Writer’s block is something we are all familiar and struggle with. In fact, I feel like I’m experiencing it as I write this introduction. As students, we are expected to write reports and essays every term, so the ability to write efficiently is key to our success.
Here are some tips to change things up and help you overcome the writer’s block.
1. Use pen and paper.
Forget using the keyboard. Studies have shown that we engage different parts of our brain when we write by hand than when we type. With pen and paper, we are not distracted by social media or Buzzfeed. Bonus: When you type out what you write, you edit what you have written.
2. Use a distraction-free writing app.
As I’m writing this blog post, I’m using Calmlywriter Online with my browser on full-screen. My browser tabs disappear, and I’m left with a distraction-free writing screen. To make your browser full-screen, hit F11.
3. Write anything, even something unrelated to your topic.
Write something fun. Make up a story. Write about something that has been on your mind. Complain about your assignment. Write about why you shouldn’t have to do it or why it’s a waste of time. After 15 minutes, your writing gears should be greased for your actual assignment.
4. Make an outline.
Maybe you don’t even know what you are supposed to be writing…In that case, you shouldn’t start writing until you have a solid outline. Great writers spend at least 20% of their time brainstorming, taking notes, and plotting before they start writing.
5. Let yourself write really bad sentences. Don’t try to find the perfect words.
Say what you mean as best as you can. Just put down your thoughts. In fact, I dare you to write badly on purpose.
6. Get your blood flowing.
One of my favourite things to motivate myself is to do a small cleaning task. After sitting all day, I often feel lazy and unmotivated. By cleaning something, I wake up through the physical activity, plus I feel accomplished.
If cleaning is not your thing, you can do some jumping jacks or another enjoyable physical activity.
7. Talk to a classmate/friend about your topic.
We communicate more concisely when we talk than when we write. For some reason, writing causes us to convey ideas more complicated than we need to. Bounce ideas off of a classmate, and you will discover new angles to tackle your subject and great phrases to use in your writing.
8. Pretend you are writing to someone close to you.
The anxiety of being judged by your audience often causes writer’s block. Pretend you are writing to a close friend for your first draft. They won’t judge you.
9. Get a stack of sticky notes. Write a sentence on each one. Rearrange as you see fit.
Using sticky notes allows us to jump from idea to idea, freeing us from the linear structure of paper and the word processor. Besides, who doesn’t like to write on sticky notes?
10. Start at somewhere in the middle, or even the end!
Begin your writing with a section that you will find the easiest to write. When I wrote essays, my conclusions always turned out to be better introductions than my original introductions. Now, I always start with writing from my first point, and go back to the introduction later.
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