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My Experience With Writer’s Block

Since the start of quarantine, I've noticed that my writing skills have taken a turn for the worst. You would think that a global pandemic would give me more time to write and my skills would somehow improve, but alas, that's not what happened. As a journalism major, I spend most of my time using and applying the AP (Associated Press) style to my writing. AP Style is a unique grammar style used by the press to quickly inform their readers of an event or disaster. The press relies on this style to brief their audience in concise and coherent sentences. This doesn't leave a lot of room for creative flair. Now, don't get me wrong, if you write about things like art shows, entertainment or animals, you have a little more room for expressive adjectives. 

At this point in my life, it's hard to find stories that can excite me or fill me with passion, and if I do, my writer's block sinks in and destroys my creativity. I began my writing journey in middle school, and at that point in my life, I was focused solely on creative writing like poetry, short stories and personal essays. When I came to college and switched from writing poetry with a free form to depending entirely on the inverted pyramid form of writing, it left me to question my skills as a writer. 

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When I'm weighed down with impossibly high expectations for an article or piece that I'm writing, I can feel almost paralyzed by my need for perfection. When that happens, I find the best way to get rid of writer's block is time. Forcing yourself to have an epiphany while you're staring at a blank screen is like watching the grass grow: time-consuming and pointless. Instead, take some time away from your computer and do things that can help spark your creativity. Try rereading your favorite book or scrolling through your favorite influencer's Instagram. The inspiration, that can help fuel your imagination, doesn't have to come from books or poetry. It could be anything that brings your joy like scrolling through twitter, people watching or working out. 

Doing activities that take your mind off the task at hand or the book you're struggling to write usually helps me push past my writer's block. However, sometimes it's too hard to get past writer's block and that can be discouraging and frustrating.

If you're stuck in a rut and everything you write is pure crap, that's okay. If you're a procrastinator like me and find that you don't have time to step away from your computer oftentimes the best thing you can do is to just get words on the page. That may seem counterintuitive and reading your piece may make you want to cringe self-loathingly, but at least you have something that you can edit. 

I'm sure, at some point, every well-known writer or artist has questioned whether they're good enough to pursue their passion as a career. You're not alone in your struggle, just remember that writing is like art: subjective.

Sarah is a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University and is majoring in Mass Communications and minoring in Fashion Merchandising. Sarah enjoys reading, writing, and discussing sustainable fashion brands. Sarah spends most of her time, and money, on Depop fueling her shopping addiction. Follow her on instagram @Sarah_parker9 and Twitter @_parker_9
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