Cracking Writer’s Block

It’s time we set the record straight on writer’s block. The purpose of this week’s semi-regular treatise is to announce banishment of the phrase from my vocabulary.

Honestly, I’m a little nervous about severing all ties with the concept. For years, it’s served me well as a reliable excuse for not being more productive in my writing.

But, it has to go.

Mind you, I’m not arguing that writer’s block does not exist. Perhaps Edgar Allan Poe occasionally suffered from writer’s block (among other maladies!). Or Kurt Vonnegut. Probably even [insert your favorite writer here.] The problem with acknowledging writer’s block, for some of us, is that it serves as a too-convenient excuse for not writing. Make no mistake – writing is hard work. It’s no wonder we put it off. But I’m not sure the block is so much a “writing” thing as a “human being” thing.

Don’t we all occasionally block out those things we don’t want to deal with? As some of you know, I have procrastinated in cleaning my office for several years now. Sorry – I’ve been meaning to get to it. The problem is, it’s a big job and I’m not sure where to start. Could I be suffering from office cleaner’s block? Uh, no…

For me, dispensing with the concept of writer’s block is an honest realization that writing is hard and is probably always going to be. Yet, write we must. Frankly, there is too much confusion and misinformation surrounding food, agricultural and environmental issues today for us not to communicate with others about it. That is, in fact, what agricultural communicators do! While all forms of communication have their place, the written word still represents one of the best ways to tell our story.

We must also write for ourselves. Can you think of any other single activity that simultaneously clarifies your thoughts, allows you to express yourself, sharpens your creativity, and supports the First Amendment? If writing is anything, it’s multi-tasking.

I now encourage you to scribble and share your thoughts on the matter. Have you discovered any techniques to help tap creative energy and crack writer’s block? I’d like to hear about your writing experiences, good or bad, and I think other readers would, too.

Meantime, if you’ll excuse me, I really must tidy up this office.

~ Mark Tucker, Coordinator, Agricultural Communication


Another Year, Another Chapter!

In my opinion, each academic year is considered a chapter in our program. It’s easy to apply this notion to the seniors who officially exited Purdue University as a graduate two days ago. They are now moving on with a drastically different lifestyle than they’ve known for the last four (maybe five) years. No longer will they come to our office with questions of course scheduling and internship opportunities. Rather, they are entering careers or graduate school with personal aspirations that no longer revolve around life on this campus. Therefore, I wish the very best to Ariel, Arlene, Audrie, Bethany, Chelsea, Christy, David, Elise, and Shelby!! Your futures are bright and the legacy you leave in AgComm is irreplaceable.

With that said, one class now leaves, but there are still three others that have just closed their respective chapters for the year. Is that a legitimate statement to make since they will be returning in the fall? I offer up an emphatic “Yes!” The reason is because as I watch each of these students move through the AgComm program, checking off requirements and taking advantage of internships and study abroad opportunities, I recognize a marked growth and change with all of them at the end of the academic year. They are building the framework for their future, each with his/her unique style and taste.

I love witnessing moments of intense enthusiasm when a student recognizes his/her true potential, or lands a premiere internship position. Yes! Now, that is what it’s all about. Each chapter leads to a sturdier framework that offers a deeper passion for their preferred niche in agriculture, as well as a greater level of professionalism to future employers.

A chapter marks the start of another great journey… and I truly look forward to seeing how our 40+ stories continue to unfold.

~ Abigail Borron, Academic Advisor