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Embrace Your Writer’s Block (You’re on the Verge of Something Great)

Writer’s block is the bane of every author’s existence. Whether you’re brainstorming for a school paper or you’re tackling a new chapter for the next great American novel, writing is tough. Fabricating a story, article, essay, etc. from scratch takes an incredible amount of focus and careful planning. Words hold more power than people think so when you’re trying to get a message across as clearly as possible, it can take a toll on your brain and, sometimes, this toll means you can’t think of anything to write at all. As annoying and discouraging as this is, don’t worry— it means you’re on the right track to creating something amazing. Writer’s block is a sign that you’re being picky with your ideas and waiting for something brilliant to strike. When you can’t think of what to put next on the page, it usually means that you have a standard of quality that you want your work to meet which is awesome because your final product will show how your words have gone through a careful vetting process in which you only used your best ideas.

If you’re suffering from this crappy temporary condition, there are definitely things you can do to help get the creative juices flowing again. Writer’s block usually means you have a million ideas of what to write in your head but you’re too scared or nervous to pick one and roll with it. Just do it; even if it sucks it’ll help the process of creating something even better. If you’re a laptop user and typically write using a keyboard, try switching over to a notebook and pen. You’d be surprised how effective changing your method of writing can be. When writing academic papers, especially, I find that my best theses come to me when I can physically write it out and quickly scratch out certain words and rearrange my phrasing without having to click a million buttons.

For my fiction writers out there, try using your writer’s block towards another creative outlet like drawing. Even if you can only draw stick figures, it’s still super beneficial to illustrate your storyline and characters. In my personal experience, I’ve found that new ideas produce when you can physically see your characters come to life. It makes the process of giving them a story surprisingly easy. Writer’s block is usually your brain’s way of telling you that it needs a break from the verbal portion of creating a story but that doesn’t mean that you need to stop working altogether. Sketching, painting, pottery, whatever floats your boat. Just try working with your hands to get your creativity up and running again! 

So embrace the agony of not being able to string a sentence for hours on end. It’s an opportunity for you to relax while you sort through and test out the ideas that you have in your brain. The trial-and-error process of throwing random thoughts on paper during a bout of writer’s block is actually a great chance for you to explore your artistic style as a writer. Without the pressure of feeling like whatever you create has to be great, you can let yourself go and just write whatever you want and maybe you’ll get that one-in-a-million sentence that ties together your whole literary piece or you’ll think of the topic for the next number one New York Times Best Seller.

Photos/Gifs: 12, 3,  

Danielle Jin

U Mass Amherst '20

Dani is a senior at UMass Amherst majoring in English with a double minor in psychology and education. Aside from writing for Her Campus, Dani loves being with her friends, hiking with her dog, marathoning bad horror movies on Netflix, and eating unhealthy amounts of Haagen Dasz green tea ice cream. Right now, she's just trying to figure out her next move post-graduation :)
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