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Writing Essays: How to Beat Writer's Block

Dec 7, 2009 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 2 Comments

There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting down to write an essay, only to face a blank page and no idea where to start. Writer’s block can strike at any time, even when your essay is due in a few hours or days—and even when you’re halfway through.

The tactics that will help you overcome writers’ block will depend on the writing stage you’re in. Here are a few tips for getting the words flowing—whether you’re facing a blank page or struggling to get to the end.

Write down all your ideas

If you haven’t started yet—and don’t even know what your thesis will be—it’s time for some old-fashioned brainstorming. It might sound cheesy, but it’s really effective. You don’t have to make a complicated word map; just sit down and write out whatever comes to mind when you think of topics, don't worry about your grammar yet - just write. If you do it long enough, eventually you’ll get to opinions or themes that will make workable topic sentences.

Of course, not every topic sentence is created equal. Choose a topic sentence you have enough to say about to make into a good essay. Also, if possible, choose one that has plenty of supporting material in relevant journals and other literature—that will make it much easier to write.

Make an outline


Once you have a general idea of your topic sentence, create an outline of all the points you’ll have to hit in order to support your thesis. Decide on the most effective order for your sections in the outline, so you don’t have to continually reorganize your essay. An outline will give you a roadmap for finishing the essay when you run out of inspiration.

Start in the middle

Sometimes the opening paragraph is the most difficult to write. If you’re getting hung up on the first few sentences, leave them till later. Instead, start at the middle—in a section that you know will be easy to write.

Your first paragraph is often most effective once you have an excellent idea of exactly where your essay is going—and the angle you’re taking. Sometimes you have that starting out—other times you have to work through writing the rest of the essay to clarify that in your own mind. That’s why writing the first paragraph last can sometimes be so effective.

Change your scenery

Sometimes writing in the same place you study, help the kids with their homework, and do other tasks can block you. That’s because you associate that place with all the stress of doing these activities—and this can stop you from focusing on your writing. If you find yourself sitting down to write, only to feel frustrated before you even start, it could help to change where you work on your essay. The change could require leaving the house to work at a library or coffee shop, or it could be as simple as moving from the kitchen to the living room.

Remove distractions

If you find yourself checking your email incessantly while you’re trying to write, going on Facebook and getting sidetracked by reading the news online, take your laptop to a place where you can’t access the Internet. Turn off the phone, and go to a place where you can’t watch television or read a book. Sometimes removing other distractions is all it takes to keep your mind focused.

Journaling Can Help

In some cases, individuals have found journaling to be a useful tool for overcoming the stresses brought-on by writer's block. With the use of various types of journaling exercises, such as free falling, modeling and "streaming of consciousness" work, you will be able to work outside of the constraints of "typical" writing methods to overcome the issues that are holding you back.

Give yourself enough time

Some people say they focus better under pressure—and they use this reasoning to justify leaving their papers until the last minute. But this can result in some high-stress, sleepless nights before the due date—and it’s a dangerous way to work. It’s betting on the chance that no family emergency will come up and that inspiration will hit you at just the right moment to give you a successful paper by the end of your all-nighter. That might happen sometimes. But when it doesn’t work out, you could put your grade at risk.

It’s much better to give yourself more time. If you really need the pressure of a close deadline to focus, then set one for yourself—a week or two in advance of the real due date. This way, you can have the mental pressure you need—without putting yourself in a precarious position.

Everybody faces writer’s block as a natural part of the writing process. It doesn’t make writing any easier, but it can be beaten. With these strategies, you should be able to get over writer’s block and get your papers done in time.

How to Overcome Writer's Block -



essay service Over a year ago

Your information was totally amazing. Thanks for sharing this kind of tip that we were able to cope with it and use it for our writing activities. Many people will surely love your work.

essay writing service Over a year ago

I think that to become a good essay writer we need to have an impressive way of making an outline of every essay content that we have to make. Its because, from making a good outline of your essay you will easily build a very wonderful essay content that looks more interesting.

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