By Juliana Adelman
So here I am again, surrounded by notes and papers and books littered with colorful sticky tabs. I have more than enough material and yet I find myself making a list of other things I should look up. This will give me a number of tasks in the library that will make me feel as though I am accomplishing something yet I will be no closer to the end result. Of course writing is the hardest part because it is the task through which we add up facts to make something more than the sum of their parts. Writing is the creative part of the historical process, the one in which you allow yourself into the picture. You have to put all your flaws, or your potentially flawed arguments, on display for everyone to read. It is much easier to keep gathering ammunition and hope you can simply bombard potential readers with facts until they beg for mercy and agree. Not that I like to read anything written in this way, but at least it has the appearance of solidity. This is my effort at breaking writer’s block and hopefully providing you with some interesting reading/listening as well.
Why is writing so hard?
Unsurprisingly, Google offered many answers to this question. A lot of them seemed to be roughly equal to ‘Writing isn’t really hard! You just think it’s hard! Go team!’ Hmm. I may come across as very conservative here, but I think if you don’t struggle over writing then probably you aren’t writing much worth reading. Nonetheless, the interweb agrees that writing is hard and suggests any number of reasons. Here are just a few:
2. Language is linear, ideas are not.
Techniques for dealing with writer’s block
First you should know what it is, and Wikipedia has a relatively lengthy entry (presumably written by a writer attempting to overcome said block).
1. Take some drugs.
2. Oh wait, no, that might not work. Try finding something else to do and use writing to procrastinate on that thing.
4. Start a blog. University of Pennsylvania suggested this one, so it has Ivy League cred.
5. Join a writing group. This one I can support whole-heartedly, my writing group has been on the go for over a year now and it has been a great source of support. See guidelines here.
6. Change up. Do something different, sit somewhere new, swap the computer for a pen, use a new pen. You could also listen to some music, like this song I got my title from.
7. Bribe yourself. 500 words equals 1 hour of rubbish tv.