First draft, now I’m experiencing writers block…

Voice is important because your writing should have as much personality as you do. What happens then if this voice no longer has anything to say? If you’ve ever experienced writer’s block, you’ll know it’s no laughing matter. It can hinder your writing for days, weeks, or even months. While it’s easy to sit and wait for the problem to go away, writer’s block is one of those viruses that require effective medication. 

In this blog, I want to help you naturally find your way out of being stuck. By the end of this post, you’ll know how to find the inspiration you need to help refresh your writing.

If it’s on the list, it’s because these are the things I’ve tried that have worked for me, so let’s get you unstuck. 

  1. Acceptance

Accept that you have what we call writer’s blog and ease your brain. Once you accept the situation, you can find a solution. The key then is to think about what is getting in your way. 

  • Are you scared? Scared it won’t be good enough or the judgment that comes with every piece of writing? To overcome your fears, take out a piece of paper and write down what you are afraid of, to find the root of the problem.
  • Are you striving for perfection? We’ve all been there. Just take a deep breath and then find a friend, parent, or partner to read it and give you their honest opinion. Make a few changes if needed and press the submit button. We have to let go of the fear and the perfection that has been programmed into us.
  • Are the words just not coming to you? Take a break. Your ideas need time to come to play. Give yourself time to gather new ideas from life or reading or other forms of art before you start again. Writing is magic; just find your inspiration. 

2. How well do you know your topic? 

  • If you know it, then reread what you wrote a few times and think about what you might write want to write next. Often, rereading can give you a new perspective on the things you have already written and help you to continue writing.
  • If you don’t know it, it’s time to do your homework, go to the library or browse the internet and research your topic some more.

3. Writing schedule

  • We write when it’s possible when time allows. That’s the problem. Just like you have a set time for a tv show, set a time for writing. It could be early in the morning before work, or every afternoon after work, or an hour right before bed. Be consistent. Your schedule must be specific to what works for you. For example, for my writing theory class, I wrote only on weekends. Every Saturday and Sunday morning from 10-11 am. 

If you don’t come up with a schedule, this is what will happen

4. Freewrite

  • I know what your thinking, how can writing more help writer’s block? The key here is to step away from your writing topic. Try freewriting exercises, write about anything, and while you are freewriting, forget the rules of formal English. You are only writing for yourself, don’t worry about reason, logic, grammar, or spelling, just write! This technique will get your creative juices flowing. 

5. Getaway

Not on a literal vacation, but if you got money, go for it. This is what I do to “get away.”

  • Go for a walk in the park
  • Exercise/ meditate

Maybe you don’t like physical activity, then

  • Go for a drive
  • Grab a coffee/dessert

The point is to be kind to yourself. Take yourself out of the area in your brain that’s restricting you and allowing yourself to get into that place of freedom, giving yourself the chance of elevating your writing. 

6. Work someplace else

  • Go to your local starbucks, library, or park anywhere you don’t feel confined. There is only so much your home can offer. A change of scenery can really help with writer’s block. 

There is no one solution to this problem. Experiment. Find out what works for you. Choose to get on with your writing!

Finding My Voice for the Final Project & Embracing Technology.

I’m anxious but excited to start this journey together for our final group project! Whoa time is ticking away, only 2 classes left!?! Yikes!! I know this blog is supposed to be a draft of our final project contribution, however due to the hectic holiday weekend and the fact that I chose to do a podcast, which entails much needed knowledge of social media and techy skills, none of which I excel in, I will give you a summary/outline of what I plan to contribute to our project. Hopefully in it you can hear MY VOICE and see my vision! I chose to do a podcast because I see how it is all the rage these days. It seems like everyone has one, so why can’t I?! I also saw it as a challenge for myself, being that I did not grow up in a generation with all this technology and social media, I need to adjust and learn to adapt. Also I really like the idea of actually hearing someone’s voice rather then just reading it. You can tell a lot about a person by the sound of their distinct and unique voice. I already learned so much about the podcast making business through reading and researching different mediums on the internet. I found this awesome, user friendly (even for me) Podcast App called: Anchor. Its a dandy little tool! I really, really like it! I was able to get it up and running in no time! I even recorded what they call in the podcast world, a trailer, of my voice and short intro, with calming background music and all! Go me! I got so charged up after hearing it! It sounds super official! I will consult with Patricia and see if she can include it in my blog post so you can all hear it. If not you can wait until my final podcast project, more details to come! She said it sounded great and it was encouraging to hear that it sounded good so far (all 30 seconds of it) considering I had no clue what I was doing and essentially just winged it! Slow and steady wins the race! I can’t wait to hear the final, polished, finished version to be included in our final project! That leads me to my next point….

As I had mentioned earlier the timing of this final project fell right into the hectic holiday weekend! So after all of our turkey comas have passed its time to get to work! Kevin and I decided to collaborate and work on a joint podcast together! Since I was busy with holiday plans and family time, we decided to meet up early this Monday and work on our podcast for the project. I knew just the perfect cozy, quiet spot in the Kean library that we could utilize to start our podcast journey. I think atmosphere is important when creating a podcast. So now on to our ideas! Again this is a rough draft/summary of what we plan to do! So the initial idea we came up with was to collaborate and talk to each other about our own voices in writing and how it has evolved. Of course we will include witty banter (I’ll try) and I encouraged Kevin to tell funny jokes! Another idea we had was to include all of YOU! Our amazing and talented classmates! We want to hear ALL YOUR VOICES! So we plan to interview you, two at a time, in a quiet classroom during our next class period and engage in a conversation about your contributions to the final project and how it directly reflects your voice. KUDOS to Kevin for that particular idea! These wont be long interviews, rather more of a casual and light hearted conversation between fellow classmates, giving us some of your insights and thoughts on your ideas for the final project and how it reflects your voice! Easy peasy! Now that you all have some ideas on what will transpire, I hope your all open to sharing and talking openly with us on our very first podcast! Your contributions to it will make it extra special! It’s really exciting and we can’t wait to hear all of your voices and stories! We already know how diverse and unique our class is and it will be amazing to get to expand on it and show how beautiful and inclusive diversity can be. Xo

As far as what I plan to contribute I don’t want to just write it all out in this blog post. I would much rather talk it all out on the podcast!! So I’m anxiously waiting for Monday to arrive so Kevin and I can officially begin!! I just let my mother listen to the short 30 second trailer I recorded, and she teared up. She said: “Wow, look how my kids speak English so well.” with pride in her eyes! It is an amazing feeling I must say, it makes me feel like my academic life and my voice in writing has come full circle. I say that because as I’ve mentioned in past blogs and in class discussions, my mother was a major reason why my love of reading and writing blossomed. As early as the age of five I can vividly remember crawling into bed with my mother and her reading to me each night with her distinct voice, a deep, thick Italian accent that sounded like music to my ears. Sure she messed up on some words or specific parts, which she beat herself up about but I could never tell, it sounded like magic to me. Some of our favorite reads were The Bernstein Bears, Curious George and Max and Ruby. As time went on and I grew up my love of books grew and the spooky R.L Stine was my absolute favorite along with the girly but poignant The Babysitters Club series. My mother never complained or hesitated to take me to the local bookstore and pick out all the latest copies! She was very generous allowing me 3 books each visit. Even picking out a new book mark would excite me! I would then sit in a particular corner, full of pillows and cozy blankets of my all pink, Barbie clad bedroom and get lost into the world of my books! It was a fantasy land and my imagination soared. I was able to forget whatever simple problems a young girl would have at that time and just get lost in my books. The sky was the limit and reading excited me so! I know without a doubt that my deep love of reading was directly related to my future love of writing. I also believe whole heartedly that my mother’s voice as imperfect as she may have thought it to be, helped me to find my voice. I’m forever blessed and grateful for that, and I can’t wait to share more in the podcast!! Please stay tuned and I hope you enjoy this funny skit I found about making a podcast. Also some further readings I hope you all enjoy and gain insight from! Xo.

Further Reading:

Elbow, Peter. Embracing Contraries: Explorations in Learning and Teaching. Oxford University Press, 1987.

Brannon, Lil, and C. H. Knoblauch. “On Students’ Rights to Their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 33, no. 2, 1982, p. 157., doi:10.2307/357623.

Bean, John C. Engaging Ideas: the Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. Jossey-Bass, 2011.