September has vanished. A new month is here, and your acclimation process is almost complete. The syllabus, the introductions, gathering of supplies, and lectures have eased you in gradually. The transition from carefree summer days to solitary homework captivity starts now. Your prison sentence runs until the middle of December. Take heart knowing that your friends and family are waiting for you on the outside. They care for you very much.

Your warden–er Your professor will inevitably assign you the task of doing a paper, or a writing assignment. Perhaps copy for an advertisement, or even a blog.

The process of writing can be an arduous endeavor. The biggest hurdle to surmount is writer’s block. At this point, you probably have an idea about what you’re going to write about. Maybe you’ve been asked to write body copy for a hypothetical chimney sweep service.

Whatever the project, hopefully some of these tips can be of use to you.

#1 Hello, Me! What’s with the leashed canary?

Just as a quick aside, I recall a class discussion in which the topic of required courses was raised. Many students went on to say they had no value to their major. In their opinion, they were pointless and/or a waste of money. For me, I have attempted to immerse myself in classes relevant to my major. I have taken a variety of writing courses at Temple, in hopes of being more dynamic in the task of writing copy. From each one of your required classes, I assure you that you can take something from it and apply it to your major. If you plan on writing copy, try taking a creative writing course to fill out that writing intensive requirement.

This first method I’m sharing with you comes from a creative writing mindset, and I find that it works every time.

Take a sheet of paper out, and start a conversation between two people in a room. The setting ultimately materializes as the conversation goes further. A conflict of some sort will likely take place between your two characters, and out of this, fun new ideas and concepts blossom. Works like a charm!

#2 Draft it Out

The most important step to writing is pre-writing. Most people make the mistake of diving right in without a proper idea of what they’re going to say. Just keep drafting. Take this time to also make a bubble map. Keep branching ideas from previous ones, and eventually it will all be mapped out in front of you.

#3 Write about something else

If you’re writing an ad, your goal is to persuade someone into making a purchase. If you’re having trouble writing about the current product, try writing about something you would like to be writing about. Maybe your dog. Try selling your dog on paper like he’s a product. Pitch his benefits, his unique features, and why he or she is better than other dogs. This helps two-fold. You’re not only giving yourself a break from the writing that’s giving you a headache, but you’re also using elements that can be beneficial in breaking through said writing problem.

Remember to have fun with whatever you’re doing! I hope your writing projects this semester go without a hitch. If you stumble, keep in mind these fun little exercises, and you’ll persevere.

Now, is anyone in the market for a little white shih-tzu? He’s got the cutest under-bite…

– Dave Corbin
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