The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
As I sat in my bed attempting to write my first-ever Her Campus article, it hit me. The fog. The mistyping. The lack of words. After 30 minutes of aimless typing and a constant motion back to the right corner of my keyboard, I knew I had a bad case of it.
Google defines it as a “creative stall.” A stall that “is not a result of commitment problems or the lack of writing skills.” But if that is really the case, why does it feel so insufferable? And how in the world do I make it stop?
As a journalism major with a niche for creative writing, I have experienced my fair share of the dreaded block. The block that hits hours before a final paper is due. The block that slows your fingers and cramps your hands. The block that makes it impossible to be anything but frustrated.
Having late assignment after late assignment because of it, I have picked up a trick or two to stop the infuriation of the so-called creative stall. So next time you can not seem to write or your fingers can not seem to grasp what your mind is saying, check out my tips and try them for yourself. They might just save you from that not-so-truthful excuse you are planning on emailing your professor.
The first time I experienced hard-hitting writer’s block was during the spring semester of my sophomore year. I sat in my dorm for three hours, staring at a blank document before I knew what was happening. I had a paper due that night at 11:59 p.m., and as the clock ticked by, my stare became more and more blank.
My roommate watched as I didn’t move, didn’t touch my laptop, and didn’t drink water for three hours until she got the courage to interrupt. “Get up,” she said.
So I did. I stood up from my chair, slipped on my sneakers and walked the halls of my residence building.
Twenty minutes later, I had an idea for my paper.
Moving may sound like the simplest thing, but sometimes when you are in the midst of a block, you do not think simply. So next time you find yourself staring at a blank document unable to type anything, except your name and the date, go for a walk.
It might spark an idea.
2. Grab some food
Writing constantly uses brain power. To get the power moving and in order, you have to fuel it.
Grab a snack from your mini-fridge, head to the dining hall with some friends or bake yourself a cake. The time doing so is not a waste; it is a necessity.
And hey, who knows, maybe you will taste something delicious that will ignite your senses and make for a good adjective in your work.
3. Write one word
As I move along in my academic career, I am often faced with writing prompts that seem almost impossible. I have to do research, conduct studies and report on them. Dreadful, right?
So, one of the first steps I take to complete the impossible is writing one word. I open my laptop, click on a blank document and write one word. Usually a verb. Sometimes an adjective. Anything that will produce a thought.
Next, I close my laptop.
Later in the day, I will open it up. I will see that one word on the otherwise-blank document, and I will write. Who knows why it works, but trust me, it does.
4. Give yourself some slack
Every writer experiences it. No one can possibly have great ideas all the time. And even if they could, I can guarantee that they could not put them on paper at any given time.
College is hard. Being creative is hard. It is ok not to be able to do the best and everything all the time.
Writer’s block is a part of being a writer, and sometimes when I am experiencing it, I smile to myself.
Because when you have the inescapable block, it means you are a real writer.