By Cheyenne Peat-Davis

Writing can be many things to many people, but one thing I think most of us can agree upon is that writing is rarely ever “easy.” We all write for different reasons and about different subjects, and sometimes the process of getting started can make one feel as if they’re in a cage, but the secret to all of it is this: just write! When I am stuck in the writing process I find that it is because I am trying to fit my words to a specific topic or prompt, and of course we do not always have the luxury of straying from this path with our finished product, but I have found that straying from the my original path is the best way to move things along.

When I write on my own time, occasionally things come to me and I am able to let the words flow, but other times I am utterly at a loss, and that’s exactly what I write. I grab my journal and I write something along the lines of “I have no idea what to write right now,” and then suddenly I find myself writing about all kinds of obscure things. I’ll go from how my day is to one specific thing going on in my life to a review of my new favorite TV show. By doing this I am able to stop thinking about what I am supposed to write and just be myself in my writing.

Now this might not sound like it works in an academic setting, but it can be helpful there too. When I am assigned a specific topic and I am unsure of where to start, I start by jotting down the first couple of things that come to mind. I just bullet some of my main thoughts and the main points of the assignments. I never write a rough draft on paper, but when I am struggling to write, I jot down everything on paper, emulating the previous mentioned process I use when journaling. This allows me to touch on any and all ideas I have about the assignment, which then allows me to step back and determine where I need to expand, what ideas connect with each other, what contrasts, and what is not important.

The truth of the matter is, once you start writing, it can be hard to stop. Stepping away from the particular task at hand and writing about something completely different, or even writing in a stream of consciousness style can allow you to clear your mind of any anxieties you may have about  your topic. The task of getting started is daunting, so don’t think about it and allow your anxieties to build, just start! Throw all of your expectations away because hey, rough drafts exist for a reason. If you make a mistake or simply change your mind about something you’ve written, you have the opportunity to change it. But if you simply wait to start, you’ll never explore all of your possibilities. Be adventurous with your writing, explore your mind. Step out of the cage and into your own book of possibilities.