By Natalie Agosto-Garcia
What is writer’s block? According to google, this atrocity is the condition in which one cannot think of what to write or how to continue with the process of writing. As a writer, I (and the many writers before me) have struggled with writer’s block. There have been many times where writing has been difficult for me simply because the idea of finding a topic to write about becomes extremely stressful. Some people believe writing aids in reducing anxiety and stress by expressing oneself and letting it all out by writing it on paper.
When struggling with writer’s block, something that should be quite calming becomes something I dread doing. This form of procrastination causes me to throw my inhibitions into the crisp morning air and search for the next best thing on Netflix (Ahem, The OA). Through many years of stress, stress, and more stress, I was convinced by my friend (and yoga fanatic) to try slowing my mind through meditation.
“Try calming your mind to focus on one thing, girl.” She laughed at me as we were sitting on her living room floor having a Hulu marathon when I was supposed to have been writing my paper. She watched me for the last two hours turning on/off my laptop, flipping through pages of books, and pacing the room.
“What?” I said.
“Calm the F down. Don’t you meditate? Or Sleep? Or yoga? Like, calllllllllllm down.”
“Meditate? I think I’m too much of a stress ball to sit cross-legged on your floor and start chanting some ‘om’ nonsense.”
“Don’t tell me what to do. If I don’t know what to write, I can’t write the assignment. If I can’t write the assignment, I get a zero. If I get zeros because I can’t write other assignments then I get a big fat huge zero. And that big fat huge zero will drop my GPA. If my GPA drops then I fail. I’m a failure and that failure will follow me for the rest of my life on transcripts! When I apply to jobs, they’ll see that GPA. When I have kids I’ll have to lie to them and tell them I was a great writer, full of ideas, and good grades because they can’t have a stupid mommy.”
“Stop your mind ya ticking time bomb!” She reached over for the remote and turned off the T.V. Her body shifted into criss-cross-applesauce. She stared at me until I followed suit. “Lord, have mercy. Okay, breath in slowly.” She said closing her eyes and taking a breath.
Again, I followed suit.
“WHAT DID I JUST SAY ABOUT THAT OM STUFF” I was laughing hysterically wondering how in the world I was supposed to take any of this seriously.
“I’m joking, I’m joking! But seriously though, breath in slowly for the count of five, then breath out slowly to the count of ten.”
After trying this for a few a minutes, I opened my eyes.
“I’m falling asleep, I can’t concentrate on just nothing without passing out”
“Just bring your thoughts back to your mind, focus on one thing. When your mind wanders, catch yourself and focus on that one thing. Get it?”
We did this for about 30 minutes. It did seem to work. I felt ideas moving around in my mind like the little souls swimming in the shiny silver tank from that one Scooby Doo movie. Now it was just about picking one and going with it, but the worst was over!
“Okay. Namaste. How do you feel?”
“I have some ideas now, it’s just about writing them now.”
“Want to sit at my desk and try again?”
“Namaste right here and write this tomorrow.”
Meditation did help me. Well, after practicing many, many, many times. It’s hard to get it right on the very first try. If you’re not ready to try it just yet, the best you can do to get rid of your writer’s block is to get away from your desk. Try taking a walk or a run. Do yoga, listen to music, or go to the beach. Do whatever it takes to get yourself out of your studying mindset. Well, don’t get too crazy.
Good luck, and happy writing my little stress balls!