Writer’s block is an affliction that affects everyone who’s ever set pen to paper. Whether you’re a student who loves writing or finds it a loathsome chore, sooner or later, writer’s block will rear its ugly head.
The total lack of idea and direction can feel crippling. What do you do when confronted with this situation, especially when your essay’s due date is rapidly approaching? Well, there are lots of ways to work with and around writer’s block.
Here are some of the effective and true methods to get the words flowing again:
Make a list of 15 topics
Sometimes the actual writing of full, coherent sentences can just feel too overwhelming. In this case, you need to take a few steps back and work on getting your ideas flowing instead. If you’re stuck on a topic, sit down and make a list of 15 possible topics. They don’t have to all be useable. Have some fun and be silly. Anything to get the words and ideas flowing. You’ll be surprised at how many topics you’re able to come up with. And at least, one of them should be a workable one.
Great writers are also great readers. Reading someone else’s work will often inspire you to write something. So, take some time and read someone else’s work. It doesn’t have to be on your specific topic. A well-written essay on any topic can help guide you in your own approach.
Write something else
Maybe you’re stuck on this particular topic, but you have no trouble getting your other work done. So, put this essay on the back burner for now and work on your other assignments. Checking off smaller, less daunting projects from your list can help give you the confidence to tackle bigger tasks and break through your writer’s block.
Talk to someone about it
A conversation with a teacher, classmate or friend can help get the ball rolling. Writing is largely a process of thought organization. If you don’t have the initial thoughts to organize in the first place, then writer’s block is a likely result. Stimulate your thoughts with a conversation about the topic. Keep notes on the conversation and refer to them when you sit down to write.
Go for a walk
A walk can help improve brain function by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain. It can also allow you time to think and meditate on your subject without the pressure of a blank page in front of you. Walking also reduces stress. Stress is a huge brain function inhibitor as it restricts the blood vessels, thus blocking the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
Take the pressure off of the writing process by moving away from the computer. Sit silently and close your eyes. Take long deep breaths. Start to visualize your topic and begin to imagine the arguments you’ll make. If this is too much, simply visualize yourself sitting down at your desk and writing your essay. Imagine that you’re doing it effortlessly and with great ease and comfort. Do this visualization technique for 7-15 minutes.
Free-writing is a popular technique for writer’s block. The goal is to sit down and write without stopping to correct spelling and grammar and without filtering any thoughts. As you write, you start to free up your ideas and hopefully spark your creativity. Try free-writing for 15-20 minutes. Go back and read what you wrote and see if there are any interesting threads that you can turn into an essay.
Whatever technique you choose, remember that writer’s block happens to everyone once in a while. These exercises are designed to trigger your mind and free the flow of thoughts. Stay relaxed and let the processes lead you to your topic. Good luck and happy writing!