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Writer's Block(s) | Gimme Schalter No. 42

Gimme Schalter
Writer's Block(s) | Gimme Schalter No. 42
By Ty Schalter • Issue #42 • View online
“Writer’s Block,” as people who are not writers understand it, is mostly bullshit.
That’s not to say writers never spend hours, days, weeks, months, or years lamenting their lack of progress on a work-in-progress. I don’t mean to insinuate that no writer has ever stared into the white abyss of the blank page, guided to nowhere by the incompetent Sherpas of alcohol and nicotine.
But so much more often than not, in my experience, being blocked isn’t about having no idea what to write. It’s being crushed under the weight of all the ideas and possibilities I want to commit to the page.

Too much words! So blocked! (Art by Rae)
Too much words! So blocked! (Art by Rae)
I have so many Gimmes Schalter to write for you all, so many essays dying to get from my fingers to your inbox. I’m itching to write a follow-up to a FiveThirtyEight article that hasn’t even run yet. Substack laid off 1/7th of their entire workforce. I was voluntold to captain a hastily assembled squad of soccer-playing strangers, and we had an incredible (and incredibly fun) season. I received an absolutely gorgeous hardcover graphic novel for review. Twitter launched incredibly long Tweets as a professional writing platform (?!?). There’s been a rash of white writers stepping on the same old rake: Taking big money from big platforms to write irresponsibly about a hot-button social issue, and getting all mad at the backlash. My kids are doing amazing things (like my youngest, who doesn’t have a public Internet presence yet, whomping up the above image). USC and UCLA somehow joined the Big Ten.
And, oh yeah, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a flurry of rulings that dismantled even the appearance of equal protection under the law.
Like, I’m sure, many of you, I’ve spent the last week oscillating between hopeless apathy and feverish action, loudly rejecting this regressive aggression and determinedly carrying on. I’ve wanted to drop all my responsibilities and type for days on end, and I’ve wanted to go HAM on my to-do list so when I do get a chance to write it’s in good health and conscience.
In all of the above, I’ve erred toward the latter: Doing what I’ve needed to do, finishing what I’ve wanted to finish, chored what I’ve needed to chore and self-cared for what’s needed self-caring.
Going into this long weekend, I feel better about the person I am and the space around me than, maybe, I ever have? And yet I know that fascism wins when everyone shuts up, rolls over, pretends there’s just nothing that can be done and just gets on with it.
So maybe I’m screwing up. But right now, controlling what I can control has put me in a much better place to make the world a better space for everyone else.
Three & Out's Been Killing It
It’s been an awesome couple of weeks for my NFL podcast, Three & Out. We had ESPN’s amazing Mina Kimes on last week, and of course she was amazing.
This week’s episode went there on reproductive rights–but but also on call-outs, call-ins, and the role of sports in affecting social change.
Give it a listen. If you dig it, subscribe? If you subscribe, leave a rating or review!
Ty Schalter
Joe Burrow sharing a pro-choice meme gave me, @samanthabunten, and @schottey a chance to dig into male allyship and visibility in an honest, funny, serious, smart and meta way: https://t.co/xlzPJhZwax https://t.co/6ok92ypuS4
Everything Awesome
Years ago, I followed a comic artist named Branson Reese on Twitter because his tweets sometimes had funny comics in them. I was just getting into actual-play TTRPG podcasts in 2019, though, when he and the rest of the brilliant cast and crew launched “Rude Tales of Magic.”
I knew from the buzz alone that this one would be Tynip, and I wanted to, I don’t know, save it for an occasion that demanded some truly escape-y escapism.
Dobbs v. Jackson was that time.
I just finished Episode 15, “Mountaintop,” which was brilliant and dumb and heart-wrenching and funny and joyful and kind of gross and genuinely inspirational, much like the rest of the show. I bet you won’t need to listen nearly that long to be as hooked as I am.
Ty Forquer and I have been mutuals, mutual admirers, and friends for like a decade, all while rivalling one another for the title of Lansing’s Most Notable Ty.
But neither of us knew Larry Kirchhoff before he paid for this remarkable ad for his business, All-Star Mechanical. Ty snapped a pic and posted it, and people rightly shared it around. I don’t have need for HVAC services right now, but if I ever do I’ll absolutely ring Larry up:
It’s hard out there for video-game content creators, trying to satisfy the insatiable demand for guides and how-tos while also making stuff that satisfies you professionally and creatively.
Collin MacGregor threaded the needle on this one–showing the reader not just how to manage the difficulty of the game, but how he manages the difficulty of creating how-tos for a game that’s notoriously difficult to, uh, to.
As someone who both appreciates aethetics and believes that sports and sports identities are meaningul, of course I love me some UniWatch.
On this one Rathjen explained how easy it is, and how helpful it is, for sportswriters to…just…cover men’s and women’s sports. Both of them. As if they exist, and are meaningful. Because they do, and they are!
#TyNoWriPro
I’ve actually been making some real headway on Codex 17 over the last week, sending out the first five chapters of my cannibalized 1.5 draft to a couple of new CPs. I’m trying to stitch together the rest of the 1.5 draft over the weekend, and then begin the real work of progressing from 1.5 to 2.0.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Ty Schalter

The latest thoughts, hottest takes, and coolest work of Ty Schalter, a professional writer & talker (@FiveThirtyEight, @ThreeOutPod). Lots of sports, geeky stuff, social commentary and more.

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