Greetings from the Dorm,

I’m going to be blunt right now and tell you that I really haven’t the slightest idea of what to write. I have literally sat in this wooden chair for the past hour and a half just kind of staring at the screen. Fortunately, this gave me an idea: I should write about a little thing called “Writer’s Block.” And I shall.

Writer’s block, for those fortunate souls who have never experienced it, is something individuals in the writing world despise. With a passion. Writer’s block is when it seems like your brain can’t think of anything and/or your hand just will not write anything. It is, admittedly, a very difficult thing to deal with as a writer of any magnitude. Whether you write a novel a week like Stephen King (of course, he did cocaine like a fiend for a number of his books) or an essay once a year, “the block” is still ridiculous. As far as the ‘condition’ goes, I’ve heard of many ways to fix it. It’s as if writer’s block is a cold and there are countless wives tales and remedies that I couldn’t begin to list them all. As such, I’ll just give a few.

The first and foremost method of curing writer’s block has always been (for me) just writing in pen or pencil the word “block” or words “writer’s block” over and over again until my mind is forced to think of something just to break up the monotony. I have used this method religiously and it has gotten me through several essays and papers, albeit with a very sore hand. Other common methods are: reread the entire thing (this is also helpful to catch any mistakes or even to do some early revision) and see if that sparks any prolific writing spurts, walk away for a little and give yourself some time to recuperate, or stare blankly at the screen (sometimes for hours) until you come up with something.

Some methods work well for certain people, others don’t work at all. Please, don’t quote me on these. Rather, I should say, use these methods at your own risk. I don’t want anyone waiting until the last minute on a paper thinking that with these “foolproof” methods, they’ll be able to crank it out no problem, and when it comes down to crunch time, they get the block and can’t break free of it, then blaming it on me. I can hear now, “Shane, you lying simpleton! How dare you give me false confidence and subsequently cause me to fail my paper? Noooooooo!” I doubt it would play out exactly like that; I feel like, as Dr. Martin so often says, “they’d be using their four-word vocabulary.”

So, some things to keep in mind: writer’s block is bad no matter who you are, there are many methods of disposing of it, and none of them are foolproof. Also, don’t get mad at me if they don’t work out.

Happy Writing,