Washington Redskins. Government shutdown. New music. The “Breaking Bad” finale (which I have not seen yet but already know the ending to, thanks to the spoilers sitting behind me in class who just had to describe it in vivid detail). I don’t know what to write about. Anyone who has ever experimented with creative writing knows that you have not truly experienced frustration until you’ve had writer’s block an hour before your deadline. For those of you who have ever wondered what it’s like to write a weekly column, I’m going to give you a little insight on how the process goes for me each week.
I sit down. I pull out my laptop. I start brainstorming ideas. When I come up with an idea that seems to have enough substance, I start typing out phrases. Sometimes these phrases are simple, sometimes they are complex and thought-provoking. Sometimes they are obscene, sometimes they sound like they were written by a first grader who just learned how to write. Usually they have very little to no logical order – they are simply thoughts that pop into my head.
This week, I have gone through three different topics, doing that brainstorming process with each. As soon as I begin piecing together phrases to form logical sentences, I get annoyed with my topic, delete the whole thing and start over on some other idea. Now I’m rapidly approaching the deadline for my column, and I decided the only way to overcome my writer’s block is to write about writer’s block.
First, it sucks. Second, it happens to anyone who ever has to write extensively about any kind of topic, which I hope is everyone, seeing as how probably 99.9 percent of my readers are at the college level or beyond. Third, there are only a few ways to get around it. You could pull a Grace move and just write gibberish until something starts making sense, or you could sit around and wait for inspiration to strike you, or you could just not write the thing at all. Hopefully you don’t choose the third option very often, because that, boys and girls, would be a perfect way to flunk right out of school.
For me, I always have an idea in my head of how I want my weekly columns to be: funny, creative, original and inspiring. Then, when I sit down to start writing, it feels like the words just get stuck in my fingers and won’t come out the way I want them to. I also have such a hard time deciding on a topic. When asking around for ideas for my column this week, my friend suggested that I write about something new that I’ve tried recently. That got me thinking, and thinking, and thinking, and then I realized that I can’t really remember the last time I tried something new, at least something exciting enough to write 700 words about.
This realization was very saddening for me, because just as I have expectations of how I want my columns to be, I also have expectations of how I want my life to be. I don’t want to be the boring girl that sits around on Facebook and plays Temple Run all day. I don’t want the most exciting part of my summer to be that I worked two jobs and made a lot of money. I want to have experiences that I can reflect on and write 700 words about, even write 20 pages about if I ever wanted to. When someone asks me what I like to do in my free time (and that question comes up a lot for whatever reason), I want to be able to say something so unique and exciting that people actually remember it, because you know when you get asked that question that no one actually retains the answer you give them unless it is something wild.
Maybe this is the only solution to my writer’s block. I mean, think about it. If I did something new and adventurous each week, then plausibly I should never run out of things to write about ever again. And, if I ever decide that I want to write a book someday, then I will have so many exciting things to say that it will become a best-seller! Alright, maybe that’s a little far-fetched, but it could still happen. Maybe. Anyways, I got past my writer’s block this week, and now I have a goal in mind for the rest of my time here with The Carroll News. I guess this wasn’t such a bad column after all.