As one of hundreds of students currently writing their third year dissertation I know I am not alone in my troubles and frustration. I have managed to find a topic that I am absolutely infatuated with and have done weeks and weeks of research, to find myself hitting a road block: I can’t write.
I cannot tell you how many times I sat down at my laptop to write that first chapter, sitting motionless and wordless for minutes that turned to hours, to just end up watching another episode of Lost (my newest t.v. obsession) or even to just shut my laptop and walk away.
My biggest problem was having to break old habits. For the last three years I have written my assignments in the same haphazard way; intense research for 10 days before sitting down to write at 10pm on the night prior to the deadline, staying up all night to complete those all important 3,000 words. I need ‘the fear’, as my closest friend informs me, in order to write.
Now 3,000 words in a night is perfectly achievable, and I did achieve good grades with this method. But 10,000 words is a different story entirely. Even as the deadline loomed ever closer (7th May) I still found myself with far fewer words than I should have had by this point.
I needed to start writing, and soon.
That was my position a week ago, on Monday I finally broke through my writers block, and suddenly, 3,000 words appeared. And now I’ve begun, I can’t stop!
So to anyone having the same troubles, finding it almost impossible to put all of their thoughts and research into a coherent string of words on a solid piece of paper, keep trying, keep staring at that screen. Get frustrated but don’t lose hope. It’ll come eventually, and when it does, what you write (in my experience) will be so much more worthwhile than if you would have forced it. Writing is a creative process, whether you are writing a creative piece or not.