Lost for words

If you are one of my three regular readers (*hi*), you might have noticed that I’ve been trying to churn out a post every week. While this quantity-over-quality approach might not have always worked in my favor, it is helping me hone my writing skills and figure out what my niche is (or so I hope). It was partially inspired by James Clear, who talks a lot about how small changes can help you build good habits and eventually make big life changes.

It’s not always easy though. Even with a steady list of ideas (I have around 13 “drafts” with random ideas and topics to write about), I often find it hard to find inspiration. Take this week. What do I write about? Do I stay topical and write about the history of Valentine’s day; the fact that if a girl sees a robin on Valentine’s day, she will marry a sailor; or the chemistry of cuddle hormones?

Okay, Rachel Ignotofsky‘s graphics are so cool that I’m putting that in here anyway.

Or should I talk about the legacy of Opportunity, which is now lost to us after a sandstorm on Sol 5111 (June 10 last year)? It was trending on twitter all day yesterday, so it’s something people care about, right?

Or should I talk about the history of popcorn and how the first pop was supposedly accidental? Accidental heating of some kernels in a bag must have given someone a heart attack.

I feel you, poppy.

But sometimes, I just don’t feel it. I don’t always feel like putting in the research I’d like to do to make a “quality” post (it’s easy to rewrite a Wikipedia article or someone else’s blog post, but it just feels wrong). I’m not always in the mood to be my witty self (*ahem, #humblebrag*) or I feel like the jokes I am making, are the result from inside jokes that only one person will get.

Wait, is this what writer’s block feels like?

Writer’s block has been around for ages but wasn’t officially called “writer’s block” until 1947. Creatives have always struggled with periodic dips in inspiration. Writer’s block leads to writers giving up on writing altogether. It causes musicians to hide from the world for years, and cartoonist to not create anything for decades. There are lists and lists available on the internet on how to overcome it, over 4000 books written about it (not by writers in a block though), scientific research conducted about the what and the how and the why.

Always use Calvin and Hobbes cartoons for anything.

None of this information actually helps me though. I’ve noticed a pattern in my writing motivation. When I have to write for school or work – like when I was writing for my PhD thesis – all other types of writing will turn into more of a task. Apparently, my brain can handle only so much writing. So for this week, I’m putting quantity over quality, and I’ll go back to writing that technical report that’s due soon.

Hey, did you know that Penicillin was introduced to the market on Valentine’s Day?


Cover photo from Lego Grad Student

All info about Writer’s block from Wikipedia. Sue me.

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