External Strategies to Improve Writing

By Zoey Rosen

Whether you love writing, hate it, or fall somewhere in between, the task of writing can sometimes feel like an insurmountable chore. There have been times where I was so into the paper I was writing that the hours clicked away, and it wasn’t until it was dark outside that I realized that so much time had passed. Later that same week, I had logged 7 long hours into another assignment and was still on the first page. While we cannot always choose what and when to write, there are ways we can make writing less awful.

  1. Find some music that will not distract you but will, instead, help you gear up for the task ahead.
    • Music is a proven mood-booster. Playing something that helps you focus or makes you feel more creative could help you get over that initial mental block that comes with starting an assignment.
  2. Light a good smelling candle reserved for writing.
    • Sense memory is a powerful tool to utilize with writing. You may begin to associate the familiar scent with writing, which could get you into the mood of writing faster and more efficiently. Plus, candles smell awesome, so everyone wins.
  3. Schedule rewards into your writing process.
    • Sometimes the only motivation you need is knowing that you have a good snack coming after this paragraph. A few gummy bears or apple slices can give you short-term or long-term energy that will ultimately help keep you writing.
  4. Take a break!
    • Writing is arduous when you make it so! Get up, stretch out, and shift your focus to something new for a few minutes. You might get the idea that connects your entire paper together when you’re simply outside for a few breaths of fresh air.
  5. Talk with others about what you’re writing.
    • In every major, your classmates and friends will have to write. Even if they are writing a different paper, it will help to discuss your ideas together. Talking through your plan will help you see what steps you have left and acknowledge all that you’ve already completed. Your friends could also ask some questions you had not considered and help bring some clarity to the end product. You might just do the same for them too!

You can make the most out of writing, even when it isn’t the first thing you want to do. Being aware of your writing process is extremely beneficial and can tell you what methods work to overcome writer’s block. Good luck, and happy writing!

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