7 Tips To Help Overcome Writer's Block

7 Tips To Help Overcome Writer's Block

It happens to the best of us.
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We've all been there, and usually it happens at the worst possible time. So, next time it happens to you remember these tips:

1. Get Your Blood Pumping

Go for a walk. Go for a run. Do some jumping jacks. Just do anything to get your blood flowing.

2. Change Your Environment.

Just pick up your stuff and try writing somewhere else. A change of scenery can help clear your mind. Go outside, get some fresh air, it might help.

3. Take a Break

Don't procrastinate... that's not what I'm saying. Just take a break, get some food, hang out with your friends for a little bit, just take your mind of the writing for a minute and come back to it with fresh eyes.

4. Listen to Music

Not Top 40 or Country music, but listen to some classical music or some jazz, or even lookup movie scores (My go-to is The Dark Knight or any Hans Zimmer really).

5. Brainstorm Your Ideas

Don't just write them down, but organize them. Use bullet points. Make it so that when you go back and look at it, you understand what you were writing.

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6. Reduce Distractions

Turn off your TV. Turn off your phone (or put it on silent). Just eliminate any possible distractions that you might face while you are trying to write.

7. Just Write

The best way to overcome writer's block is to just write. Write anything. Write everything. Just write something. It will help you organize your thoughts and hopefully cure you fro your block.

Cover Image Credit: BBC

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The Smithsonian Unveils The Obama Portraits

The presidential tradition attracting more attention than ever before.
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The official portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Obama were unveiled at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, and though theirs are part of a long-held tradition for most former presidents, theirs have amassed unprecedented attention.

The ceremony saw the presidential couple and their selected portraitists take the stage; each of the four had the opportunity to address their experiences. In addition to being the first African American couple to have their portraits done, they are the first to have African American painters compose both portraits.

Mr. Obama’s portrait places him amidst vibrant botanicals, whilst Mrs. Obama’s sees her against a demure blue. Though the reception for both has been immensely varied, their words at the ceremony make a resounding argument for the value of both works.

There was an undeniable nostalgia to watching Mr. Obama speak; his words were littered with dry humor but were nothing short of powerful in their primary message. He began with a heartfelt “We miss you guys,” a sentiment loudly reciprocated by the present audience. He thanked Amy Sherald, who painted his wife, for capturing as he stated, “the grace, and beauty, and intelligence, and hotness, of the woman that I love.”

He detailed having bonded with his artist, Kehinde Wiley, with whom he shares the experience of being raised by American mothers and dealing with the absence of their African fathers, often searching for something that the absence made apparent. His appreciation for Wiley’s work derives from the “degree to which they challenged our conventional views of power and privilege.” In Wiley’s work, he saw the recognition of beauty and dignity in people “who are so often invisible in our lives.”

In his own speech, Wiley regarded museums as guardians of our culture, as the exemplification of what society stood for. He further noted that in visiting these museums as a child, he rarely saw artworks of people that looked like him. His art seeks to correct for some of that. He added that he has been “trying to find places where people who happen to look like me do feel accepted.”

Mrs. Obama relayed that she was “thinking about all of the young people. Particularly girls, and girls of color. Who in years ahead will come to this place, and they will look up, and they will see an image of someone who looks like them.” She recognizes all of the women and people who have come before her, and that “their dreams and aspirations were limited by the color of their skin.” Her choice in Amy Sherald is in part caused by Sherald’s ability to have remained strong through hardship, and in part by the uniqueness of her subject matter.

Sherald recognized these subjects as American people with American stories. She saw something more symbolic in her work; the faces she paints are often ambiguous and greyscale so as to break the associations of race to her subjects and to make them more relatable. The dress Mrs. Obama is painted in is designed by MILLY and reminded Sherald of the abstract quilts made by small, remote black communities in Alabama. She stated, “The act of Michelle Obama being her authentic self became a profound statement that engaged all of us. Because what you represent to this country is an ideal.”

Of her portraits and of her experience, Sherald said, “I like to think they hold the same possibilities of being read universally.” However aesthetically they are perceived, the portraits speak to a larger message of leaving a legacy through which others can find inspiration for themselves.

Cover Image Credit: CNN / YouTube

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Don't Buy Into The Lie That You Are Less Intelligent Than Someone Else

Choose to learn instead of being judgmental.
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This may come as a surprise to many who know me now, but in high school, I was considered the ditsy friend. I had lots of friends, it's true. But I'm not sure many of them ever respected me, or held my opinion in a high regard.

I was just starting to adjust to a life with Chronic Pain, which made my mind work a bit slower, and my grades a little worse than they should've been. The last place I thought I would find judgment was with my friends; but, unfortunately, that's where it stemmed from.

I always felt out of place with my high school friends, looking back at it now. They would get into heated debates for fun, and then talk about each other constantly behind their backs. This seemed normal to me for a while. I tried to stay out of drama, for the most part, seeing as I had my own personal issues to deal with.

Within the last year or so, I discovered that several of my close friends always thought I was exceptionally vapid. I quite literally had started a Non-Profit Organization, but that wasn't enough for them to acknowledge my insight on any matter.

Now I've been out of that situation for several years, I've made friends who not only recognize my intellect but actually ask for my advice. I had to do some serious soul searching to actually make the realization that these people were being ignorant when they misjudged me. Not only that, but we, as a civilization, are foolish in our ways of judging mental capacity.

It's extremely easy for us, as human beings, to find something we are passionate about, and then assume that those who don't share our interests are simply dimwitted. Some people I knew made fun of a girl who I went to high school with for becoming a hairdresser instead of going to college. Somehow because she didn't feel the need to pursue a Bachelor's Degree it automatically made her idiotic.

The thing about saying that you are more intelligent than someone else is that it's simply not true.

Being an English Literature Major, I probably know more about Victorian Era Authors than this girl who does hair for a living. But, if she were to hand me a pair of scissors right now and tell me to cut 3 inches off someone's hair, I would be completely dumbfounded. She knows more than I do in that respect, and always will. Her knowledge of hair is something I will never be able to fully understand. So then why is what she does for a living any less respectable than what I do?

Intelligence is subjective.

You cannot compare the intelligence of two people in different fields or else you'll go mad. This being said, it's also ridiculous to compare intelligence to someone in your own field as well when people are continuing to learn every day.

Why put people down when you can teach them? Why be jealous of someone when you can learn from them?

Our world is ruled by the subconscious mindset of comparison. I'm here today asking you to stop comparing and start learning.

Understanding that we are not all the same is the key to living in harmony. I will write all the rest of my life and marvel at not only doctors who can save lives, but at the mechanics who can fix cars. Both are things I can't accomplish.

Choose to learn more about life and the elements around you, but do not ever keep faith in thinking that you are better than another human being. We are all unique and we must accept that, instead of looking down upon others who have different talents than we do.

Everyone is intelligent in their own manner, and we all contribute to our world in some way. That is something to keep in mind and celebrate.

Cover Image Credit: Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

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