Writer’s block hits everyone at one time or another. We don’t all just wake up perkily and generate writing ideas. Even the most creative and the most dedicated of us can sometimes get stuck thinking of a term paper topic or idea for a science project. Once you know the causes of writer’s block, you can take steps to prevent it. One tip is to consult sources like history books, health articles, modern literature, recent science articles, or anything that fits your topic and can jump start your project. Another tip is to practice stress relief techniques to get the creative juices working. Read on for more writing ideas for stopping writer’s block before it starts!
Causes of writer’s block
One of the major causes of writer’s block is dwelling on it too much. If you’re worried about it, it just might come true. The more time you spend thinking about writing something or getting a project started, the more you’ll fall into a pattern of thought or expectations that you won’t be able to get out of. What’s needed is a plan, new experiences and out-of-the-box thinking.
Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) at www.owl.english.purdue.edu explains that writer’s block can be caused by:
- not enough preliminary planning, brainstorming or outlining. Start by writing down the primary ideas you want to express.
- a boring topic you’re forced to work with. Find an offshoot or aspect of it that interests you.
- being too anxious or stressed out to begin thinking clearly. Take a minute to stretch, breathe, close your eyes and mentally focus on something relaxing.
Before writer’s block takes hold
Writer’s Relief offers “Tips On How To Beat Writer’s Block” before it hits, in the November 28, 2012, HuffingtonPost.com:
- Before writer’s block takes hold, scout out places near you for inspiration that can jump start creativity: a café, park, library, shade tree, ocean view or busy street for people watching.
- If you’re feeling down about your writing, change your perception of the writing experience. Boost your spirits by making a list of your achievements and writings or projects you’re proud of.
- Before you start feeling stressed out about a writing project, do an activity that usually relaxes you: baking, jogging, a soothing bath, a crossword puzzle, etc.
- To inspire you and make your spirit soar, play a few tunes or read some poetry to get in the creative mood.
Or try these other suggestions before writer’s block strikes:
- Write down many questions you have about the topic: who, what, why, where, when. That will generate some topics for further exploration.
- Gather some friends who are in the same predicament and brainstorm ideas together. No idea is too silly — just throw out suggestions and create discussions.
- Speak to your teacher. Have them clarify the topic and point you to resources.
- Don’t talk yourself out of it. Doubt can overrun even the most diligent. Instead of a defeatist attitude, brighten yourself up with positive thoughts (and maybe some ice cream).
What if it’s too late?
If you already have writer’s block, try these tricks:
- Flip through the pages of any magazine. Look at the pictures, read headlines and read the ads. Your mind will wander and you’ll start thinking differently.
- Browse through Questia.com’s topic categories to find information on a variety of academic fields.
Paul Joe Watson in the January 30, 2013, article “Overcoming (Copy)Writer’s Block” in Business2Community.com suggests that you simply start with what you know. Brainstorm some ideas to start with, start writing and the rest will come in time as you develop your idea. Get to know the basics of what you’re writing. Create an outline, synopsis or major themes or goals that you want to cover. And remember: give yourself a break to clear your mind now and again. Have a cup of coffee, talk to someone or send off a few tweets. Then get right back in the game!
Writer’s block really have a hold on you? Think your paper is simply doomed? Check out our blog post, “Writing tips: Unique tricks to overcoming writer’s block” and get the creative juices pumping again.
What are some of your other tricks for preventing writer’s block? Tell us in the comments below!