Dividing the Block
Essay by: Fan Fan
The award for the most perplexing feeling of all time must undoubtedly be presented to Writer’s Block, for there is truly nothing quite so stressing as an empty pen poised above paper. It is maddening when the last few drops of shampoo cling to the bottle, slowly rolling down the sides in lengthy procession, yet never fully greeting the opening of the bottle. Likewise, being unable to efficiently translate one’s frame of mind into a flow of written words is the utmost sensation of insanity. Though the troubles created by Writer’s Block are many, be not alarmed, for the solutions are not few.
It is unquestioned that Writer’s Block creates myriad problems. First is an issue of time—there’s that paper due in exactly four hours (well, more like two, unless Glamis hath murdered sleep tonight), and there’s that timed essay which will be snatched away as soon as the bell rings. Not being able to compose one’s thoughts effectively and in a timely manner poses a significant obstacle towards completing certain assignments and achieving the desired reward, whether it be grades or publication. Another dilemma is the agitation, caused either by that particular time-crunching experience or just by the fact that it is a categorical imperative to complete the piece; to do otherwise would be a complete violation of values. At this juncture, many would cease to write, but for those who cannot lay down the pen upon an unfinished essay, the distress at this point may be unbearable.
So we arrive at the long awaited question: how to overcome Writer’s Block? The first measures ought to be to limiting disturbances that could inhibit the process of writing: cease the piercing blares of radio and television and exit the distracting realms of Facebook and Instant Messenger. Oh, and don’t forget to turn off the strobe light. Another method of coping is to break the interminable pressure by pursuing another activity, then coming back to write. Experts also recommend practicing by regularly responding to spontaneous essay prompts or spending time to freely jot down thoughts that may settle in the mind. Other than that, one approach that has greatly assisted me has been to peruse the writings of others for inspiration. Oftentimes, I will find that after realizing the rhythm of another author’s writing style, I can much easier resume my own. Plus, I am rejuvenated with further ideas.
Though infinitely irritating, Writer’s Block should not always be viewed with negativity, for many have empirically reaped its benefits (what? There are benefits?). The music group Chicago, for example, wrote the hit “25 or 6 to 4” when their juices of creativity had but evaporated, and the movie Shakespeare in Love builds around the idea of Writer’s Block its theme… Not to mention that this essay itself was the fruit of an extended period of distressed brain wracking. Additionally, Writer’s Block provides insight into individual weaknesses that might not have been revealed otherwise, paving the path to improvement. Why did the obstruction take place? Is it a certain period of the day or under a certain topic that the block occurs? Having the experience of being unable to write is crucial to answering these questions and is the prerequisite to solving similar situations in the future.
Writer’s Block, though the root of many a complication, seems not so strenuous after all. The key is to do anything it takes to overcome it, and once it is overcome, the best has yet to arrive. Now the incomparable elation I feel in completing this article, on the other hand, is one of the best feelings in the world. That, however, is a story to be told another day—if I can just get over my Writer’s Block.
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