6 Tips for Conquering Writer's Block

The myOptions Team

I like to think of myself as a pretty good writer. Words come naturally to me, and I have a good eye for sentence structure. But every now and again I come across an essay subject that I'll draw a complete blank on. That empty Google Doc seems so long and impossible to fill, the letters on my keyboard look like they're from a foreign alphabet, and I can't, for the life of me, think of a single opening paragraph. Not to mention my deadline feels like it's inching closer with every second. You guessed it; we are talking about writer’s block.

In situations like this, my stress levels have gone through the roof, and I often felt like giving up. However, as I got older and learned from myself and other people, I discovered a few tips on how I could turn this situation around. Now I am here to share those tips with you.

1. Calm yourself.

When I'm on the verge of pulling my hair out over a paper, I begin taking in deep breaths through my nose and exhaling through my mouth. I stand up, stretch my whole body, and drink a tall glass of cool water. I close my laptop and just sit for a few minutes. This helps me clear my head and collect my thoughts. When I feel relaxed, I open my laptop again.

2. Add some frill and color.

Sometimes it helps to spice up a blank document with bright colors and amusing fonts. My go-to font is Indie Flower, and the color I choose is either hot pink or sky blue.Then I would suggest writing out the title, underlining it, and centering it at the top of the page making it look all official. And ta-dah! Now we sort of have a starting point.

3. Just start typing.

Try turning the brightness of your screen all the way down so that you can no longer see what you are typing. Especially when it comes to typing on computers, it’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics, making sure all your grammar is correct. Begin jotting all your thoughts down first impressions, feelings, or anything that comes to your mind. You could also try brainstorming by physically writing everything on a piece of paper. There are actually studies out there that say writing by hand increases creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. (Seriously, it’s totally a thing. Google it). Remember that it’s okay if things aren’t completely relevant. It’s all about fleshing out your ideas.

4. Create an outline.

Now that you have some ideas for your argument, it’s time to make an outline! This is an important step in overcoming writer’s block because it allows you to translate your ideas into something a little more tangible. The art of writing is taking those free-flowing ideas and stringing them into something that is cohesive. It’s easy to lose momentum when you aren’t really sure where your essay is going in the first place. So, figure out what it is you want to say first, and then the rest will come naturally. Don’t worry if you don’t end up abiding by your outline exactly, it’s just an exercise to organize your thoughts!

5. Take a shower.

All the best ideas come when you are in the shower, I SWEAR. If you have already showered for the day, take some time away from your paper in other ways. Sitting down for long periods of time is bad for both your health and your writing. Try going for a walk, taking selfies with your cat, or playing badminton with some friends. Though you aren’t actively working on your writing, it’s still there in the back of your mind. And who knows! Maybe a new idea will come to you while you are out and about, living your life.

6. Brush up on your research.

As soon as you finish your first draft, go online, or to the library, and look for articles to refresh your knowledge. This offers a chance to build your argument, refine your credibility, and confirm your initial thesis. You might even find that you have more to say about your topic, and you can include your new found knowledge to second draft revisions.

These 6 tips have helped me through my time in high school and I’m super excited to share them with you now. Whether you're a pro at writing or have trouble composing a simple grocery list, I'm sure these tips will lend a helping hand. And who knows, maybe in trying a few out, you'll discover your own unique writing strategies.

Post courtesy of Ijaaz Cousin

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