Overcoming Writer’s Block When Writing Academic Essays
Writer’s block. It’s the worst, most dreaded feeling a student can ever get, and it happens far too often. Most of the time, our natural reaction is to procrastinate. The ideas aren’t coming and the words aren’t flowing. Putting it off seems like a great way to stay less stressed, and our eventual hope is to feel inspired when we return to the assignment. However, if students avoid papers because of writer’s block, it can only end up hurting them in the end. Rather than evade or dread projects that come with writer’s block, students should learn ways to manage and overcome those blocks. Writers around the world who need to overcome serious writer’s block use the following strategies. Try a few of them yourself, and see how your writing improves!
- Take breaks. Sometimes, students want to sit down and write as much as they can in one sitting. Not only will this completely overexert you, it will probably end up producing a poorly-written paper. You need to take mini breaks from your writing. This is not the same as procrastinating. Don’t put things off indefinitely; set a time limit. For example, take a ten minute break for every half hour of writing. Do something relaxing during your break; do some yoga, drink some tea or enjoy any other activity that works to lower your stress.
- Have a minimum writing schedule. If you’re 5-page paper is due in two weeks, consistently put aside a daily time to write. Maybe you’ll decide to write a paragraph every day; maybe 100 words. Whatever you do, set it up, and stick to it. Meet your own deadlines. You’ll find that having a set amount of writing will help you better push through tough writing blocks.
- Try doing other work simultaneously. Sometimes, writer’s block can be overcome by simply switching up the project. Working on your own book, a math assignment or any other academic project can help to refocus your mind. Working diligently on another project keeps your brain moving but not overwhelmed. It can also help to build your personal confidence and make you more willing and able to tackle writing again later. Even unrelated activities like building a model or painting a picture can help to refocus someone with writer’s block.
- Go back to your outlines and notes. Stuck in the middle of your writing? Go back to what got you started in the first place. A lot of students don’t regard their outline or research notes after they make them; this is a crucial error. Returning to those original facts and ideas can really help jump-start a brain stuck in writer’s block.
Posted by July 7th, 2016
Everyone has experienced writer’s block at some point in time – whether it’s while writing a college essay, a course research paper or a first-draft of a dissertation.
Whether or not writing comes naturally to you isn’t the issue – it happens to everyone and everyone needs to write something at some point in their academic career.
No matter what you’re writing about, writer’s block can literally put a roadblock in your path to success. Getting rid of it will help you continue your stream of productivity and allow you to move forward in your tasks.
Here are some helpful hints to utilize when trying to overcome writer’s block:
Create an Outline
Sometimes, you know what you want to say but don’t know how to say it. If you organize out your points in outline form, it’s much easier to fill in the blanks in between.
Divide your sections by topics or points, which will become your discussion paragraphs.
If you have any quotations you’d like to incorporate, add them to the relevant sections within the outline.
You can even add how you want to begin and end, so you’ll have everything laid out from start to finish.
Once you’re finished, you just need to add in wording to formulate clear thoughts, but all of the difficult work is already finished since you know what you’re going to say.
Stop Trying to Write
Walk away. Do something else that takes your mind off of trying to write.
It may be that your brain just needs a break and some time to recharge. There’s nothing wrong with stopping for a while and picking up where you left off after you’ve had a break.
Rest Your Brain
Maybe you’re tired. Maybe something else is on your mind. Whatever it is that’s blocking you clearly needs time, so let your mind work it out by resting and relaxing.
You can get back to writing when you’re recharged and the block has removed itself from the equation.
Do Something Creative
If you do something other than writing, but still creative, it’ll get your brain recharged in terms of creativity. It can help to inspire you and boost the writing process back into gear.
Have you ever needed to know something on cue? You may know it inside-and-out but, when it comes time to recite, you choke.
The same goes for writing. If you need to come up with something under pressure, it can hinder you speechless, so to speak.
While some people claim to write well under pressure, that’s likely not true for most people.
Avoid procrastinating so you have time to work through the writing process thoroughly, without pressure – if you can help it. If deadlines come into play, and you don’t have control over the situation, simply try another tip!
Write about Something Else
Just exercising writing – about your day, a story or anything else – will help get your brain into writing mode and help get you back on track.
Don’t Pressure Yourself
It’s not going to help if you put yourself down for having a block. It happens to the best of writers, so just take a break or try one of the above tips instead!
What helps you overcome writer’s block?
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