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Medic, Please!


Writer’s block and procrastination is so real, it’s emotional.

Many law students, as well as students in other writing intensive disciplines, suffer from the two biggest “mental disorders”: procrastination and writer’s block. Writing takes a great toll on students. Whether writing an analytical, data inundated report, a one page memorandum or a legal appellate advocacy brief, the effects can be brutal for students. But we all survive, and it always gets done (sometimes a little bit past the due date). The road taken to reach the end often feels excruciating for students and the light at the end of the tunnel seems rather dim, but we get the job done when it counts most.

There is no one uniform treatment to these “disorders,” but sometimes finding the root of the problem or identifying the symptoms helps to mend the collateral damage. Fear of failure is often the root; being immensely overwhelmed by the assignment is another cause; and/or convincing yourself that the assignment is so simple it can be done in a matter of minutes is yet another explanation. However, the attitude of “that’s simple, I’ll do it later in five minutes” generally results in those five minutes turning into five hours or more and likely into the wee hours of the morning.

Purdue Online Writing Lab compiled a vigorous list of symptoms of these disorders and provides helpful, practical possible cures. Amongst some of the possible symptoms:

You have attempted to begin a paper without doing any preliminary work such as brainstorming or outlining…

You’re self-conscious about your writing; you may have trouble getting started. So, if you’re preoccupied with the idea that you have to write about a subject and feel you probably won’t express yourself well…

You are so stressed out you can’t seem to put a word on the page… (

If any of these apply to you, you the reader, please visit the website and seek help immediately! Also, there is one more potential cure that is not listed amongst the others on this site: write more often. When you are forced to write out your thoughts on a more consistent basis the idea of sitting in front of a computer and spitting out initial thoughts is not as bad as you may perceive. When you have an intense writing assignment, rather than waiting to last minute, break the paper into sections and explain the core of the paper and determine what it is the reader is supposed to walk away knowing after reading your work. Take your time, but make sure to do it in time.

– Signed Procrastinator/Writer’s Block Club President.

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