The Rest Is Still Unwritten: A Writer On Writer's Block

The Rest Is Still Unwritten: A Writer On Writer's Block

500 Words on Having Nothing to Say
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Writing is one of the most sophisticated-seeming hobbies to pursue. When a person mentions that they write in any capacity, what tends to creep into people’s minds is pseudo-intellectuals sitting outside of chic little cafés writing up our next samples of genius on our laptops; or, to be even more aesthetically pleasing to imagine, actual notebooks and pens like modern-day F. Scott Fitzgeralds. Unfortunately, the reality of a writer’s life is usually much more mundane and aesthetically frustrating: a clock showing a time way past when any human should reasonably be up, a laptop using up its last breath before it collapses from a lack of battery, and a blank page cursed by writer’s block.

Writer’s block can come in many forms depending on the writer. There’s the noble version of writer’s block that comes from a writer being too fatigued after dedicating hours to dutifully writing their research paper, thank you notes, etc.. For these people we all secretly hate who seem to be able to get their lives perfectly together, they can at least go to sleep semi-peacefully knowing that they actually got something done. The second more common type of block is from the fatigue when you haven’t been writing for a while. Getting back into the groove of anything after an extended absence is never fun, and writing’s never exempt. And once again, you stare at a blank page at the end of the night. The other common type of writer’s block is unintentionally but frequently abused by everyone from college freshman to seniors in a retirement community: procrastination. Ironically, the more time you put off waiting for a stroke of brilliance to inspire you, the less likely it is that that stroke of brilliance will ever actually grace you with its divine providence. What usually occurs instead is one self-loathing writer muttering every non-printable expletive they can think of under their breath while writing whatever thought their brains can come up with after powering through completely avoidable ungodly hours to reach their deadline.

I’ve experienced writer’s block on everything from school reports to college application essays, and most certainly when writing this article for The Odyssey. And just as if I were going through the seven stages of grief, I went through every version of writer’s block described above until I reached a sweet moment of acceptance: I’ll probably struggle with some form of writer’s block at some point or another even if I become the next Stephen King, but I still need to put something down on the page. Even if a writer starts out their latest project just writing out their grocery list, something interesting is way more likely to appear than if the writer just stares at the computer screen for hours on end. Writer’s block is a war that most artists face at some point, but we have a useful but rarely thought of secret weapon: productivity. So stop procrastinating reading this writing on writing, fight your personal block, and produce!

Cover Image Credit: http://blogs.longwood.edu/alexgreene/2013/12/01/writers-block/

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21 Lies College Students Tell Their Parents

I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these.

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Let's be honest. College is the best time of your life for a lot of reasons, and maybe you should not tell your mom all of them when she calls. I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these, and the others — maybe you should try next time!

1. "I can't talk now, I'm in the library."

Typically used when the student is too hungover to talk.

2. "Gotta go now, I'm walking into class."

Then hit play on Netflix.

3. "I think it might be food poisoning."

Was it the food, or all of that alcohol? Your symptoms sound more like a hangover to me.

4. "No, I didn't just wake up."

It is 4 p.m. and, yes, you did.

5. "I need more money for laundry and food."

Meaning, "I need more money for things I don't think you will give me money for."

6. "I never skip class!"

When we use this one, it usually does not refer to anything before 11 a.m.

7. "I studied all night for that test!"

If by "studied all night" you mean you watched TV shows in the library, then, yes, all night.

8. "Everyone failed that test."

And by everyone, I mean me and my friend who did not go to sleep until 3 a.m.

9. "I'm walking home from breakfast with my friends."

Yeah, OK. You are just lucky she cannot see last night's outfit and the high heels you are carrying. We know where you have been.

10. "Potbelly's is a restaurant."

I mean, they may sell tacos, but I'm not sure I would call it a restaurant.

11. "I go to Cantina's for the Nachos."

I hope that is not the only reason but, hey, you do you.

12. "The $40 charge on the card from last Saturday? That was for school supplies!"

Yeah, right. It was for a new dress.

13. "Nobody goes out on weeknights, especially not me."

We all know grades come first, right?

14. "I can't remember the last time I went out!"

Literally.

15. "I make my bed regularly"

About as often as I clean the bathroom.

16. "I did not say 'Margarita Monday,' I said I went to 'Margaret's on Monday'!"

Following the use of this lie, do not post any pictures on social media of you with a margarita.

17. "I use my meal plan, and eat in the dining hall all the time."

As you scarf down Chick-fil-A.

18. "I eat healthy!"

For those without a meal plan who have to grocery shop on their own, we all know you spend $2 on a 12-pack of Ramen noodles and the rest on a different kind of 12-pack.

19. "No, I don't have a fake ID."

OK, "John Smith," and where exactly in Wyoming are you from?

20. "I'm doing great in all of my classes."

We use this one because you cannot see our grades online, anymore.

21. "I did not wait until the last minute to start on this."

We all know that if you start a paper before 10 p.m. the night before it is due, you are doing something wrong.

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To Love a Broken Vase — An Ode To Valentine's Day

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." --David Viscott, How to Live with Another Person, 1974

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I remember an anecdote my elementary school teacher told us in the fifth grade. When a mother is pregnant with a child, they feel comfortable in their flesh. Provided with everything they needed to survive, they don't have to worry about anything. It's not until after they are born and the umbilical chord is severed that they realized they were not good enough, and insecurities fester.

I went through a similar process when I was growing up. Contained within my family and books, I felt like I held the world in my hands. It was not until high school where I seriously sought out others for company and wanted to apply myself to the social universe. And I saw myself changing in not only my behaviors, but how I see myself within the world.

With working hard to get good grades, with trying to get my driver's license, and becoming a better person overall, I realized the process involved a lot more effort than I ever had expected. And I found myself unprepared for the slow drudgery of it all. While I once pushed through to get things done, now I find myself giving up on projects while coming up with new ones. I frequently turned to my laptop for solace, as it kept my fantasies alive, but it also stole time away from me.

These behaviors showed in my relationships: I found it hard to meet up with friends, and my parents started worrying about what would my future look like. With the latter, I've had multiple conflicts with them, with me asserting I wanted to be free from everything, including accountability. Of course, that perception was quite unrealistic — to love and be loved, as well as to succeed, there has to a tug to know when you're doing something wrong.

***

A year ago, I wrote an article about how I saw romantic love from somebody who has never been in a relationship. Many things still apply today — I'm better off working towards my educational and career goals than seeking out love, though with Valentine's Day, it still fascinates me on whether or not I could be loved from somebody else.

From what I've heard from others, they would be charmed by my intelligence and kindness, neither fulfilling the stereotype of a nerd nor the perfect angel. However, the naivete would also put someone off, and potentially puts them in danger. I also see myself as the spontaneous type, but to the point where I forget where my priorities are, again making them worse than they really are. I imagine they would be intrigued by me as a friend or a lover, but end up breaking away after a short amount of time.

I don't imagine finding myself loving other people in the short term; however, I find myself open towards others. And that what makes me more afraid about how people view me--will they not be able to see the positives in myself when the time comes? Will they be just as capable of forgiving me the same way my family does?

At the end, I should take my friend's advice for Valentine's Day — love oneself. And take actions to make sure that I can love myself deeper and further.

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