Smashing the Blocks

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Bentley!  We here at the Writing Center hope that your semester is going well, and would like to remind you that we are now open for business to help with your writing trials and tribulations.  To kick off the semester, we’ll be posting a series of blog posts that feature tutors’ answers to a couple of writing-related questions.  Some of them will pertain to writing, and others will be for fun.

The first question we posed to our tutors was: What do you do about writers block?

Ciarah:  I usually drop the subject and move away from the assignment, mentally and physically.  I find coming back to it later helps me a lot.

Elena:  I put the paper down and come back to it later.  Writers block is frustrating, and when my ideas stop flowing, the writing sounds forced.

Dan:  Put the piece aside completely and work on something else.

Notice a theme here?

Nicole:  I usually don’t get writers block, but it sometimes takes me a while to sort through my ideas to find the best one.  For this, I usually take a walk to just have time to think about what I want to write.

Katie:  For formal essays?  Research, research, research.  Once I learn more about a topic, I can usually determine WHAT it is I am trying to say in my paper.  Once I decide that, it is easier to outline how I will back up my point – then I can string together a compelling argument.  As far as creative writing goes, I like to think about something that has inspired me lately, or reflect on how I’ve been feeling and why – then I just let the ink flow.  Another strategy I use, regardless of what I am writing, is to shut down my computer and write out my thoughts on actual paper (imagine that!).  The change in medium helps me clarify my thoughts.

Tammie:   I keep writing down the question “What do you want to write about?” And I try to answer it on paper.  I read “fun” things.  I tell my inner critic to shut up, and write whatever I feel like until my writer’s block goes away.

Phillip:  I find talking about what I want to write about helps me with writer’s block.  Whether it’s with other tutors, my parents, my siblings, or even myself (not to sound crazy), I think verbalizing my thoughts helps me clarify what I want to say.  I also usually remind myself about the context I’m writing about.  For example, when I’m writing a song, I will usually get a line in my head, but won’t know what should come next.  I broaden the idea and think about the story line and/or feeling that I want to convey through the song and try again.  If I’m still stuck, I will just make note of my progress and leave it for another day.  I find walking away from my writing and coming back with a fresh set of eyes (and a good night’s rest) really helps.

What do you do about writers block?

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