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How To Overcome Writer's Block



Hello again, Writing Center Family! It’s Annie! Now that the semester is now in full swing, the deadlines for our essays and writing assignments are quickly approaching. For some of us, the idea of completing these writing assignments is exciting! For others, including myself, the idea of creating a piece of writing that we are expected to submit for a grade is a little scary. Regardless of which group any of us falls in, we are all probably going to experience the same dreadful thing at some point this semester: writer’s block. So, I wanted to give you a few tips on how to overcome writer’s block!


Every writer can relate to the feeling of staring blankly at a computer screen, unable to complete the writing piece they know they need to finish. No matter how hard they try, they just can’t get rid of the writer’s block they’re experiencing. Writer’s block is caused by a variety of factors, which range from excessive distractions, a lack of motivation, to fear of comparison to “better” writing. Regardless of the reason for writer’s block, every writer would agree that they want to overcome writer’s block as quickly as possible. I’m sure you can relate to this urgency, so I wrote a few tips for overcoming writer’s block!


1. Write for a set amount of time

I usually experience writer’s block when I’m stressed about crafting the perfect writing piece. I can’t make myself write a single word because I fear that no word, sentence, or paragraph will be good enough. If you ever find yourself stuck in this same mindset, I suggest that you write for a pre-set amount of time without caring about your writing being “good.” You don’t need to focus on grammar, spelling, wording, or anything during this time. You just write. When you allow yourself to write without second-guessing every word, you overcome the obstacle preventing you from writing and continue on with your writing.


Write for a set amount of time!


2. Write something else

Although forcing yourself to write the piece you’re stuck on can work well, you may find that you’re not always able to push through. And, that’s okay. Sometimes, the writing won’t come to you. If you just can’t keep writing, put aside your writing assignment and work on another writing piece. This piece could be anything from a writing assignment for class, a journal of your thoughts, an email to a professor, or a social media post. By writing something else, you’ll help yourself get into the rhythm of writing. You may find that you’re able to continue this rhythm with the writing piece you’re experiencing writer’s block with.


Write something else!


3. Do something other than writing

You may find that even working on another writing piece won’t help you overcome your writer’s block. When this happens, your mind may just need a break from writing altogether. So, you should allow yourself to take a break by going for a walk, making dinner, meeting up with your friends, sleeping, checking out a museum, or anything other than writing. By the time you return to your writing piece, your brain will be well-rested and ready to write.


Do something other than writing, like reading a book!


4. Find examples of good writing

Since writer’s block can sometimes stem from a lack of confidence or lack of inspiration, you could take some time to read great writing pieces. You could look back at writing assignments you were really proud of yourself for crafting. These previous writing assignments will remind yourself that you are capable of producing good writing. You could also read the work of famous writers because these pieces can provide you with inspiration and examples of good writing. With these examples in mind, you can return to your writing feeling confident and inspired.


Find examples of good writing!


5. Identify the root of your writer’s block

When all else fails, you should take the time to identify the reason why you’re experiencing writer’s block. Try to ask yourself the following questions:


  • When I’m trying to write, what thoughts are going through my mind? Are these thoughts the reason I cannot write?

  • Do I feel uninterested in the topic I’m writing?

  • Am I confused about what I should be writing?

  • Do I feel overwhelmed by the pressure of succeeding or creating a “perfect” writing piece?

  • Am I feeling tired and mentally exhausted?

  • Do I have a lack of confidence in my writing abilities?


If you answer each of these questions truthfully, you’ll most likely find the reason you cannot write. You may find that you’re confused about the writing assignment, uninterested in the topic, scared of receiving a low grade, etc. Once you identify the problem, you can easily make the adjustments to fix this problem.


I hope you try some of these tips next time you have writer’s block! If you want to work through your writer’s block with someone else, you should make an appointment at the Writing Center. We can help you overcome writer’s block at any point in your writing process. If writer’s block hits you when you’re just beginning an assignment, we can help you brainstorm topics or ideas for your writing. Likewise, if you experience writer’s block when you’re almost finished, we can give you suggestions to help you finish your writing. Regardless of which stage of writing you’re in, we’re there to help you with your writer’s block!


Stop by the Writing Center for more help with writer’s block!