What To Do When Writer's Block Is Blocking Your Brain

What To Do When Writer's Block Is Blocking Your Brain

It's not procrastinating, it's idea-gathering.

We've all had moments where writing has gone from being a relaxing, relieving activity to being a stressful, laborious task. Of course, when you've got the feelings flowing and the anger, excitement or passion raging, words spill from your hands easily. You know what you want to say and how to say it. But when writer's block hits, it's no fun, especially not when it's the night before an assignment is due. When writer's block has got me down, I like to use these few tricks to try and get my creative cocktail flowing again.

1. Make Coffee and Eat a Sweet Treat

There's nothing like the buzz of caffeine and sugar when you're down with writer's block. The sugar high turns the gears in my brain much faster than I can even write, and those two hours until I crash are prime writing time.

2. News Patrol

Scroll through the news, whether World News or pop cultural or whatever floats your boat. I try to get ideas from what's happening in the world today, especially if I see something that makes me angry. Unfortunately, that happens a lot more often than I'd like it to.

3. Read Something Funny

I have a collection of Garfield comics that I keep by my desk at all times. When I'm stuck or when I need a break, I love flipping through and reading my favorites. Jim Davis never fails to make me laugh. Most of the time, this tactic doesn't help me get ideas for writing, but it's a really fun way to pretend I am.

4. Read Old Journal Entries

You never know what kind of gold you'll find in your old journals. I found this while trying to find inspiration for this article. It's an old college research list, when I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I think it says a lot about me. Certainly made me laugh, and it helped me come up with this item for the list. Win win.

5. Make a List

Make a list of everything you know about the topic, even if all you know is the title of the topic. Sometimes seeing everything on paper in front of you helps you figure out what ideas you want to connect together. From there, it's a simple matter of playing connect the dots.

6. Talk About It

One of the most important lessons I learned from my high school English teacher was to collaborate. Your list is next to useless if you don't have anyone to talk to about it. Talking with other people gives you a diversity in thought that you just can not achieve alone. You'll be surprised at how much another person's own unique version of life can change the conversations you have.

7. Watch a Lot of YouTube

My personal favorites are Ellen and old celebrity interviews. What can I say, it's a guilty pleasure.

8. Take a Shower

It's true. Many times, the best ideas come to you while in the shower. You're relaxed, you're happy to be clean, and bam! It hits you: the perfect way to open your essay. It's funny, it's clever, it's daring.... they'll be knocked off their feet.

9. Color

It's supposed to activate your right brain, I think. I don't know, I'm gonna go color til I figure it out.

10. Just Do It

When it's the last possible moment and you can't procrastinate--I mean, gather inspiration--any longer, just sit down in front of the keyboard and type, my friend. Fake it til you make it. You'll find your way into the argument sooner or later.

Cover Image Credit: Alexandra Greene

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Things To Do When You're So Bored All You Want To Do Is Cry

Do something artsy


Everyone has times when they have nothing to do and boredom strikes way too hard. From experience, I have found some top things to do when you literally have nothing else to do!

1. Clean

Not super fun, but will keep you busy.

2. Netflix

Find a new show to binge watch. Watched them all? Rewatch something you haven't seen in a while!

3. Shopping

Retail therapy can always keep you busy.

4. Make a home cooked meal

Spend some time in the kitchen and make something yummy! Even invite some friends.

5. Visit friends/ family

Pop in on some people you care about that you haven't seen in a while!

6. Write

Writing is something we all do and is a great way to express ourselves!

7. Exercise

Hit the gym or go for walk, do something to keep you nice and fit.

8. Volunteer

Go to an animal shelter, food bank, museums, or anywhere in your area that needs help.

9. Look for a job

If you're bored, maybe getting a part time job will keep you a little occupied. Plus it's extra money in your pocket.

10. Draw/ do something artsy

Even if you think you're a bad artist, drawing is something fun to do! You'll get better in time.

11. Join an Odyssey Team!

Writing articles through the Odyssey is an amazing experience and can always keep you busy!

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