Writing a creative essay—especially about yourself—is not as easy as doing your math homework. Though you may dread both, you still figure out your x, y, and z’s while hating it, but you can’t hate writing and still write. Everyone suffers from writer’s block at some point—even people who write for a living—so you’re in good company. So what should you do when you schedule time to write, but you feel as blah as the slushy sidewalks?
Take a vacation from your problems.
You may remember that the incomparable Dr. Leo Marvin gave this very advice to his overly friendly patient in What About Bob?. Though it didn’t work out that well for Dr. Marvin in the end, Bob had a great time.
How can you take a vacation from your problems? Essentially, this just means shifting your mindset to your happy place. If sitting at your desk is making you miserable, sit on the comfy chair in the living room. If you’re antsy, get up and take a walk. If you have energy to burn, do a quick set of crunches. Take five or ten minutes to do something—anything—other than writing.
Then, with all of those endorphins running through your body, try to write again.
If your mind is still a blank, then open up your email and compose a message to your best friend. In the body of the message, start writing about your assigned topic. Writing email is generally easy and fun, so we can trick ourselves into relaxing a bit about the assignment. Kind of like a parent using an airplane spoon to zoom food into a kid’s mouth.
After typing your email, transfer the text to Word and reread what you’ve written. If you have time, walk away from the computer for a while before returning to edit and revise. Hopefully the mini-vacation will relax your body and mind to prep you for the work ahead.
P.S. Please don’t follow me to Lake Winnipesaukee.
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