Perhaps you have just started to sit down and write your assignment. Maybe it’s a literary analysis, research paper, or something for your creative writing class. Suddenly, your ideas just stop flowing. What do you do when you just can’t write anymore? You might have writers block. It’s a condition in which the writer loses the ability to produce new work, be it for an assignment or for their own creative purposes. Everyone gets writers block, including famous authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and even Charles Schultz. But hold up, there’s no need to freak out! Here are University of Houston Writing Center’s six tips to help you get through Writer’s block.
First, it’s a great idea to start early. When you start projects or assignments at the last minute and writer’s block hits, it can feel like a nightmare. We all procrastinate, but it is never a good idea. When you get the assignment, try to at least brainstorm or even make an outline the day it’s assigned. This way it’s still fresh in your mind. If nothing else, make a personalized goal list with deadlines to keep you on track. Start writing early and you could reduce a lot of stress on yourself.
Sometimes we hit writers block because we are missing key information. It’s a great idea to sometimes go back to the drawing board. Step back and take a look at what you are writing from a different point of view. You might need to go to the library to do more research or you might just need to go back and outline your thoughts. Even if an idea sounds bad, don’t be afraid to take a chance on it; it could lead you to an idea you wouldn’t have thought of before! When in doubt, look at the prompt and make sure you understand what is being asked of you. What are you attempting to accomplish, what the purpose is, and what the specific guidelines are. Confused? Ask your instructor or maybe make an appointment with the Writing Center.
Next, you will want to eliminate any distractions. Social media is fun but it can easily keep you from being focused while working. Make sure you only have what you need open on your computer. Sometimes a blank screen can be overwhelming. When this happens, try pulling out a sheet of paper and pencil and write from there first. Finding a quiet place to write might be difficult but it can also help. Remember that maintaining focus is crucial!
Still having trouble? Try taking a break! Sometimes our mind becomes overworked, and when we are over worked, we might not be as productive. Go for a walk, talk with friends, or have an impromptu dance party. Go to the gym and exercise or try some yoga poses and meditation. Relax; the ideas will come to you.
Did you know your brain is still active while you sleep? Next time you have trouble putting your thoughts to paper, try writing something right before you go to sleep. Your subconscious sometimes continues to mull these ideas over in your head. When you first wake up, your brain is refreshed and you might have a new idea for what you’re writing. Sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective.
Finally, remember to not panic. Everyone has writer’s block at some point in the process, and everyone has a different method for getting through it. Take a deep breath and relax because writer’s block doesn’t last forever. Remember that you have a variety of resources at your disposal, including your University of Houston Writing Center. Our consultants can help you tackle the frustrations of Writer’s block. All that’s needed is for you to make an appointment on our website. We’ll be waiting!