How to overcome Writer's Block

How to Overcome Writer’s Block
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.
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.
Stimulate your thought process processes on the topic by reading around it from a
wide variety of sources and discussing it with others.
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.
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.
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.
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
Dispel these fears – tell yourself they are unreal
Fear of the Introduction
Fear of the first page
Fear of the exceeding word limit.
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.
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.
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.