How to Overcome Writer's Block

Feb 4, 2014
  |  by Jennifer Cook

 
Writers from every discipline, from student to professional, have suffered from the dreaded writer’s block.  This article is designed to be a guide on how to overcome this obstacle.  At a minimum, writers should know they are not alone when they encounter this frustrating situation and there are tools to remedy it. 

Writers from every discipline, from student to professional, have suffered from the dreaded writer’s block.  This article is designed to be a guide on how to overcome this obstacle.  At a minimum, writers should know they are not alone when they encounter this frustrating situation and there are tools to remedy it.

What Causes Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is a mystery.  With writing being such an essential skill in most professions, it is useful for writers to examine the root of their struggle.  The fight to find the right words can often be attributed to feeling overwhelmed by the subject on which one must write.

There are some activities that can be used to overcome writer’s block and put oneself in a state of mind that is equipped to handle even the most difficult paper or article.

Get Physical

One way to get past the block is to get blood flowing in the body.  Increasing blood flow to the brain is one of the best ways to wake up and prepare one’s mind to work.  The Boston Globe’s 2013 article Four Ways to Use Exercise to Boost your Brain Power reports that “short 10 to 40 minute bursts of exercise led to an immediate [increase] in concentration and mental focus, likely by improving blood flow to the brain.”  Simple ways to get moving include taking a walk around the block or doing a brief round of jumping jacks.

Jot it Down

Writers should have a notebook available when attending a class or listening to an online lecture solely for taking notes pertaining to the writing assignment.  This provides easy access to the information without the struggle of trying to remember it at a later date or thumbing through a mass of unorganized notes.

Get Out of Dodge

Changing one’s surroundings can give a writer inspiration that a desk or office cannot.  A new atmosphere can spark imagination, inspiration, and creativity.  If changing your work environment isn’t a possibility, then visualize yourself in an ideal setting.  While this isn’t quite the same as physically being there, it will still allow for the mind to relax and refresh. 

Focus

Concentration can easily be broken by one of the many electronic devises that we all carry.  Distractions, such as buzzing cell phones, can be terribly disruptive to the thought process, making it difficult to pick up one’s train of thought when the call is finished.  Turning off all of one’s gadgets will allow for steady concentration.  All of these interruptions will still be there when the assignment is complete, so avoiding them until finished is truly beneficial.

Stop Thinking, Start Writing

There are times when one simply needs to start writing to get their thoughts flowing.  The results may not be polished or even grammatically correct, but it is a start to the process.  The importance of this step is solely to start writing.  More coherent thoughts will follow.  One always has the ability to edit and organize at a later date.

You Can Do It

Writers are never alone in their struggles.  We have all experienced writer’s block, and no matter the cause, there are ways to overcome it.  There are a variety of methods available to help work through difficulties.  Get started, facilitate creativity and let the words flow.


Author bio: Jennifer Cook writes about online education, learning trends and student life for Strayer.edu. She loves it when teachers connect with students online, and she’s scrubbed her social profiles clean, just in case Big Brother is watching.

 

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