5 Resourceful Ways to Overcome Writer's Block
Ah, my old enemy, we meet again. You tried foiling me in my attempts at this week’s blog, but I swear I will defeat you, writer’s block! We’ll see who has the last laugh. Here’s a hint: It’s gonna be me.
Seriously though, writer’s block can be intimidating. There’s just something about that white document and the little blinking cursor on your computer that can make writing seem hopeless. It’s almost like it’s taunting you, daring you to fill the pages. Everyone suffers from it at some point: bloggers, students in online degree programs, columnists, grade schoolers, etc. The question is: How do you overcome writer's block without causing brain damage (from hitting your head repeatedly on your desk)?
If you find yourself at a loss for words while writing your next paper for school, here are five tips to get you started on the road to overcoming writer's block:
1. Use Your Hands
If you’re like me, chances are you find yourself sitting with your hands on your keyboard willing them to type, well, anything. When they don’t move, you find yourself getting frustrated, which does nothing but irritate you further.
Rather than wishing for your hands to be Thing from The Addams Family, do something else with them. Doodle, garden, cook a gourmet meal, whatever. By finding something else to distract you for a bit, you’ll be able to come back to your paper with a clear mind.
2. Go Away
Working on a laptop? Grab it and go someplace else for a change of scenery. Sometimes mixing things up, even a little bit, is enough to recharge our inspiration batteries. Personally, I like moving to a coffee shop. That way, even if the set change isn’t enough, the caffeine buzz from my latte always helps.
Besides, if you’re writing a fictional piece for your English class, you never know what sort of inspiration you might get by people watching.
3. Talk It Through
You might think that in order to write, you need to lock yourself away from the rest of civilization. While this might be the case from time to time, you definitely don’t want to morph into Jack Torrance (creepy!) every time you write. A.) That’s a good way to get stuck, and B.) It’s rather inconvenient to relocate your whole family to the middle of nowhere for a writing assignment.
I’ve always found that discussing with others what you’re trying to write about is really helpful. It helps you talk through your topic and get feedback. Not only that, but you might find the perfect angle you’re looking for and get your writing mojo started again.
4. Hit Mute
We all have that little voice in the back of our heads, our inner “hater”, if you will, who tries to convince us of what we can’t do. When you’re suffering from writer’s block, this voice can sound like it’s in surround sound. Instead of cracking and listening to said hater, tell it to take a flying leap instead.
The easiest way to do this is by doing something that will lift your spirits. Personally, Mexican food and dancing around to cheesy 90s music solve a lot of problems for me, but you have to find what works for you. Once you’ve got the voice silenced, you can start again with a clear conscience.
5. Find Your Muse
Granted, your muses might not be as sassy as the ones from “Hercules”, but once you find something inspiring you won’t be able to wait to start writing again. How do you chase down the elusive muse? However you want, honestly. Read (articles, Facebook updates, books), take in an art gallery or watch television. Just do something.
Whether you go at it with a chisel (trying one of the above techniques), or with a jackhammer (using everything I gave you here, plus your personal arsenal), just know that you can break through your writer’s block. The quality of work you do from there on out is entirely up to you.
For further assistance with writing effective research papers and essays for your online degree program, learn more about the Grantham University Student Advising and Learning Center (SALC) by clicking here.
About the author: Lindsey Leesmann, Communications Specialist at Grantham University, received her Bachelor of Science – Print Journalism from Missouri State University, Springfield. Prior to her current role, she served as a student advisor in the Multidisciplinary Studies and master's degree programs.