November 9, 2011

Writing through a rut

Writer’s block: the compositional illness more common than the Knox Plague.
Gathered here are 10 ways (listed in no particular order) to combat it, provided by students, staff, the worldwide web and even this author:

“Don’t wait for inspiration. You won’t ever write anything. Start writing whatever comes into your head. Literally, write what you had for lunch if you have to.” — Sophomore Grace Davis

Do a completely unrelated creative project that doesn’t involve words. Paint, make collages, do interpretive dance, make guttural noises, meow.

“Experience new things. Sometimes writer’s block stems from an exhausted imagination, so maybe it is time to get out of your hermitage and see a new part of the world, even if that is simply taking a walk in a new neighborhood or stepping inside a different coffee shop.” — Sophomore Jessica Luebker

“I usually write in Word, but when things aren’t going so well, I’ll write by hand, or I’ll write a scene by typing it into TextEdit, or I’ll blow up the font size in Word so that I can’t see what I’m typing.” — Visiting Assistant Professor of English Chad Simpson

Set a timer for 15 minutes and don’t let your pen stop moving for the duration of that time. Even if you end up doodling or writing on the desk.

“Run around the Quads a few times. Or walk briskly and smoke, in my case.” — Davis

“For a while, a long time ago, I’d convinced myself I couldn’t write on white paper, and I started making my own notebooks from grocery sacks.” — Simpson

“Eat something.” — Luebker

“In particularly frustrating cases, have a good cry. Write while you are throwing a tantrum.” — Davis

If all else fails, deny that writer’s block even exists. It probably doesn’t, anyway.

Chelsea Embree
Chelsea Embree is a senior majoring in creative writing and minoring in art history. She previously served as co-mosaic editor and as an arts and features reporter for TKS. During the summer of 2013, she served as a content intern at The St. Louis Beacon. Chelsea has studied under former Random House copy chief Sean Mills and taught writing as a teaching assistant for First-Year Preceptorial. An avid blogger, she has written extensively about youth in St. Louis and maintains a lively poetry and nonfiction blog on Tumblr. She is also the director of communications for Mortar Board and co-president of Terpsichore Dance Collective.

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