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‘Cat in the Stacks: Working through Writer’s Block

 

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


 

I sit down to write this blog every week and often complain to my co-worker, and PATW author, Hunter (graphic representation below) about the difficulty of coming up with something original. My options are basically limitless: I can incorporate current events, new research, or what’s going on at the Falvey – and there are always exciting new events and promotions going on here.

Hunter celebrating being my co-worker.

Hunter celebrating being my co-worker.

This week, though, during those dog days of the semester, I prefer not to bore you with the over repetitive nature of current events. With your current workload, I’d rather not give you more challenging material to read, and, with everything you have going on, I won’t overload your social calendar with more excellent library events.

I’d like to write today, instead, about a shared emotion between us – writer’s block. I could, of course, take the easy way out and say, “This is a post about writer’s block because I simply have nothing to say this week!” Out of respect, however, I wouldn’t do that to you. Instead, I’d like to frame writer’s block as a metaphor for the feeling we all get around this time of the semester that arises from routine and repetition.

Writer’s block, in my opinion, extends beyond the page. In writing, we rely on the creative part of our brain to generate something new, exciting and engaging. When we write for a weekly column, or blog like this one, that creative part of the brain can get into a rut as you begin to produce similar things each week.

My own self-conceptualization of my writing process.

My own self-conceptualization of my writing process.

Writer’s block extends to the writing of one’s life story too, both as a professional and as a student. Every morning we’re offered the opportunity to write a new story – the creative non-fiction of April 5, 2017, for example. Sometimes though, we get caught up in the myriad responsibilities of day-to-day existence and forget to activate that creative part of the writing process.

On these days, in these instances, we’re feeling a type of writer’s block. We want to write that memorable story or intriguing narrative but have been lulled into a rut by the repetitive nature of our routines and schedules. The advice I’d like to give to remedy this situation is metaphorical and also the type of advice I’d like someone to give me from time to time.

The remedy for writer’s block – both types – is quite simple: read. While reading the books and other resources available at the library might help the actual writing process, e.g. what I’m doing right now, reading serves as a good metaphor for taking the moment to be inspired by those around you.

Even Will D. Cat finds time to read.

Even Will D. Cat finds time to read.

While we also offer opportunities for getting inspired here at the Falvey, such as Jennifer Haigh’s upcoming talk on April 20, finding inspiration can take place over all sorts of media. Whether it’s finding the blogger who inspires you to try new things, or the friend group that keeps you in constant admiration of each other’s accomplishments, these can all be meaningful readings that help you write an excellent life story both in general and through these long semester weeks.


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.

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Last Modified: April 5, 2017