Writer’s Block

Original "Grinds My Gears" template. Annoyance level 1.

Original “Grinds My Gears” template. Annoyance level 1. Image: FOX.

You know what really grinds my gears as journalist trying to make it in the modern world? Writer’s block. It plagues every great writer at some point in time, including: Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain and Clarissa Darling. However, each writer has gotten over this difficult time in unique ways.

I know what some of you may be thinking. “But Caroline, writing about writer’s block is such a cop out.” “You’re a writer, you should be able to think of something to write about!” Alas, how I wish this were true and were that easy. Sometimes, it simply is not easy to write.

Writer’s block is especially difficult when you’re writing an essay, column, etc. for a class and it has a time-sensitive due date. I had this happen to me multiple times while I was at Ohio University. The main problem with this is that once your professor gives you a grade, that’s your grade. I know; grades should not have been what was driving me to write. Every once in a while, I’d get a professor who actually cared about his or her students’ passion for writing, and would give the class recommendations on what to improve for the next writing assignment. [Click on ‘archives,’ and you can see blog posts I wrote for two classes and how I improved them.]

These professors who genuinely wanted to see their students succeed at writing helped me improve my writing skills to what they are today. For them I am grateful, but it still doesn’t help my issue with writer’s block.

Many writers have different suggestions of how to deal with writer’s block. On the ABC show “Castle,” novelist Richard Castle takes to procrastination as one of his ways to get through the block. I’m not saying procrastination is always a good time, but maybe in this instance it is a good thing. Let me explain; getting one’s mind off what is troubling you can help get out of that rut you are in. Put whatever you are working on aside for a few hours or even a couple of days. Get your mind off what’s troubling it. Then, once you feel you are inspired again, write.

Or, another way to get your gears to stop grinding from writer’s block is to just keep writing. I know this sounds silly since writing is what has you stumped in the first place. Write just a little bit. If it’s your introduction that is bothering you, write the conclusion and the introduction will flow more easily now. This can also work in a vice versa situation. If you’ve had enough writing about whatever you are writing about, switch topics. Writing an essay for class? Try some poetry for a change. Can’t think of a good idea for a blog post? Start writing about how you have writer’s block. (See what I did there?)

No matter how much writer’s block grinds your gears, there will always be a solution of how to get out of that rut. Whether you prefer to get your mind off things or write it out, there is a fix for when you can’t think of something to write. Keep those creative thoughts flowing!

Have a specific way you battle writer’s block? Let me know in the comments below!

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