Professor Pedantic 教授的考究學問
The professor awaits your query on academic writing, though in all honesty, he doesn’t have a lot of time for you. He is a tenured full professor and working on yet another magnificent academic tome. Even so, he has graciously consented to entertain your question. Submit it and prepare to be edified.

QUESTION: I generally enjoy writing papers assigned by my professor, regardless of the subject. But sometimes I get so hung up on a word or a section that I can’t go on. What is the best way to overcome writer’s block or whatever you want to call a sudden inability to write?

Most writer’s block is easily overcome by momentarily quitting. It’s that simple. Of course, professional writers on deadline—and students who have procrastinated working on an assignment—can’t step away from a writing project for long. Yet giving the right side of the brain some rest now and then tends to revive it. Straighten up the room or wash dishes instead, go jogging, watch a Lady Gaga music video. Let your thoughts wander down less disciplined lanes. Then sit again at your desk and see if your brain hasn’t regained its capacity to breach a barrier.

If the micro-vacation hasn’t recharged you, stronger measures are required. A first one is to determine if the fault lies with your brain or with the material it is being called upon to process. If you are trying to communicate a murky thought in writing that is so turgid that your brain can’t follow it, this tells you all you need to know: Start over. Clarity of thought and clarity of expression work in tandem. When an argument is clear in your mind, writing it clearly is easy. While subsequent word choices still may be difficult, they shouldn’t block the way

One other impediment to the flow of copy onto a page is plain old stubbornness. A writer sometimes will fall in love with a word, or a phrase, sometimes with an entire idea, and refuse to relinquish it even though it leads nowhere. The word or phrase or idea might, in fact, be a perfectly beautiful one. Yet if it interrupts or entirely blocks the writing process, it clearly is the wrong word or phrase or idea for that moment. Eliminate it. Delete as far back as necessary to get a clean start on another word or phrase or idea. It is the only way to get moving ahead.

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