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Why do people get writer's block?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by Muhammed, 05.12.14.

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  1. Muhammed

    Muhammed SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    I am curious why so many people get writer's block when they are writing their personal statements?
     
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  3. kyamh

    kyamh 2+ Year Member

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    Because more people who have to write personal statements for medical schools are perfectionists ;)

    Best advice I ever got: don't be afraid of writing something truly awful, at least then you have some words on a page to work with.
     
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  4. DK2014

    DK2014

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    Because it is hard to write professionally.
     
  5. terp720

    terp720 2+ Year Member

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    all the above, and because some people find it hard to write about themselves and actually find the best way to say what they want to
     
  6. NontradCA

    NontradCA American Hero 2+ Year Member

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    I'm desperate at my desk
    If I could just get the rest of this **** off my chest, Again
    Stuck in this slump, Can't think of nothing
    ****, I'm stumped, Oh, Wait, Here comes something, nope!

    It's not good enough, scribble it out
    New pad, crinkle it up, and throw this **** out
    I'm fizzling out, thought I figured it out
    Ball's in my court but I'm scared to dribble it out
     
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  7. Underu

    Underu 2+ Year Member

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    People get writer's block because they envision the entire statement as one large piece that has to be done over a long period of time. The average person won’t be able to hold this entire thing in the mind and analyze it at once, so it becomes a very daunting prospect to even start something you can’t imagine. This is why outlining is so important. Simply throwing down bullet points, or summarizing the main ideas will help make what you need to do more digestable.

    When you think of an essay, don’t think of it as one monolithic text wall (worry about making it cohesive in future drafts), but think of it as a few key arguments you have to order in a certain sequence. Once you are aware of what your main points are, don’t think “I need this essay done in 2 months,” but instead “I need this first paragraph done this week.” Small goals will make the final product seem less daunting.

    Introductions give people (and me) a lot of trouble, because they are generally the most critical and memorable part of a good essay. The trouble is identifying the best intro right away; it’s virtually impossible. Once again, drafting is key. Throw down a couple of introductions, find out which ones are cheesy and which ones are boring, and streamline the best one. Again, it’s hard to work when all the ideas are bouncing around in your head, so write a couple and choose the best one. A perfect essay is impossible, but a very good one is plausible.
     
  8. type12

    type12 2+ Year Member

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    The same reason people say they will start going to the gym and eat less - then don't.
     
  9. moop

    moop 1K Member Banned Account on Hold

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    Also because people think an essay or paper is written in the order it's read: intro, body conclusion. Trying to write an intro without having written anything else is ludicrous; that's not how it should work. Throw down what the body is first, then write the conclusion, and then do the intro that introduces the written essay the most effectively.
     
  10. solitarius

    solitarius 5+ Year Member

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    Because readers have higher expectations than listeners.
     
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  11. NorthernMav

    NorthernMav 2+ Year Member

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    Personally, I get writer's block because I have the vocabulary of a 6th grader.
     
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  12. caffeinemia

    caffeinemia 2+ Year Member

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    May I please make a personal plug here? I've actually attempted to compose a guide on writing statements. It's probably more systematic, detailed, and specific to medical school applications than you'll ever find at any of your college career counseling offices:

    medisdabest.blogspot.com.

    To be perfectly blunt: I've read through 500+ statements over the last 5 years. 90% of y'all suck for a number of reasons:

    1) No one taught you how to systematically analyze and answer the question - why do I deserve to be a doctor.
    2) Y'all write like you talk. You don't think about where to put commas when you talk, do ya? That's why it comes out with the legibility of retardation.
    3) Y'all think a personal statement is a television drama. No one wants to read House, MD.
     
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  13. Frostbite22

    Frostbite22 Iraq Lobster

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    I am currently helping students locally in an English class and most really struggle with writing. They keep focusing on an awesome first sentence or a catchy intro paragraph. For me it always helps to just vomit words all over the page. Once I get my main idea on paper then I can go back and edit it to not sound like a 4 year old wrote it.
     
  14. gonnif

    gonnif Only 1425 Days Until Next Presidential Election Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    start with the truth for yourself without regard to who you think may read it, what you think they want to hear, or whether you think it is any good.

    Maybe most of it will be tossed, but if you get a germ or two of truth, of sincerity, you can edit and build. Assume you are going to need 3 or 4 edits before it is even in some shape, have other people read it, then have another 3 or for drafts.

    BTW, the one of the hardest PS I had to edit and help with for weeks was from a former journalist who simply could write full length feature articles but completely froze when writing about herself
     
  15. DifferentialDiagnosis

    DifferentialDiagnosis

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    I personally don't believe in writers block, mostly because during AP Exam essays you usually have to hit the ground running regardless of that "block." I only feel blocked when I really just don't want to write an essay.
     
  16. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero 2+ Year Member

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    Yes, but AP exam essays are SUPER formulaic...you can't really go wrong on them. Plus, they know you're writing in a time crunch.
    The difficult thing is tricking your brain into thinking you have a time crunch (get this done NOW) when it knows you have 6mo.
     
  17. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

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    Because they don't know the writers maxim:

    Write drunk, edit sober.
     
  18. moop

    moop 1K Member Banned Account on Hold

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    Lol you're joking right? You're using APs as an example? Lmao that's not writing. It's regurgitating. Maybe terrible writing at best. C'mon, man, get a grip
     
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  19. DifferentialDiagnosis

    DifferentialDiagnosis

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  20. DifferentialDiagnosis

    DifferentialDiagnosis

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    Whoops. Phone messed up. And yes, I do realize they're different (AP Is a lot easier) and I do agree that the time crunch is a deciding factor.
    However, writing 30 minute essays did prepare me for writing the essays I've written in college, and most of the time if I know enough about the subject and I have a close enough due date I sit and write without any writers block.
    But that's just me. I procrastinate though, so it might just be the time constraint that makes it work for me.
     
  21. moop

    moop 1K Member Banned Account on Hold

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    Depends on what you're writing as well. Argumentative, no bull**** kind of writing like APs required are one of the easier things to write. An umbrella term for "essays" doesn't tell us much about the potential for writer's block. Analytical narrative? Philosophical argument? Literature review? Self-reflective writing?

    OP's mention of writer's block during PS drafting clearly falls into the last category (and creative writing in general) is by far one of the hardest things to write. Way different from any sort of academic paper that most people write in college. It's no wonder top English departments like Yale offer a full seminar on "Writing about Oneself" (Writing about Oneself). It's tough, and writer's block is thus no surprise.
     
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  22. nvlorenzai

    nvlorenzai

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    so it becomes a very daunting prospect to even start something you can’t imagine.[​IMG]
     
  23. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

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    You realize that a PS is challenging because you essentially have one page to make your life experiences and goals resonate with a total stranger. There are no 'facts' here to base your argument around. You can't really use your resume as a guide, though you can pull experiences from it. To sound overly sentimental, your PS is you trying to put yourself into a neat little 5300 character box and go, "I have to be brutally honest with myself. I have to balance my experience with my interest and not sound like a total dick while doing so."

    It's certainly not the hardest thing in the world, but comparing it to an exercise of fact regurgitation is cute at best.
     

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