As an English Lit. major in college, I had to write dozens of essays a quarter.
And, unfortunately, I got hit with writer’s block on a regular basis.
I tried to combat it by spending more time researching in the library, but that just made my problem worse.
You see, even though research is important — it didn’t help me write my paper. In fact, I’ve found that research just helped me procrastinate more.
So how do I cure my bouts with writer’s block?
Here are 10 ways that have helped me write when I’m not in the mood:
1. Relax your mind.
The more you worry about not having ideas, the more you’ll freeze up your mind. You need to relax and think positively about your writing assignment. Realize that everyone goes through writer’s block, and the cure is to relax your mind.
2. Take a hot shower.
I don’t know what it is about a hot shower, but it really helps me refresh my body and mind. The hot shower helps me relax and focus on my writing assignments. It’s also a place where I brainstorm easily. Take a notepad and leave it next to your shower door for when the ideas start flowing.
3. Write freely.
Whenever I’m at a loss for words, I’ll just start writing. It doesn’t matter what you write, just write something. The very act of getting words on a page will help you build confidence, and help your mind to start pumping out your thoughts.
4. Write what you would say to your friend.
Sometimes it helps me to pretend that I’m explaining the subject to a friend. By imagining a conversation with a friend, it helps me write what I would say – and this is a great way to trick yourself into writing.
5. Don’t worry about punctuation or organization.
When you’re struggling with writer’s block, this is not the time to focus on punctuation or how you’re organizing your paper. You want to eliminate everything that stands between you and getting words on a page. So just write and don’t worry about anything else.
6. Take deep breaths.
There are many benefits to breathing deeply in meditation, and one of them is to help you refresh your mind. I personally like Dr. Weil’s deep breathing exercises when I’m feeling tired and uninspired:
- Inhale through your nose for four seconds
- Hold your breath for seven seconds
- Exhale through tightly pursed lips, creating “back pressure,” for eight seconds.
- Do this eight times, twice a day, everyday.
7. Move around.
Get your body moving and possibly even try writing in a new location. Just by moving around will get your blood pumping faster and will help you feel more energized.
8. Concentrate on a different section of your paper.
If you’re stuck writing your introduction, just skip it. Start writing another section. Don’t worry if you don’t have the best paragraph structure – just write and the words will start to flow. You can always edit later.
9. Listen to music.
Sometimes listening to classical music or jazz can help you start writing. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I’ve found that it can help me block out any surrounding noises and focus on my writing. Try music when you’re out of words.
10. Don’t worry about failing.
Look, a lot of people get writer’s block because they think they’re afraid of failure – or they think they can’t write a good paper. You have to get rid of that negativity and start writing. The more you write, the better your paper will be. You can always edit it later – and find a friend to proofread it to give you some suggestions.
So just start writing . . .