Ever tried to search or retrieve information or write but couldn’t do so? That’s it! That’s writer’s block you probably experienced. Writer’s block is a fairly common phenomenon that has plagued students and authors for quite a long time.
As mentioned above, writer’s block pertains the challenge of not being able to write due to lack of ideas/information. But, there is an emotional aspect that writer’s block has – the suffering resulting from the inability to write. How does it feel when you have an essay assignment, but have no idea on how to handle it? Awesome, right? Just kidding! The feeling is exhausting and no one’s loves it.
Unfortunately, the phenomenon of writer’s block is unlikely to come to an end. At one point, you will still experience it – at that time, writing will be one hell of a task.
Nonetheless, there are ways through which you can effectively avoid or overcome writer’s block. This article gives you proven ways through which you can overcome writer’s block – still, you can use these methods to improve the quality of your essay.
Before exploring the various ways of overcoming writer’s block, it is important to understand the nature of the phenomenon as well as its causes. In doing so, you will be able to have a much better comprehension of how to overcome it.
Nature of Writer’s Block
When you have a writing task, the one thing that comes into your mind is expectation. The awareness of the expectation(s) is in itself a hindrance to writing. For instance, if you have an essay assignment due in a few hours, it is highly likely that realizing that you ought to deliver the essay within a short time will make you anxious and confused.
No one can write while confused or anxious! This is because the anxiety and confusion create a mind gap in which you are more worried about not knowing what and how to write your essay; the topic of your essay; how to meet the required word count; what ideas to include in the paper and so forth than concentrating on essay writing process.
The mind gap may be short-lived or may persist resulting in writer’s block. In this case, the cause of the writer’s block is external. Causes can also be internal such as perfectionism and self-criticism. More of causes of writer’s block later.
Despite the cause of writer’s block, the phenomenon occurs in a similar scenario – a mind gap that hinders effective writing. This mind gap is solved by getting ideas on what your paper will entail and knowledge of how to articulate them.
The ideas can be intrinsic, in which case a writer remembers them by engaging in effective strategies for information retrieval. Alternatively, ideas can be extrinsic whereby you research, read and comprehend information. Critical reading approach is necessary in order to get relevant ideas. Excellent research skills are also indispensable in identifying crucial ideas to help you while writing.
To effectively overcome writer’s block, you should ensure that you use a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic ideas. You have to control your ability to remember what you have learnt in class or other areas as well as draw information from other sources. Synthesizing information from your memories and that from sources will help you avoid chances of writer’s block – but that does not mean that you won’t experience it.
Causes of Writer’s Block
As you saw earlier, writing is associated with some level of anxiety. As a student, you are mainly worried about your performance in the essay task. You may also have concerns if you don’t understand your essay assignment instructions, have numerous writing tasks to hand in or you are short on time.
For other writers, they are worried about the quality of their book, article or so forth and if it will be perceived to meet their standard of writing.
Whichever challenge you are facing, there is an element of fear. This fear is a two edged sword – it can make you be keen on your writing and hence deliver quality or else compromise on your ability to write. In the latter case, fear makes you worry and panic about writing which makes it even more difficult to write. Anxiety is often counter-productive for a writer. It’s like you have some sort of stage flight – only that it is imaginary.
In writing, you are either concerned about the paper meeting instructions of your assignment, or for other writers, having a material that your audience considers to be worth reading. As such, every writer wants to produce perfect work even before they have started.
This problem can result from having a perfect mental picture of your end product. The idea is so perfect that every time you start writing, what you write does not seem to meet the already visualized standard. This makes you delay or even not to start writing.
Effective writing depends on having relevant, strong and convincing points. Not understanding the instructions of your essay assignment is likely to cause confusion. In such a case, you will not be certain on how to handle your writing task nor have ideas on how to complete it.
This cause is mainly among students whose work primarily depends on some given instructions. Nonetheless, other writers can also be uncertain in case there are set expectations to be met. For instance, in the case of a novel, an author may be too worried that their novel lacks aspects such as creativity, or is of lower quality than their recent publication that gained massive public attention.
Similar to fear, confusion is counter-productive. You definitely don’t want to be confused while writing!
- Lack of Prioritization
This cause brings about the aspect of time and good writing practices. An example is when you forget or don’t work on your essay early enough. The last minute rush typing your essay may be accompanied by panic and failure to have a well set plan on how to handle your essay. To make matters worse, halfway writing your paper, you realize you lack sufficient information or ideas to complete your essay.
Are you one of those wondering how to can complete an essay assignment having worked on it halfway? This probably explains your situation. However, if before you start your essay you plan based on the page or word count and give yourself sufficient time for writing, it is unlikely that you will have a prioritization issue, and hence, experience a writer’s block.
For other authors, there is a time-value attached to some ideas. It might simply be the wrong time to start writing possibly because your ideas need more improvement and drafting.
- Poor Organizational Skills
Effective writing requires that you have an idea of how your final draft will look like. A great deal in excellent writing skills lies on having effective organizational skills.
How well you organize your work will determine how often you experience writer’s block and if you meet your word or page count comfortably. More so, good organizational culture plays a crucial role in enhancing the coherence of your final draft, and hence, its general quality.
These are the major causes of writer’s block. There are more factors that can hinder your ability to writer effectively. For instance, poor health, self-criticism and lack of creativity can cause writer’s block.
Effective Ways to Vanquish Writer’s Block
There are various ways through which you can overcome writer’s block. These strategies are not independent but rather work in a synergy to vanquish writer’s block.
- Understand Your Writing Habits
Each person has peculiar characteristics. As pertains to writing, one should understand their writing habit and take advantage of it. For instance, some people claim to write better when listening to music, others in a serene environment or when socializing.
When and where do you write best? What’s the effective manner that you approach writing? For how long do you write effectively? Which lighting suits your writing environment? These are just some of the questions that can help you to understand your writing habit.
Once you have understood your writing habit, take advantage of it. Write in conditions, environment and at times that suit you. It is also advisable to have a routine for writing.
Think about your writing requirement, goals and/or expectations. Do some preliminary research, skim through the sources and do some free writing afterwards. Further, think on changes that can be made on the draft or outline you got when free writing.
Brainstorming will help you create a mental picture of how to approach your writing task – this is different from setting expectations (grades, sale volumes etc.). In this case, you are creating a mental process through which you will meet the goal or instructions of your writing assignment.
- Visualization or Focusing
Negative energy such as self-criticism and worry compromise on your ability to write effectively. Through visualization, you can redirect or block negative mentality into thinking about your writing objective and the process through which you can achieve them.
- Don’t be Your Own Enemy
Writer’s block often results from own thoughts – the idea that you will fail, are not creative enough and so on. When you beat yourself up, you set yourself for the same failure you are already punishing yourself for. Instead, find a way to reward yourself and make writing more of an enjoyable task. An example is, for a cookie lover, you can have a bite or one cookie every time you write, say, 300 words.
- Make a Plan
Some people wait until when their essay task is due. They then start panicking, setting themselves up for the perfect writer’s block.
It is always good to have a plan on how to approach your writing task. Dedicate time for preliminary research, outline development, secondary research, perfecting outline and so on. You should not leave anything to chance.
It’s very likely that you might be surprised to find out that the instructions to a writing task require more than you had anticipated. Consequently, it is always plan on how to approach our essay and don’t procrastinate.
- Make Writing a Social Activity
Truth be told, writing is challenging – especially the starting part. You are not certain how to best start your paper for it to take a logical flow that will be appealing to your reader. However, when you regard writing differently from its often solitary perception that most people approach it with, you might be amazed at the magic in it. Feedbacks and the simple fact of being around people can be the solution to your writer’s block.
The Ultimate and Fail-Proof Way to Overcome Writer’s Block
This is the seventh way to overcome writer’s block. But, have you ever heard of the crazy voodoo stuff? This is the one voodoo to writer’s block that is based on research and a combination of different others to make one perfect solution.
Don’t worry yet, its simple and easy to understand. However, the effectiveness of the approach about to be proposed is dependent on the ability to understand yourself and establish a sort of mutual relationship with your inner critic.
To start with, ever heard of Thomas Edison’s ‘power nap? If you haven’t, here it is. Edison would often sit in upright position in a chair holding keys. He would then think deeply and concentrate on a problem of interest to him. He would then let himself sleep in the process making the keys fall and wake him up. Immediately, he would write whatever was on his mind – that was his ‘Open Sesame’ trick to creativity.
Now, let’s use this trick to overcome writer’s block.
In order to apply this method in writing, you need to first identify ways to activate your subconscious thinking. Subconscious mind is continually solving problems and you can use that ability to generate writing ideas.
Some of the ways that people use to activate optimal subconscious thinking include sleeping, walking, bird watching, running, and listening to music. It is entirely up to you to determine what works for you.
Once you have effective ways to activate your subconscious thinking, do some preliminary research on what to writing about. If it’s an essay assignment, read and analyze the essay instructions before the preliminary research.
Proceed and do a rough draft based on your initial understanding and visualized approach to writing your essay. If possible, proceed and read more materials and do some more update on your essay outline.
Up to this point, don’t overthink stuff! Just write what comes into your mind.
Now, concentrate on your essay instructions or the writing task at hand. This time, engage your subconscious mind. Concentrate on the information and instructions. Immediately you are satisfied that you have gained better understanding and ideas to use on your essay, draft them before you forget.
If you use this method effectively, you will be surprised at just how amazingly you can overcome writer’s block. Don’t be stressed anymore because you are stuck working on your essay due to writer’s block. Try this secret solution and live to enjoy writing.
One More Thing, Don’t Stop Writing!!!
Our fail-proof solution to writer’s block only works if you keep writing. The more you write the better. Don’t mind the quality of your work when starting. Just keep writing – later, edit your essay to only remain with quality and relevant points.
Heard of the article “Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott? If you haven’t yet read it, you better do. It has some amazing tips on how to start your essay and the importance of writing continuously without caring about quality of the first drafts.
Similarly, when working on an essay, write as much as you can while engaging your subconscious mind to come up with even better ideas and approach to writing your essay. After every instance of engaging your subconscious mind, and a bit of more research, edit your essay paper to improve its quality.
Still Stuck Writing Your Essay Due to Writer’s Block?
There is that one time when things don’t just seem to go your way. If you are experiencing such a time and you just can’t solve the writer’s block problem, you don’t have to worry.
Writing is no one’s cup of tea – even for experienced writers, they have their shares of problems in the profession.
Primarily, most people have problems starting writing their essays. For student’s, questions such as ‘how do I start my essay?’, ‘what are the effective strategies to starting an essay?’, ‘how do I write a convincing essay introduction?’ and ‘how can I complete my essay?’ are quite common.
In case you are stuck writing your essay, you can always pay someone to write your essay for you. An expert writer can help by:
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- Enabling you to learn the effective ways to paraphrase your essay
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