Tips may provide relief to writer's block



Campus Times
March 16, 2001


by Julia Carachure
Editorial Director

Ever since I was young, the writing bug bit me and I have been writing from that moment on. But the truth is that sometimes it is not always easy. I have been coming down occasionally with the worst disease that anyone who loves to write comes down with: I am a victim of writer's block.

It all started my freshman year when I was taking creative writing with Carol Fetty (God bless her soul). I started to write poems. I wrote a short story. I even wrote the beginnings of a novel that is still buried somewhere in my computer files. But when I bring myself to start writing my novel, I cannot seem to make my fingers fly all over keyboard. It is very scary.

Then it gets worse. Everyone is familiar with writing a term paper for a class. I have often found myself sitting in front of the computer and I cannot bring myself to write about Buddha or about love and sex. But after a while, I close my eyes, glance at the handout that tells me what to do for my paper, let out a huge sigh, close my eyes again and write as much as I can, without looking back.

I could sit here and tell you that I found the cure for writer's block. I could even tell you that it will never come back to bother me. But I would be lying to you and myself if I said that. Writer's block always comes back and sometimes it hits harder than other times when people have had it.

The only thing I can say is that there is a solution to this problem. I just found a list, not too long ago, that tells you how to deal with writer's block on a website at www.sff.net. It is not much, but it might help. First, find a book about writer's block. The internet is a good place to start looking for one. Second, write about it. Write how much you hate not being able to come up with anything for your paper or your stories, whatever.

Third, take a break. A person can only stare at the screen for so long before the thought of writing for a class becomes a hassle. It still needs to get done but if you truly value your writing or your grade, then you will do the right thing by making sure that you take some time, relax for a while, and if possible-wait and try again.

Fourth, figure out what's wrong. Writing is not always the magical process that we perceive it to be. But when we are unable to create a masterpiece, that clearly presents a problem. The only solution to this problem is to sit down and figure out exactly what is wrong.

Fifth, recover like an athlete. You just need to sit down and heal from the pain that you have experienced by having writer's block. Get some rest before you dive in and begin to write. The last thing that you need is to go in and start writing, only to find yourself failing again because of writer's block.

Finally, talk to other people going through the same thing. Ask them what they do to heal from writer's block. Ask them for ideas and that you would really appreciate it.

Now, I will tell you what not to do when you are sick with writer's block. Do not beat yourself up because you cannot write a thing. Do not quit writing forever, anyone can write, everyone just goes through a bad spell at some point or another in their lives.

Please, do not set an impossible writing schedule. Writing 10 pages every day is not going to cure writer's block, in fact, it may make it worse. You have time, take as much time as you need to write.

Finally, my advice: Keep writing, it's the only thing that will make you better.

Julia Carachure, a junior journalism major, is editorial director of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at carachur@ulv.edu.