“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration; the rest of us get up and go to work” — Stephen King
Running into walls never results in a good time. Upon impact, bones can are at risk to be broken, faces can be smashed, and skin can be torn. In shorter terms, it hurts to run into a wall. With the pain comes a stop in momentum which simply describes the mental barrier known as writer’s block.
When the 2018-2019 school year began, I started the semester with high hopes for my writing. As the semester dragged on however, I felt like my ideas continued to be less and less creative and required less effort to make, until eventually I ran out of cheap ideas altogether.
When you hit writer’s block, you hit a state of despair, lacking all elements of inspiration to write. When desperate, a human will rush to find the quickest and fastest way out, even if the final result doesn’t have the look of a 10/10.
Being on strict deadlines means I must have my article 99.9% finished if not fully completed by the day it is due. If I’m writing about an idea that has no heart or true motivation behind it, most likely the reader will barely skim the piece and move onto the next one.
As a writer, my main goal is to put together and release the highest quality content. When I can’t live up to those expectations, it does not feel good. Writer’s block left me in a place where my content is not where I wanted it to be at multiple times this year.
It is one of my goals of 2019 to destroy the obstacle of writer’s block. Though this past semester was not the first time I encountered writers block in my life, that does not deter the amount of stress it laid on me.
Even the best writers of past and present generations suffered from the pain of writer’s block. Famous poet Maya Angelou, for instance, offered this technique when struggling with creating the right combination of words:
“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’
The technique now is known as the “just write” way of defeating writer’s block. Though at first the unique approach may look far fetched to regular high schoolers who are just trying to complete an English paper, a Leesville students wrote a few papers using this technique when she didn’t know what to say.
Megan Alcock, junior at Leesville, goes deeper into what the “just write” technique did for her:
“When I struggle to write my papers or how to form the hook, I begin to plan out and write every thought that comes to mind. Even if it may not make sense, I’ll continue to write so that I have a large variety to go off of. Once I finish all my thoughts, I go back and revise to see what I can work with. This method helps me get my thoughts in order and organize them,” said Alcock.
Of course, overcoming writer’s block usually varies between writers and their writing style as well as how they approach a piece, it can affect all generations. Even my own mother, Cynthia Wiener, dealt with hardly understood problem as writer.
However, as she continued high school in the 1990s, she found a different technique of breaking out against writer’s block that largely impacted the way she wrote for the rest of her time in school, continuing through college.
“When I was struggling to write an essay in high school, I would put down my pencil, and go exercise to help my mind focus. Whether it would be just a run outside or working on my free throw for basketball, exercise helped me relax. And every time I came back inside and sat back down at my desk, it worked. I was able to finish my essay with confidence,” said Wiener.
Maintaining motivation while writing may become a difficult task when the piece is written for a class, but without motivation, obviously, a student cannot write something of quality. Though papers are just another chore in the daily lives of students, writer’s block takes away precious time away from writing.
However, with the right techniques, breaking the mental barrier that prevents one from writing quality pieces becomes more efficient. So, take it from the author, Barbara Kingsolver, next time you hit rock bottom when writing:
“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”