Hello everyone! What are the haps? I’m here to show you guys a little writing tip that’s gotten me through some tough times. Namely, writing about elephants.

Everybody gets writer’s block. That’s just a thing that happens. It’s okay. Sometimes you just don’t know what to write about, and it feels like there’s just no way to fight through and get something done. So here’s my tip:

Write about elephants.

I know it sounds kind of silly, and it is. The basic logic here is that once you’ve started writing about one thing, it becomes easier to write about another.

So you’re in the middle of a short story, and you aren’t sure what your character should do next? Introduce an elephant. Your father and son character aren’t resolving their issues? Make them fight an elephant. Make them befriend an elephant. Let the elephant lead in to the next part of your story, and then cut the elephant out later when you know what needs to happen.

This works for papers too. Imagine that you’re writing a history paper about the Han dynasty, but you don’t really know what to discuss next. What were elephants getting up to way back when? Were there any elephants in China? Well, what would have been different if there had been? What political and economical elements would have changed if there were elephants running around in ancient China? Do your research, form an argument about elephants, and let that lead into an discussion of ancient China. Let the elephants force you to consider the paper from another perspective.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be elephants. The point here is to get you writing about anything, whether it be ferrets or balloons or oranges. The easiest way to cure writer’s block is to just let yourself go off on a tangent about something (and then cut the tangent out later). Remember, so long as you’re writing, you’re working past that block. You can get back to your main point later.

-Rachel

This post was originally published on April 10, 2014.

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