After a solid half an hour of staring at a blank white screen, trying to figure out what topic to write about today, it came to me. Writer’s block strikes everyone at some point or another, whether it’s in the middle of writing an informal e-mail or finishing a 10,000 page novel. As the school season nears, incidents of writer’s block may increase significantly as homework begins to appear. The following are a few tips I’ve found helpful with my own bouts of writer’s block, that will hopefully help you or someone you love overcome their next crippling incident.
Visualize Your Path
Sometimes, writing can be daunting. Taking a few minutes to map out exactly what needs to be communicated in your writing, and what order it should be communicated in, can be a great way to jumpstart your actual writing. Make sure to put this plan down on paper somewhere, whether it’s on your desktop or on an actual notepad. You’ll be able to look at this reference whenever your writing gets you stuck again.
Just Do It
Who knew sports shoes could yield a great piece of writing advice? You may sit and agonize over the best way to express an idea you have, but rather than stressing yourself out too much, just write down your idea as completely as you can and move on. Later, you’ll be able to come back and polish up your writing. This isn’t a cop out, it’s called the editing process. You don’t want to lose great ideas because you don’t get them down on paper!
Let Someone Else Do It
No, this doesn’t mean let someone else write whatever it is you’re trying to write for you! Sometimes, though, it can help to use what somebody has already said as a jumpstart. Whether it’s using a quote about friendship to start off a long e-mail to a friend, or using a short quote from a book to kick off a book report, chances are it’s already been said, and it can help you from staring at a blank page! Remember, to avoid plagiarism you have to make sure that you credit your sources!
Think Outside the Box
Introduction got you stuck? Title seem impossible? There’s nothing that says you always have to start at the beginning and move straight through your writing. Rather than worrying about how to start, just start writing wherever you feel you can. You can even work from the conclusion back, if you wanted!
Let It Be
This isn’t just the refrain of a famous Beatles song. When you get stuck on something, sometimes the answer is to give yourself a little space and try something else for a while. Take a walk, watch an episode of your favorite TV show, play a game of Tetris, throw in a load of laundry. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something that will relax you while leaving you energized to finish whatever it is you were trying to write. A good rule I’ve found for myself is that a break longer than twenty minutes means that getting back on task is almost impossible, so I limit my breaks to fifteen minutes. Find what works for you! The other important thing with taking a break is knowing when you should take a break. Don’t sit down at the computer and fret if nothing comes to you after two seconds.