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.