Have you ever experienced that feeling of empty thought: the sensation of having something to say and then not being able to express it in words? The clichéd term for this annoying state is called “writer’s block.” Ancient Romans and Greeks believed that writer’s block could be fixed by the will of the gods, which meant being granted inspiration from one of the nine Muses.
Sadly, the gifts of the Muses do not seem to grace us poor college students, especially during the times when we need it the most. Mid-terms, finals, and even one’s honors thesis are not done without the writer having to struggle at least once with overcoming this common affliction. Even when attempting to write my latest blog post, I am ridden with this all consuming sense of nothing. “What about my amazing experience at W&M hasn’t been said before, and even more important, how would I even begin retelling said events to the world.”
Therefore, like in the Cohen brother’s cult film Burton Fink, a movie all about a guy who has writer’s block, I shall emulate their plot by exploring “what is writer’s block.” However, instead of boring you with dull descriptions of my personal confusion, maybe I can enlighten instead. The following list has a couple tips for overcoming writer’s block that have helped me and others in the past:
1. Brain storming really does help: If you are writing a paper for a class, for example, and don’t know how to begin, take some time to just write everything about your topic down in some fashion or another. Even creating a rough outline can give you enough of a spark to at least show you the path you need to take when writing.
2. Talk with others: The best ideas are not created alone. Talking with classmates, friends, even your professors can give you a sense of direction, or at least some other ideas to ponder, some of which you might not have thought of before.
3. Sometimes it’s just better to come back to it later: As William and Mary students, we hate to give up, but taking a study break is actually healthy and more helpful than just attempting to push through. Take time to clear your mind, maybe even have some fun and relax so that you can be ready for when the ideas do begin to flow. The traditional study break for a TWAMP: the all-important midnight Wawa run!!!
Hopefully these tips might distress you if you ever do feel the symptoms of writer’s block creeping on. As for me, my “writer ‘blo’g” (haha get it :::ba dum chah:::) is officially cured!