When You Don't Know What To Write

When You Don't Know What To Write

Sometimes writer's block is a rut you can't climb out of.

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Everyone has those days where their brain just won't work.

No matter how hard you try, a creative idea just won't make its way into your head.

You try everything to get your creative juices flowing.

You might stop at the Starbucks on campus to wake yourself up.

As you're standing in line, you might take a look at the new Fall flavors on the menu.

Then it hits you: You could write a listicle ranking the Starbucks Fall flavors from worst to best!

After grabbing your grande iced caramel macchiato with an extra shot, you rush back to your apartment to get started.

However, as soon as you log in to your page to begin writing, it hits you.

You've only tried two of the Fall flavors. Therefore, that idea is out.

Now you're back where you started.

You look around the room for something that will inspire you.

A picture of your best friend? No, you wrote about her last week. Your cat? No, she doesn't do much other than eat, sleep and meow at 3 a.m.

You could rant about the homework that you're supposed to be doing, but that might not be the most productive way to spend your time.

You remember the times when creative ideas seemed to flow from your head to your keyboard with ease, and you wish you hadn't taken those times for granted.

You envy those who can write three articles a week when you're struggling to pop out one good article.

You realize that staring at a blank screen isn't helping, so you go for a walk to clear your head.

You take note of the weather conditions: Partly cloudy, hot with a touch of humidity.

You walk around campus looking for inspiration, but instead you find a swarm of mosquitoes ready to eat you for an afternoon snack.

To prevent yourself from becoming a bug buffet, you go back home and decide on your go-to option for inspiration: Browsing through Odyssey articles.

You read through the top three, the relationship section, the health section and the college section.

No matter how many articles you look through, nothing seems to click.

Tired, antsy and frustrated, you log back in to your page and stare at a blank screen once again.

You begin venting your frustrations on the creation page about how you can't come up with an article.

Then, looking at the screen, it hits you: You just did.

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11 Great Books For People Who Don't Like Reading

If you don't like to read, this is the article for you.
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I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, I am no reader. My twin sister, on the other hand, is a huge curly-q bookworm.

I always see her flying through novels for pure pleasure. I'll be honest, the sight of it makes me cringe. My body won't stay still after I get through 20 pages (unless I'm hooked). You can consider me the girl who doesn't finish anything (like Professor Calamitous in Jimmy Neutron...I even have the short stature down).

Maybe my dislike of reading stems from teachers force feeding us excruciatingly boring summer assignments.

1984? Straight up diarrhea

Fahrenheit? Vomit vomit vomit.

Animal Farm? Excruciatingly yuck.

The only thing I enjoyed about Animal Farm was laughing at how awful the movie was. On the other hand, give me a young adult novel, and you can count me in. I guess I have Vikas Turakhia to thank for introducing me to J.D Salinger and provoking my drive to become a better writer--after he made me cry and gave me a B- for a report regarding a book about Polenta. High-School was a time... amiright?

Anyway, even though I am not a big reader, there are still a few books that have stuck with me throughout the years. Here is a list of novels I highly recommend to those who associate reading with chores...this time it won't have to be.

1. Looking for Alaska

"Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps." -JohnGreenBooks.com

2. Eleanor and Park

"Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try." -Goodreads.com

3. City of Thieves

Written by the writer and producer of Game of Thrones... enough said. Another book that I was forced to read thanks to Vikas Turakhia and one I will never put down.

4. Paper Towns

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew." -Johngreenbooks.com

5. Franny and Zooey

"FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955 and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by ZOOEY. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I'm doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locations, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill." -Salinger

6. The Catcher in the Rye

"The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.

The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.

There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain too, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read." -Goodreads.com

7. The Westing Games

"A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!" -Goodreads.com

8. Milk and Honey

"milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. " -Goodreads.com

9. Room

"To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world....

Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience - and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another." -Goodreads.com







10. Replica

"Two Girls, Two Stories, One Book"- Goodreads.com

11. Mother, Can You Not?

"In Mother, Can You NOT?, Kate Siegel pays tribute to the woman whose helicopter parenting may make your mom look like Mother Teresa. From embarrassing moments (like her mother’s surprise early morning visit, catching Kate in bed with her crush) to outrageous stories (such as the time she moved cross country to be near Kate’s college) to hilarious mantras (“NO STD TEST, YOU WON’T BE GETTING SEXED!”), Mother, Can you NOT? lovingly lampoons the lengths to which our mothers will go to better our lives (even if it feels like they’re ruining them in the process)." -kateesiegel.com
Cover Image Credit: 123RF

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A Thank You To Odyssey

A tribute to the site that help me become the writer I am today.

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When I think back to how far I have come in my writing career, I never would have thought it would be where I am at today. Almost two years ago, I joined this amazing website, and it has truly changed my life for the better. Coming into it, I thought I would mostly use it as a way to talk about pop culture, things I found funny, and a way to rant about stupid things. But over time, the platform began to allow me to find my voice in issues that truly resonated with me.

When I first started writing, I thought Odyssey was a platform for just pop culture, something to write about "Top 10" lists and angry twitter mobs. I remember coming onto the platform fully excited to begin giving my piece of mind on what hot fashion topics and open letters I wanted to write. The first few months of writing were great. My creative juices were absolutely flowing, and I thought I was producing some of the best pieces of my time as a writer.

However, after a while, I found that the pop culture articles weren't all I thought they were. I found myself growing bored with the content I was writing. I needed something else to talk about. I felt my writing was strained and pushed. It didn't feel natural. The content I was creating wasn't me and wasn't the things that I was entirely interested in. They were things I thought would get views.

As I moved my time to a bi-weekly schedule, as things in college began to kick up, I decided to try a different approach to my writing. I began to write about politics. I began to take the things I was truly passionate about and make that the center of my writing. My writing kicked back up again, and I truly found my actual passion. I figured out what I wanted to do in my career. And I was finally back in my groove.

Odyssey inspired me to find my voice. Not just my writing voice but my voice in this world. It resonated with me in what I was good at talking about, and what I was good with mediating and talking to others. I was able to truly find the confidence to not be afraid to voice my opinions, and know that not everyone will always agree with you. I can't imagine where I'd be without Odyssey. Writing has helped me through the toughest times in my life, and having this outlet has been what I've needed.

To my amazing team - they've created such a loving and inclusive environment. Anyone with anything to say can come onto this platform and team and know they have a family of friends to back them up, agree or disagree. I don't know what my future holds with writing, but I hope it remains a constant, and I will always give credit to my time at Odyssey.

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