Writer's Block? Try Writing About Something Else

Be it an 5000-word essay or 200-word formal email, no one is immune to writer's block. Fortunately, there are a few techniques you can try to jolt your brain back into action and coax more words from whichever mental crevasse they happen to be lodged in.

Image: matryosha / Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

An article over at HackCollege covers six tips that can potentially save your typing bacon. Sure, you can try going for a walk or taking a short break, but one that might not seem immediately obvious is keep writing... about something else:

Write — But Not About Your Intended Topic When you get back to your computer, write about how you feel. Write about what you want to do. Write about how annoyed you are that you can't write this thing you need to be writing. Write about how much fun you had when you weren't writing. Now you’re getting your brain warmed up for the task at hand.

My own piece of advice is to just start in the middle. It doesn't matter if it's the second paragraph in a three-paragraph missive, by going straight to the meat of the document, you'll find your brain automatically focuses on the most important points you need to cover off. Once that's done, it's much easier to formulate an introduction and conclusion.

6 Ways To Overcome Writer's Block [HackCollege]


    From my experience (English teacher), too many view writing as an A to Z journey of inspired genius instead of a creative endeavour. Don't get me wrong, sometimes, for some people, it works to sit down and write for 72 hours straight. But for most people a piece of writing needs to be constructed.
    You shouldn't expect a painter to paint from top left across the canvas in rows down to bottom right. But people expect they'll be able to begin writing at the beginning and it will all flow out naturally.
    Writer's blocks are a construct of this expectation and lack of concrete planning. Even if the plan is a simple series of goals to achieve (character goals in narrative, explorative evidence goals in essays), something planned is infinitely better than nothing planned. And then don't feel constrained to following the narrative path.
    Your suggestion to get to the meat of the document is important, but too many still view this as a way of attacking essays only. Write the fun bits, write the boring bits, write the settings, write the actions, just write. If you "suffer" from writer's block, the biggest issue is generally the way you view the writing process, and it generally isn't your writing skillset.

    I like the start in the middle option. I will use that with my management students next semester. They all want to start writing the intro of their report before they actually work out their argument.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now