Additional Tools for Overcoming Writer’s Block

By: Greta Ochsner

Since most college students will struggle with writer’s block at some point during their university studies, we cooked up more tips for combating it. Common signs of writer’s block include but are not limited to staring at a blank Word document for more than five minutes or reading a prompt and feeling bewildered. Let’s face it, sometimes writing can seem like quite a daunting task, even to well-practiced writers. It’s important to have a game plan for those days when you just can’t seem to express your ideas in writing, so here are ten additional tips to remedy the condition.

  • Change your Scenery: Sometimes, writing at home can be distracting. Packing up, and heading to a nearby library or coffee shop can lead to more productive writing. Writing in a new place can also teach you how to not focus on distractions.
  • Make a Mess: The writing process typically isn’t neat and tidy. Don’t become intimidated by trying to use perfect grammar, just start putting ideas on paper. Maybe a zero draft is what you need to get started.
  • Turn off the WiFi: The Internet can be a tempting distraction, especially when you have an essay to write. Often, it’s more productive to spend a few hours without the option of scrolling through Facebook, or checking emails.
  • Write About Something Else: This may seen counterintuitive, however, writing about a topic you’re interested in can help generate creativity that can lead to answering the assigned writing prompt.
  • Drink Tea/Coffee: Being a college student and having plenty of sleep don’t usually go hand in hand. Caffeine, when used moderately, can give you the wakeful feeling you need to write productively.
  • Skip a Section: No requirement states you must start the writing process with the introduction or even a thesis statement. In fact, drafting body paragraphs first can lead to a stronger introduction or thesis in the end.
  • Listen to Music: Listening to music without lyrics may help you focus on your writing and drowned out distractions. Some websites offer playlists specifically for studying or writing.
  • Read: Reading or re-reading class materials can often provide inspiration for writing, especially if the writing assignment is related to a specific text.
  • Rehearse the Writing: Writer’s block often leads to procrastination, but if we use that time thinking about what we want to write, then we can still be productive. After a few rehearsals, the writer’s block should evaporate.
  • Visit the Writing Center: If you’d like more tips for overcoming writer’s block, or would like to discuss your brainstorming ideas with another writer, set up a consultation with a Writing Center consultant.

Writer’s block is a familiar struggle even for veteran writers. Although writing can sometimes seem like an impossible task, peer-to-peer help is always beneficial. Whether using one of the strategies listed above, or discussing new methods for productive writing, it’s important to talk to friends and peer-writing consultants in order to develop your writing skills.

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