How to Overcome Writer’s Block 1. Choose a topic which interests you Your thoughts will flow much more readily if you are writing about a topic in which you have an interest. Do not choose an area which will bore you or will not hold your interest. 2. Give yourself a lot of time. Do not wait until the last minute before a paper is due to begin writing. Time pressure heightens fear and results in nervousness and tension. Start working on your paper the moment it is assigned, a little bit at a time. This will make the task seem easier as you interpret your topic and think it through in stages. 3. READ WIDELY Stimulate your thought process processes on the topic by reading around it from a wide variety of sources and discussing it with others. 4. JUST THINK Allow your thoughts to flow naturally. Do not try to control your thought processes with rules about how you should think. “Let your mind go!” Write freely as the ideas flow. You will organize these ideas at a later stage. 5. Be true to yourself Write what you believe and write truthfully. Write what you think and only support your views with evidence from other sources. Do not try to express anyone else’s ideas as though they were yours. 6. Pretend that you are not writing but talking to someone. Many of us prefer to talk, so if you talk to an imagined audience on the page it will be easier to relax and think through the ideas. 7. Write on the computer This way you can change, cut, paste, move around and do all kinds of exciting things to improve your drafts more easily and quickly. Errors will be more easily corrected. 8. Dispel these fears – tell yourself they are unreal 9. Fear of the Introduction Fear of the first page Fear of the exceeding word limit. Free-write Use brainstorming, mapping or clustering to get yourself to focus on the topic and preserve ideas as they occur to you. But for your first draft just write everything that comes to your mind about the topic. 10. Keep a Journal Write an entry in your journal on the topic everyday. This should make it easier to think through and develop your essay. 11. Write your first draft as a letter Write a letter to a friend and then modify it in later drafts. Since many of us enjoy writing letters or sending e-mails, you can pretend that your essay is a letter you are drafting to your friend. This will help you to overcome the fear of writing to a formal audience. The modifications in tone, register, diction and overall style may be done in the re-writing process. Tell yourself writing is the best thing you could do to get others to listen to your views! January, 2005 Paulette A. Ramsay Ph.D.