By Maryclare MacIsaac
Finals are very much among us, and final essays are in abundance. With this in mind, today we’re talking about how to beat writer’s block using some of our best skills as millennials! (Hint: one gives you an excuse to call your mom!)
These tips are especially useful right now, because it’s time to get the ball rolling on QUEUC submissions! The deadline for submissions for QUEUC 2017 is January 5th, 2017 – so knock out that writer’s block and send in your submissions at queuc.com.
1. BLAME SOMETHING ELSE!
It can be all too easy to get down on yourself when you hit a wall during your writing process. We put so much pressure on ourselves in our academics which is healthy to an extent, but not exactly helpful when you’re trying to think creatively. It’s so important not to blame yourself and your own intelligence when you can’t seem to get words on the page. So, here are the magic words: it’s not your fault! When you boil it down, the writing process is really all about inspiration. No matter what is being written, the writer is drawing inspiration from somewhere. Whether it be a person, place, or current event – even the best writers need to feel inspired in order to get started. So if your work doesn’t feel like your best, isn’t a joy to read, or doesn’t even exist yet, the places you’re trying to draw inspiration from are to blame! It isn’t that your creative juices have run dry… they just haven’t even started flowing yet. Your mind is smart, it is creative, and it has a lot to say. You just haven’t found anything that makes it want to say something. And that’s not your fault – but now you need to break up with your current space of inspiration and find a new one. Watch – once you find the perfect source of inspiration for you and your topic, you’ll have trouble staying under the word count.
Now I challenge you to count how many times I’ve said inspiration thus far. Maybe it will inspire you!
2. TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE: CONSULT THE INTERNET AND QUESTION SOMEONE
Now, Google is very much a thing. I am well aware that the entirety, or at least the majority, of your research thus far has been drawn from the internet. However, I am also here to give you a new way to research! Collecting facts from the internet can only get you so far. Facts are boring, and your reader can find these without your help. What keeps someone reading and interested in finishing your essay is the argument. They want to see how you’re going to prove your thesis, and why you feel so strongly about it! A great essay argues persuasively and forcefully. So, here’s where Google comes in! Research arguments rather than facts. Google why something happened, and read forums. You might find someone you disagree with, and you’ll be able to build your argument in your essay off of this. Reading an angle that clashes with your own helps you to answer questions in your essay before the reader gets the chance to question your argument. Nothing gets the juices flowing like a persuasive argument.
3. ASK YOURMOM FOR HELP!
Sometimes when we’re writing, we feel like we’ve left everything we have to say on the page. It’s frustrating when we get this feeling when we’re still only at half of the word count. If you’re writing about a topic that you were previously knowledgeable about, writing about it can actually be tough, because you aren’t the one learning from it. Hand your paper to someone honest who knows absolutely nothing about what you’re writing about, like your mom or your roommate, and have them give it a read – totally blind to what your topic really is. Have them take note of everything they notice as they read it; do they need more information to totally understand the topic? What exactly does the term mean that you used in paragraph two, line three? Who is the person mentioned? Could you define this term? etc. Your paper should be informative, concise, and enjoyable to read, even to the freshest of minds. Your ideas will flow when another set of eyes has given you a list of pointers on how you could achieve this!
4. CHANGE YOUR MIND!
Sometimes the most stubborn writer’s block is simply from a lack of motivation to write about your chosen topic. In this situation, change angles or essay topics if possible. It’s clear when an essay is forced and when the writer is truly interested in what they are writing about. Hopefully, a fresh topic and a chance to research something that sparks your interest a little more will also spark ideas and words upon words on your page! By steering your essay in a completely different direction, your mind is travelling down an entirely different road, free of the writer’s block that you’ve been dealing with. This is the most tedious pointer, but possibly the most effective.