Editor's Note: Writer's Block...


Deputy MUSE Editor, Emily Harvie on struggling to come up with new ideas in lockdown.

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Image by Emily Harvie

By Emily Harvie

Sitting down to write this Editor’s Note I can’t help but feel that I haven’t got the words to express what I want to say. Sorry to start off so pessimistic but writer’s block has been one of the symptoms I have experienced while in the depths of Lockdown part three. Nouse’s TWN is now on its 17th edition and I cannot be more proud of what we have been able to accomplish despite the limitations of the pandemic. I admire how each section continues to bring up new ideas for each edition but I know I am not the only one who has been struggling. Creating a new edition each week does take its toll but the team continues to work hard to produce quality content. On the flip side, I find myself here, writing and rewriting over and over in the hopes I miraculously conjure up something better next time.

Rather than sitting here in front of an empty screen I have decided to embrace my empty brain and write about the very thing that is preventing me from writing. I am sure that most of us have experienced writer’s block and if anyone else is like me, when you're deep into the middle of term, with formative essays and dissertation work coming out of your ears, it can be difficult to sit down and write about something FUN just for once.

Yet, it seems that the rest of our team are still going strong and are bringing us so much great content to this week’s edition. News Editor  Emily Hewat is taking a look at the life of Anne Lister, Lesbian landowner and diariest for Muse’s Features. Over in music, our Music Editor Kristina Wemyss is bringing us an interview with Nathan Evans about his viral Tiktok sea shanties, and in Food and Drink our editors Charlotte Lear and Daniel Swift are bringing us some Lockdown Cocktails which I can’t wait to try out (Charlotte’s Capri Sun cocktail has been on my mind all week!).

If you have been struggling to write like me, it can feel like you’re going round in circles trying to find something interesting to say. My advice is quite simple but hopefully, effective: word vomit. It may sound counterintuitive but nothing helps me more than forcing myself to write continuously for about fifteen to twenty minutes, getting my thoughts laid out in front of me, to help me examine what’s going on in my head. Even if most of it ends up being discarded and forgotten, most of the time there are hints of a gem to be found amongst the dirt.

Other things you can try are keeping something to use to write down your thoughts. Whether this be a full on journal or just the notes app on your phone, I find these can be useful to return to when I need a new idea or just to reflect on what I have been thinking about recently.

What writer’s block has taught me this term is that it’s a hurdle which is tough to jump but the lead up is always the worst. Thinking and worrying about the feeling that I have nothing to say makes me dread sitting down in front of my notebook or laptop but whenever I finally do, I find the words will always come. Even if it feels like you’re dragging them out of your head, or even if the first few attempts feel like you are not getting anywhere, once you get over that first hurdle, the rest is just a sprint finish.