Sometimes Writer’s Block (and yes, those words do deserve Capital Letters) happens and sometimes Writer’s Block happens while you’re trying to write a blog post. In case I’m not being totally clear, sometimes that person who is suffering from Writer’s Block while trying to write a blog post is me. So I thought I would take this time to discuss my writing process in a most likely futile attempt to become inspired to write something less meta. If you are reading this with your eyes, I have failed. So without further ado, here is what I lovingly and hatefully refer to as The Process (note: This Process is applicable to both academic papers, blog posts, and anything in between):
Step 1: Brainstorm an Idea
Sometimes you have ideas and sometimes you write them on a Post-it note at 4 AM after shaking yourself out of the dream that had given you this glorious idea. In a tired haze of regret over having gone to sleep at 3 AM and with enough frantic energy to get you out of bed, you search for a Post-it note in the post-apocalyptic wasteland you dare to call a “desk” and you jot down whatever brilliant idea the dream goblins had given you. And sometimes you wake up at 10 AM and read that Post-it note and that Post-it note says sometimes along of the lines of “EGGS AREN’T REAL” or “TIME IS FAKE!!!!!” or “If he could’ve he would’ve but he didn’t so he can’t,” the last of which actually being a succinct analysis of Satan’s rationale against the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent God in Book 6 of Paradise Lost so sometimes things work out in the end.
Step 2: Do Literally Anything But the Thing You are Supposed to Be Doing
There is this thing that I do that I like to call Productive Procrastination (another thing I like to do, apparently, is to arbitrarily capitalize Certain words When i want to assign Them Significance). Productive Procrastination is defined as “the act of doing literally anything but the thing you are supposed to be doing.” I got an entire semester’s worth of homework done while I was trying to avoid writing an 8-page paper. Some examples of Productive Procrastination include:
- Cleaning your room
- Doing your dishes
- Taking out the trash
- Taking a shower
- Deep cleaning your entire house
- Doing this week’s psych homework
- Doing next week’s psych homework
- Doing the entire semester’s psych homework
- Making a Spotify playlist with the music that you will write this epic A+++++ paper to
- Repainting your mother’s bathroom
- Taking a nap
And so it goes.
Step 3: Stare at Your Empty Document for Five Ten Fifteen Twenty Minutes
Feel the deadline come closer and closer until your anxiety compels you to write something, anything, before it’s too late.
Step 4: Write. Just write. Just get it over with. You know you’re going to write another draft anyway.
Step 5: Think “Hey, this actually isn’t so bad! Why did I wait so long to start this? Why did I go all the way back home to repaint the bathroom???”
Step 6: Realize that it is just as bad as you think. Oh god, why is this happening to me? Dear God, why?
Step 7: Scream.
Step 8: Finish your draft!
It’s terrible. It’s a garbage paper and you are a garbage person. This paper is a sin against both Nature and the English Language, but it exists and, frankly, that’s all it needs to do.
Your thoughts just need to exist somewhere on paper. They could be good thoughts or bad thoughts or right thoughts or wrong thoughts, but you can’t really tell what kind of thoughts they are until you see them.
Step 9: Write It Again
And then when you see them, you can decide what to do from there. No piece of writing exists perfectly the first time. Or the second. Maybe the third. Maybe.
What I’m trying to say is that if you’ve got a paper to write or a blog post or a story or something, honestly the hardest part is just starting.
So just write and write and write and write and somewhere along the way, you’re going to find something you like buried in the mess of your ideas.
So, yeah, anyway this is how I write papers. It’s a miracle I can get anything done. If anything I hope that this shows you that there’s actually no wrong way to write a paper as long as you actually write the paper.