How to attack writer’s block

Monday, August 4, 2014

I have nothing to say.

Honestly I can’t think of a thing to write.  I guess I have been attacked by the dreaded writer’s block.

I’m going to venture out and say that every college student has faced this unwelcomed fiend.

I have been on the Trend staff for two years and have written numerous articles on top of innumerable essays for classes. I am sure by now I have written enough words to fill the pages of “Moby Dick.”

I have had to deal with writer’s block too many times to count and no one time is easier to get through than the last. It is painful to experience and I wish I never had to go through it.

However, knowing that I am prone to the condition, I have found remedies that help me to overcome the obstacle so I can get the job done. Hopefully by sharing my tips I can help you out of future situations when you are staring at a blank or unfinished paper and wanting to pull out your hair.

First, knowing that I do tend to get writer’s block while writing articles or essays, I try to start writing as soon as I know I have an assignment. Yes, this is not the cool way to do it because it’s what our professors suggest, but it honestly works. If you start with ample time to finish, there is a lot of wiggle room and your brain will be able to think more openly and more freely.

If you’ve started early and you do end up with writer’s block, you have time to take a step back from the project and eventually go back to it with a fresh mindset. Doing this allows different juices to flow in your mind to get over the writer’s block bump.

Secondly, taking a pen to paper always helps me when I am in a rut. When I get an assignment and I know that I am going to have difficulties with finishing it or even starting it, I take out my old-fashioned pen and paper to map out what I want to write.

I know that writing outlines is what we did in high school, but it really does help me plan for the ruts before I find myself in them. However, if I don’t map out my ideas before I start with the assignment and I do stumble across an unexpected troubling spot, I still take out my pen and paper.

Something in the way I learn requires me to perform motor skills. So, if I write out anything that is in my brain with my hand, I can start figuring out what I want to write.  This also helps me in my editing process because I write on paper without editing. When I eventually begin to type it, I get a second look at my words and sentences and it’s easier to edit at that point.

My third tip is a small issue, but it helps me.

I turn my music off. Well, I turn Internet music off. 

If I am on Pandora or YouTube thinking about what song I want to hear next, I cannot think about what I need to write.  Those other pesky sites that only waste time are always looming on the horizon and just want to divert you from doing your homework so you can take quizzes to find out more about yourself. 

So, if I need music I will turn on my iPod on and set it on a different table or I will break out the good ol’ CDs or cassettes.

The fourth device that helps me is working out. If I find myself up against a wall, it is always refreshing to go out and run or ride my bicycle to think about what I want to write.  When I get back I can always think more clearly, and I am also more motivated to think.

The last tip I have for you guys is this: if you have writer’s block, take thirty minutes to read another book.  It always helps me when I use my brain on something else in order to get my brain awakened or refocused.  If I take a short break to open the book I have been reading for leisure, when I get back to my assignment I see it as less of a chore and more of an extension of my “fun” read, and the words come much easier. 

Whatever ritual you go through to get over the vile and malicious writer’s block that wants all college students to pull their hair out and turn in half-done papers, do it. We can’t let this adversary win! We have to put up the best fight we have in ourselves and kill writer’s block in its tracks and band together for the sake of all college students out there!