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Mount Creative Writers

The 8 words to success

Alexandra Tyminski
MSM Class of 2015

(10/2013) When I met with my editor last week, she told me, “June, write about anything.” I stared back at Maggie with a puzzled look. My thick eyebrows folded into the middle crease of my face and my big brown eyes shifted right and left as I tried to process the simple yet complex statement from my editor.

“Uh, Maggie, are you sure?”

“Yes June, I’m positive. Mark and I discussed last week about how we would like to stretch your imagination, and by doing that, we are going to let you run free. Or in this case, write free!” Maggie said.

“Oh wow, I really appreciate that! I’m happy that you are allowing me to write about what I want.” I couldn’t help but grin from one rosy cheek to the other.

“Well, there is only one condition,” Maggie glanced down at the papers in front of her.

Oh no, I thought. There was going to be some kind of catch. I was going to have to take over another person’s article this month, and it was going to be about the annual cow showing. Or worse, the neighbors down the road saved a cat from a tree…again. Not to mention, it was probably their own cat. Expecting the worst, I waited for the catch…

“We want you to write about something that you are passionate about,” Maggie said as she looked up at me.

“Oh awesome, that should be easy! It should be done in no time,” I said, standing up in an instant. I was too anxious to get back to my computer and write about something I loved.

“My hand slipped on the damp rock, and my right knee jammed into the crack on the climb. I could feel my palms getting sweaty, and I…” I started to read my article out loud.

“This is not what I want to write about,” I mumbled to myself. Why is writing about something I love so hard?

“Okay let’s start this over,” I sighed and took a deep breath. I closed my eyes before my fingers touched the keyboard, and I imagined my name on a book cover. It read, “Pick up a Passion,” by Jane Edelman.

I opened my eyes and started again. “When I was young, I really enjoyed playing sports and cooking…”

I furiously hit the backspace key as I could feel my frustration getting the best of me. Writer’s block is the worst possible thing a writer could experience. I think I was more frustrated that I had writer’s block because I was finally able to write something I really felt passionate about. I glanced outside and noticed the beautiful trees blowing through the wind. They were waving a big gesture that was begging me to come and sit with them for a while. Giving in, I grabbed my sweater and quickly walked out of my apartment door.

I walked down the 2-mile trail that took me past a few farm animals and houses. The leaves on the trees were still changing colors, and the October air had never smelled more like fall. The sun hit my face, and I closed my eyes, imagining nothing but where I was in that moment. I stopped on a gravel road and leaned over the gate, watching the horses interact with each other while they picked up pieces of hay with their mouths.

POW, a noise came from the ground. I shifted my eyes to the road and saw my cell phone sitting on the ground. It must have fallen out of my pocket. When I bent down to pick it up, I tapped on the screen and a picture of my dad popped up.

I felt inclined to call him, so I dialed his number.

“Helloooooo!” my dad said on the other end of the line. His raspy, yet cheerful voice was hard to miss.

“How’s it going there, pal?” he asked.

“Hey, Dad! It’s going well! I’m doing awesome! Well actually, I’m not sure what to write about for my article. I’m having trouble deciding what to write about,” I said with a weary voice.

“It’s okay buddy, you’ll figure it out. Hey, actually, why don’t you write about my favorite October holiday?” he said.

“Dad, I know Halloween isn’t your favorite holiday,” I laughed.

“I am not talking about that holiday, sweetie!” My dad still talked to me like I was a little girl even though I was twenty-four years old.

“It’s National Dictionary Day on October 16th!”

“What is that, Dad? I have never even heard of that holiday!”

“It’s when you have to learn new dictionary words! Mark your calendar for October 16th!” He said with excitement. “Maybe that will help with your writer’s block.”

“Thanks, Dad. I will definitely take that into consideration.” I giggled to myself, thinking about how silly my dad was.

“Alright, well Dad, I just was calling to say hi and that I hope everything is going well!”

He coughed in the background and said, “It was great to hear from you as always. Good luck with your article! I know you’ll get it done. You’re a great writer, kiddo. Just keep working and it will come to you soon enough! Love you!”

I headed back down the gravel path towards my apartment, and I started to think about what my dad said.

“National Dictionary Day?” I said out loud, questioning the idea to myself. Is that something I can write about? Let alone even be passionate about? I was never an avid reader when I was younger, but I do love to learn.

When I got back to my apartment, I sat down and opened up a blank document on my computer. I began to type ideas about how National Dictionary Day could help me expand my article and my passion for learning. While struggling to write my ideas, I found that it was the struggle that helped me discover what I was really passionate about: writing.

Writer’s block. There are a few ways to describe it:

Irritable: It is super annoying and frustrating. It causes the mind to become easily distracted. Writer’s block is irritable, but it can also be efficacious.

Efficacious: Writer’s block can be effective, or efficacious, in helping create some new innovative articles and writing. In this way, writer’s block can even be influential.

Influential: Writer’s block motivates the writer to really push himself or herself to write about something different, inspiring, and maybe even something mirthful.

Mirthful: Writer’s block is not something fun, but out of it can come a rediscovery of why writing can be so gratifying.

Gratifying: Writer’s block gratifies a writer’s mind. It challenges a writer in a different way to dive deeper into his or her creative talent. In the end, the gratifying challenge is a satisfaction that only passionate writers will achieve, and overcoming that obstacle is so rewarding.

Rewarding: The struggle on the way to the end result may not be a pleasant experience, but finally finding those words that are on the tip of your tongue is such a rewarding feeling. What seemed so out of reach is now finally in your grasp, even though the process was so challenging.

Challenging: It’s not easy, that’s for sure. It seems like a test of your passion, your skills, and no doubt your mind. But this is what sets truly passionate writers apart. Out of the frustration and struggle brought forth by writer’s block, writers gain a newfound perspective. They take a difficult situation and turn it into something positive. They transform their struggle into something inspirational.

Inspirational: All writers go through it at some point, those days when you just can’t seem to gather your thoughts enough to put them into words. But writer’s block is just a part of the process. If we always had the answers, we wouldn’t challenge ourselves and come up with new ideas. Out of writer’s block comes inspiration for both the writer and the audience. It promotes creativity and most importantly, revives our passion. It reminds us of why we love to write.

Writer’s block is a hard concept to understand. It is irritable, efficacious, influential, mirthful, gratifying, rewarding, challenging, and in many ways inspirational. Writer’s block can be defeated in many ways: take a stroll in the park, grab an ice cream cone, call a friend, or maybe even learn a few new words from the dictionary. When there seemed like there was nothing to write about, an old passion was rediscovered while a new one was brought to life. In the process of digesting National Dictionary Day, I found that my passion for writing could not be subdued by writer’s block. Learning about National Dictionary Day helped me discover what I’ve always done best: learn and engage. I guess my dad was right; writing about National Dictionary Day did in fact help my writer’s block and make me rediscover my love for writing and learning. I guess Daddy really does know best!

Read other articles by Alexandra Tyminski