I didn’t think it would happen to me, not me. How could it? I never run out of things to say, more often than not I’m advised to shut-up. I consider myself to be a very effective communicator, and isn’t the written word the epitome of communication? It has hit me hard like a warm glass of whiskey on an empty stomach. I’m blocked! I honestly expected to sit down for a couple hours and just unload everything I’ve learned about writer’s block and why people suffer from it but I see so clearly now that that was a mistake. I was naïve, and I am finding it ironic that I’m suffering from the same thing I’m trying to write about. In Mike Roses’ essay Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language: A Cognitivist Analysis of Writer’s Block he concludes that inexperienced writers suffer from writers block because they are “operating either with writing rules or with planning strategies that impede rather than enhance the composing process” (390). Interesting right? But why am I blocked? What rule am I trying to hold onto and follow? As if one of my previous English teachers is going to show up and mark a big red X on this paper. Within this essay I will give my thoughts and opinions as to why inexperienced writers feel they must follow a blueprint or some rigid rule that has them stuck in their tracks and is impeding the natural writing process as well as some strategies I use personally to get over writer’s block.
One example that Mike Roses uses in his essay is Ruth, She was always taught that the introduction paragraph must reach out and grab the reader’s attention. Nobody wants to write a boring essay. This seems like a universal trend as I have been told the same thing from numerous teachers over the course of my education. It makes sense to me and it’s something I always try to do when writing. However in life, in regards to many things, we’re told that “it’s not how you start it’s how you finish” but that just doesn’t apply to writing. If your introduction paragraph is boring and the reader has lost interest already it doesn’t bode well for the rest of your writing. Sure you could have great supporting paragraphs and an amazing conclusion that wraps it up and brings it all home but without a proper introduction I think you have already lost your readers and they have either consciously or subconsciously made adverse inferences about your work. So yes Ruth is right. Her introduction does need to get the reader’s attention and have them wanting more, because if it didn’t she would fail. I believe that the true reason inexperienced writers like Ruth suffer from writers block lies in the emotional realm, it’s that fear of failure. Their anxiety, fear of evaluation, or their insecurities are holding them back because in their head they have deemed certain rules essential to a good paper, but in reality composition is a complex process and often can’t be restricted. It’s their own emotions holding them back not the rule itself. In Ruth’s case I would create an outline of my paper and start with one of the supporting paragraphs. You can always come back to the introduction later.
This brings me to my writing style. Typically I don’t write a rough draft but rather a very rough outline that helps me organize the flow of the paper I’m going to be writing. This allows me to best arrange ideas and facts within my essay in the shortest amount of time possible. After every paragraph I go back over it and make sure I’m happy with the structure but I’m not really paying close attention to grammar and punctuation. When my paper is complete I read it again from start to finish. If I have time I always try to have a friend or family member read my work so I can get there opinion about possible changes I could make to make my writing stronger. Once I’m happy with the content I fix the grammar errors and punctuation mistakes and hopefully I’m left with a nice finished product. When I experience writer’s