How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Few things scare students or writers more than writer’s block.  And, of course, writer’s block shows up at the worst times.  There’s nothing like an impending deadline to bring on a severe case of writer’s block.  Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had two major writing projects due.  I couldn’t afford to lose valuable time by simply staring at the screen.  In order to avoid getting stuck while writing, I have a few tricks that I use.  In today’s post, I’ll share my suggestions for how to overcome writer’s block.

Photo credit: photosteve101

There are many different ways to kick writer’s block to the curb.  These are my five go to approaches when I’m stuck.

For Spring Break, Take a Break

Do you remember when we didn’t have email or work following us around 24-7?  Boy, those were the days!  It seems these days we are lucky to have a break for a few hours much less a few days.  Although not everyone gets spring break off (I’m sorry my hard working staff colleagues), most faculty do not have obligations during spring break.  Many of us see spring break as a chance to catch up and get some writing done.  I know because I used to do that.  Hello, my name is Michael and I have a hard time taking a break from work.  Yet, this year I’ve declared that I won’t be a slave to my office or my email on spring break.  You’ll have to read to the end of the post to find out what I’m doing.  That’s what they call in the business a tease…

I firmly believe it has never been harder to take a break from work.  The faculty schedule is a double-edged sword.  You have few required times that you have to work, but that also means work is free to intrude on any time.

We all need a break from work.  This isn’t something that would be nice or something to do when we have the time.  We need to make the time.

Without taking a break, our work suffers and we produce less.  I don’t know about you, but working longer hours and producing less doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time.

I believe the reason to work on productivity is so we can be more productive in our working hours allowing us to enjoy guilt free time off.

In the past, I would have spent all spring break week in the office responding to emails, doing administrative work, and writing.  I would get a great deal done, but a couple of weeks later my productivity would drop as I get tired from keeping up with the regular semester pace.

When thinking about time, quality over quantity rules the day.  If I can get plenty of sleep, get away from work, and enjoy a quiet spring break, the quality of my productivity upon my return will more than make up for a few lost days in the office.

I encourage you to take a few days off.  Play with your kids.  Enjoy the outdoors.  Or just get some spring cleaning done.

Whatever you do, stay away from work for at least a few days.  Your future self will thank you!

And now for the reveal…. what am I doing to take my own advice?  For spring break, my wife and I are heading to St. Lucia for a week away without the kids, email, or work.  The picture above is what the view from our room will look like.  I scheduled this post before I left as well as Thursday’s so you can still get your Higher Ed Professor fix.  But right now, I’m enjoying a quiet, tech-free zone.

Not only will the week away be a nice vacation, but I believe it will help me be more productive for the rest of the semester than an extra week’s worth of work.

Understanding the challenges that led Sweet Briar College to close

One of the most significant stories in recent years within higher education is the closing of Sweet Briar College.  While small colleges do struggle and close, Sweet Briar’s closing is somewhat unusual because the institution still had a sizable endowment.  Yet, officials determined that with an inevitable outcome that the best course of action was an orderly shutdown.  But how did we get here?  What are the challenges facing Sweet Briar College?

Sweet Briar’s leadership cited a declining interest in women’s colleges and liberal arts colleges as a major problem for the institution.  In addition, they believed today’s students are less inclined to attend rural institutions.

The Power of Typecasting: Lessons from Mr. Spock

I grew up a fan of Star Trek.  As a kid, I loved the action and adventure.  As an adult, I loved the powerful messages told through the action and adventure.  Last week, Leonard Nimoy who played the iconic Mr. Spock died.  I have so many memories growing up watching Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise crew.  In many ways, I think Nimoy and Spock were both among the most complicated characters in the Star Trek universe, which also accounts for how much both actor and character were beloved.  However, Nimoy held a love/hate relationship with the character largely as a result of the power of typecasting.

Nimoy had a hard time separating himself and his career from the character of Spock.  He even wrote a book in 1975 entitled, “I am not Spock.”