Blog Column: 

Two years ago, I had a paper that just wasn't coming together. I would write a page or so, delete it, write a new page, delete it, and so on. With the deadline looming, I decided to try out the Writing Center in the library for last-minute help pulling this paper together. 

The writing tutor I met with was super helpful. Before anything, she asked me to read the paper aloud to her. It sounds so simple, but taking a moment to slow down and read what I had written a little more carefully really helped me. Then, we went back and looked at the prompt again and broke it up into smaller, more manageable sections. Overall, the tutor didn't drastically edit my paper or tell me what to do, but she helped me start thinking about it in a more productive way. "And don't be afraid to put this down and come back to it in a few hours," she said before I left. That was probably the best advice!

Two years later....I still struggle with writer's block. Right now I'm taking a memoir writing class, and every time I sit down to get started I can't seem to be able to think of anything. Last week, after an hour of work on my memoir yielded one tiny paragraph, I decided to take the tutor's advice and put the writing aside for a while and come back to it. In the meantime, I made pizza! I chose to make a white pizza with olive oil and garlic instead of tomato sauce. The spinach, squash, and goat cheese on top were really good, too. 

There's definitely a difference between productive and unproductive breaks. Cooking, walking, and running are all study breaks that help me get back to my work with a clearer head. (A nap or a Frasier marathon on Netflix, though, don't really have that same effect.) In this case, rolling out dough, chopping vegetables, and grating cheese was great busy work, and after taking a little time off I felt ready to go back to my assignment. 

I still have another 10-15 pages to go with my memoir, so hopefully it will be smoother sailing going forward! If not, at least there'll be more pizza to look forward to.

Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Spinach Pizza

  • 1/2 pound pizza dough
  • 1 cup cubed butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Arrange the butternut squash pieces on a cooking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes, until completely cooked. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet and add the garlic and spinach, cooking and stirring until the spinach is wilted. Take off of the heat, and roll out the pizza dough. Pour the olive oil, garlic, and spinach mixture over the dough, then arrange the butternut squash pieces on top. Finally, add the crumbled goat cheese to the pizza. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes. 

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