for me.

I may have reached that point of dreading the process with writing. I’m not sure. 

I’m not ready to totally give up yet, but I have had my hand on the mouse several times, ready to delete my personal blog. But I guess I’ll leave it up at least for now; unattended and barely visited, not unlike the corner grocery store that sits across the intersection from the brand new Walmart.

“Is that old place even open anymore?”

I’ll continue writing for Wise & Shine and hopefully will work through my issues. But as far regular posting on my other site, I think BB King summed it up the best…at least for now.

The Thrill Is Gone

Click here for BB King’s The Thrill Is Gone

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36 thoughts on “Writing On Empty: My Writer’s Block Tantrum

  1. First, can I say this is a delightfully written post? Honest, beautifully accompanied by songs, and digging for the meaning behind it all. I really enjoy your writing, being your blog buddy, and would feel sad to see you hang up your typewriter – but that’s not enough of a why to give you or anyone else reason to write, is it?

    I wonder if the dread coincides with the rise of something else in your life – like your music which seems to be going awfully well. Sometimes it’s the juxtaposition of all the things we can choose from that gets to us, right?

    Hope you keep writing, my friend!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Wynne!
      “Sometimes it’s the juxtaposition of all the things we can choose from that gets to us”- I think you really might be onto something with this line. I think I just have to allow the writing to be whatever it’s going to be and not worry about what I think it “should be”. Thanks again for the insightful comment! 🙂

  2. Oh my…I was thinking something similar to what Wynne just said. I see you as such a brilliant, “creative”, Todd — given your musical talents AND your writing gifts. I wonder if your music is meeting the need to create, express yourself – at least for now? I could see how that might be the case – for the reasons Wynne mentioned. You are so accomplished…maybe it’s an energy thing?
    But this post? It’s chock full of good, insightful, reflective goodness. And I think other writers will relate. I know I do. There are days when I don’t think I have a thing to say/share and I think I’m learning to give into the feeling. Take care…🥰

    1. Thanks, Victoria! I appreciate your kind words and compliments, and possible over estimation of my talents 😂 Seriously though I think you and Wynne raise a good point and I appreciate your input. I’ll sort this out eventually but for the time being, whining about it was easier 😂

      1. Nah, nah — not whining… I like to call it ‘reflecting’! 😂 And I’m not just being nice about your talents. You’ve got ’em…and it’s okay to be picky and listen to your gut/heart/head. 😘

      2. Ah reflecting- I like that! 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement and support! 💚

    2. This was such a heart-felt post, I felt the pull to contribute to the conversation too. 🙂 Always happy to come to Wise & Shine and read everyone’s inspiration. 🙂

  3. 1st time reading a full blog. I’m very impressed and think you should probably listen to your heart not SEO on what your writers desire from you, because we like your style, not an AI interpretation of your style.
    I understand your feelings about wanting to quit. My master skillset is airbrush art. It’s what I been doing since 16 years old. I retired from it when I thought I had enough of it. Then I started writing and learning. Wow that becomes a brain workout for sure. So I went back to airbrushing but demanding a higher price because I get less customers but I give it my all and the ones that pay leave with a huge smile every time.
    So, idk I realize sometimes we need a break from the task that regularly consumes us, but if it’s something we are great at it will keep finding us. And I retired twice already, no where near retirement age btw 😂 I found out that gets overwhelming, just trying to relax and not do anything. Sometimes I start meditating and come up with great things to write about, so staying still seems to be a problem for me. Well hope you find what keeps you happy. Thank you for sharing your wonderful post!

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Alex! I think you’re right about things coming back to us even if we take a break. Thanks for your encouragement!

      1. A break is necessary and it is best if you take as long as you need. You are a great writer and it would be sad to see you take all your stuff down, I just started to get to know your writing.
        Have fun and enjoy life my friend.

      2. Thanks very much Alex! I’ll leave everything up- removing it doesn’t really add any value now that I think about it 🙂

  4. Hi Todd 😁🖐 hope that made you feel a little better. As someone who is still excited by writing and blogging, I’d say you don’t want to push yourself to do something – you’ll just end up hating and resenting it. As Vicki and Wynne said, your music is acting as your passion for now and you need to follow your dreams. Blog/write when you feel like it but don’t feel obliged or pressured to do it.

    I must admit when I logged in on Monday to upload my post the SEO software kind of freaked me out, so I ignored it. 🤭

    Don’t delete your personal blog … you might regret it down the line. You’ll know when the time is right and if its the right decision, but not when decisions are driven my emotions.

    Would changing the schedule for posting on Wise & Shine take some pressure off?

    I think you need to take time to pursue your dreams; do what makes you happy and you’ll know that you still have your audience if you do post something. But if not, we’ll miss your words but take pleasure in knowing you’re doing what you love.

    1. Thanks Brenda- I appreciate the advice and encouragement! I know you’re right – I’m not going to delete my 5 o’clock shadow blog, but I probably will let it sit unattended for a while. I do enjoy Wise & Shine and I can manage one post a week there. 🙏

  5. Todd, I’ve read your you on W&S and enjoyed the topics. I have toa greee with Brenda. Just surveyed your blog, keep the blog delete the SEO software, it is evil. I love music so I have lots of reading to do.

  6. I need to lead with I hate the whole SEO thing too, I don’t get it, I don’t want to get it, and I definitely don’t want to think about it when I’m spilling my guts on a new blog! Okay, that said, I really enjoyed your post. When I pause and take a breath to consider why I write, if I were honest, I would admit it’s a form of therapy and forced self reflection. I find out all sorts of things about myself, some good, some less than admirable. But I could be selling myself and my passion short. There is something so pleasant that happens when I let go, allowing my thoughts to trickle down through my fingers to the keyboard, and I completely lose track of time. I believe I am always trying to get back to that space but I’m also kingly aware when life drags me down the river and I’m swept away by the sheer joy of living, that too, is a gift to be savored. Well, that’s my two cents. Have a fabulous weekend Todd. Hugs, C

    1. Thank you Cheryl- I really appreciate you reading and commenting! I’m grateful to Wynne also who found your comment somehow in our spam folder, and let me know about it. Otherwise I would’ve missed it 😳 Being swept away by the sheer joy of living- what a great way to describe that situation! Thanks for your input!

  7. I agree with all what has been said before Todd. Moreover, life is too short to struggle with something that is supposed to be a passion. If you need some inspiration, read some previous posts and maybe you find something you would like to dig deeper, or you could develop something different. You can also write a list of topics you would like to write about. But above all, be well and enjoy life!

  8. This resonates so much to me. My personal blog is my tribe, but I feel like I’m running out of steam blogging over at writerofwordsetc the way I used to. I love them, you understand, the people who follow, like and comment, but there is something that feels needs shifting in my writing career.

    I came here to this new blog to try out a new direction and see where it will take me. But there’s this cyclical nature to writing that has been in a down turn, a desert of sort, for so long I don’t know if I remember HOW to write properly.

    But the thing is: why do we pressure ourselves? The SEO reminders are annoying and should go eff off, frankly, on the personal blogs in particular, because we are there for the community, the passion for the written word, the mutual appreciation for other bloggers and writers. Many of us write what we want and when we want. Twice a day? Sure. Once a week? Sure. Twice a day for ten weeks and then nothing for five weeks? Fine. If we want to write, we should. If we don’t, we can take a break. There is no need to always try to aspire higher, is there?

    The blog is there to allow us to be authentic and real. Authenticity and reality don’t contain SEOs or any of that jazz that is so important when you need to earn from a specific craft on the internet.

    I don’t know where my life writing life will take me, but I decided to keep for another year albeit downgraded to personal (from premium), so I can continue to write for those readers I consider my tribe, JUST BECAUSE I WANT TO.

    Maybe that’s the key. 😉

    1. Thanks for commenting Claudette- I agree- the only thing that really works (as I’m learning) is writing just because we/whenever we want to.

  9. Todd, when it’s time, it’s time. You sound like I did in the months before I retired. It’s all good. Take some time, don’t do anything to drastic. ( like deleting your blog) You’ll find yourself a new hobby. Bowling, line dancing, hey I here pickle ball is fun. 😁

    1. Haha yes- pickle ball is huge where I live! Thanks Kevin- I’ll keep the blog while I sort this out 😎

  10. Can totally relate and in fact have just written a blog on this fact and posted yesterday. I try not to overthink it all. It is that simple including SEO. .

  11. Life is too short to force something that doesn’t want to come. There’s nothing wrong with pressing pause on any aspect of your life (ok, that’s wrong….I don’t recommend pressing pause on breathing, that would be bad) to take a break and regroup. You may discover a new love and inspiration for your writing, or you may decide you miss it even less than you imagined. Maybe consider posting this message on your blog as a “stay tuned for further developments” decision, and sit with it for a while?

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