Combatting Writer’s Block


What do you do when you don’t know what to write?


When you figure it out, let me know.

So many people have their individual cures for the dreaded moments when you have no idea how to put words on a page. Many writers also don’t think it’s real. Toni Morrison “puts down” the term, and believes that it really doesn’t exist. Judy Blume feels the same way. She doesn’t believe in such a term. Same with Rumaan Alam. Writer’s block is a fiction created by the unimaginative. It’s an excuse for the ones who are lazy and feel that they have nothing to contribute to a page.

Me personally? The one who is writing this column and experiencing such phenomenon? It is 100 percent, incredibly, and terrifyingly real.

I was just home for essentially an entire month with people I haven’t seen in well over a year, including my parents. I could write about my own family life. I could write about how I get along with my friends now that we’re all graduating and the dynamic between all of us. I could write about my season that is fast approaching. There is a myriad of topics at my disposal that would make for generally interesting moments and topics for audiences not just at this school, but everywhere.

And me being a sports person, the NFL playoffs would be an incredibly easy topic to write about. Bengals vs Bills is a classic modern-day matchup between two up-and-coming quarterbacks. Giants vs. Eagles is a story that everyone in this area can get behind. There are the die-hard Giants fans longing for the days of Eli that are hoping this team can go all the way. Then there are the Jets fans. The non-Giants fans hoping that this team can feel as much disappointment as they all do (me included).

Basically, topics are out there. Things can be put down on paper. It shouldn’t be so hard to come up with 700 words or so, right?

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this.

It’s easy to think that when you’re major is journalism and your only favorite part about school is writing that writing a simple column would come second nature. It can be about anything I want it to be. Literally, anything I want.

But I feel that everyone has the same attitude when it comes to making choices. Everyone will tell you that they don’t like to be told what to do, but it’s honestly easier that way. At least in that sense, there is some direction involved. You may not like the destination, but at least the journey is mapped out and ready-made. The same metaphor could be made about life, but that’s not what we’re going for here (new topic idea?).

With a column, and all of the choices I have, it can be hard to narrow down a topic. You might get writer’s block along the way. I know I have. I’m sure everyone who has written an essay (so everyone) knows how it feels to not have a clue about what to write.

That’s okay.

If you’re really paying attention, this article is nothing but rambling nonsense. It’s about an everyday struggle that most students and writers will deal with on a daily basis. It’s not an original experience. But at least it’s also my experience.

I can relate to all of those dealing with this issue. For everyone writing that 10-page research paper about a topic that they have no clue about or just skimmed over, I relate to you. For all the fellow student writers trying to contribute to their news publication with not a clue what to put down on paper, I relate to you. For all the future authors, desperately trying to find the words that will make them self-made millionaires, I relate to you. The fact is, writing is hard.

You know what though? That’s what makes writing so fun.

There are the math people in the world that gain satisfaction from figuring out the toughest of algorithms. There are the sportsmen and women of the world who are figuring out new ways to dominate their field. I can certainly relate to that struggle. But for me? Writing is my ever-constant struggle. The thing that I fear failing at, yet the thing I most want to succeed at. I’m sure many feel the same way.

Hey look, 700 words. Look good, Mr. P?

*NOT BAD. – Mr. P (But I believe in wrestling, we would call this a stall….