Overcoming Writer’s Block

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Whether you like him or not, Eminem says it best: “'cause sometimes I feel like it’s so hard for me to come up with ish to say … I think I’m runnin’ out of clichés, I’m getting…” wait for it, wait for it… "writer’s block."

Writer’s block (also referred to as agraphia if you’re feeling like a tool) doesn’t discriminate against race, gender, height or political affiliation. But rest assured, the success team here at College Magazine is here to help. Also, to rank the colleges with the hottest girls.

Just breathe.

That’s right, something so simple but often overlooked is how we breathe. The brain requires approximately 20 percent of the body’s oxygen supply, according to a study conducted by the University of Northumbria. Inadequate oxygen levels can lead to issues such as poor focus, forgetfulness and low motivation. Additionally, oxygen helps with mental alertness, including memory and judgment. In other words, try not to stress out so much.

Now keep going…

So often when we don’t understand something, we are quick to give up and avoid the issue altogether. Well folks, Rome wasn’t built in a day, the Mona Lisa wasn't painted overnight and neither are the topics we are asked to develop.

“Usually [writer’s block] happens to me when I don’t understand my subject as comprehensively as would be desired and thus I end up a little less clear on where I want the story to go,” said Virginia Commonwealth University senior and executive editor of the Commonwealth Times, Adam Stern. “You just have to discern exactly what your topic is and flesh it out from there.”

Don’t be shy.

If you’re having trouble getting started, tying up loose ends or just want to share your progress with someone, seek help. Go to your school’s writing center and find someone that can help you.

“The writing center provides tutoring services [including] help with grammar, formatting, helping students further develop their own ideas and improve their papers” said Howard University writing center office coordinator, Mercedes Parker. “Grammar is a tough subject for many visitors of the Writing Center, common issues range from developing themes to concluding papers.”

Seeking help from someone else could also provide fresh prospective.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

Or better yet, think about a successful paper you’ve written in the past. Can you pinpoint a particular paper where you got a great grade or had a really easy time popping it out? Well, try some of the things that worked last time.

“Regardless of your major, you’re required to write,” said George Mason University junior Mahina Aziz. “[At Mason] the writing classes are organized by majors so the topics and styles mimic those you will deal with more post-grad.”

Embrace the struggle.

No matter what, you have to turn in your paper eventually, so calm yourself and try to avoid the negative thoughts flowing through your head.

“It of course sucks to get stuck but if you weren’t getting stuck that would probably mean you’re moving too quickly anyways,” Stern said. “Sometimes getting stuck means you're debating whether something has merit to go in or not and, if you’re thinking critically like this, a little writer’s block here and there isn’t a bad thing.”

Photo: http://chimovement.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/royce-da-5-9-ft-eminem-writers-block.jpg

Sophomore > Journalism > Howard Univesity

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