Getting Started: Cures for Writer’s Block
Have you ever felt stuck with writer’s block after receiving an assignment? If so, you aren’t alone. All writers find getting started difficult sometimes. Experienced writers use a number of strategies for curing their writer’s block. Here are a few tips you can try.
- Relax. The more you can relax, the better you will be able to focus and make progress with your writing. Find a comfortable place to think and write, take a number of deep breaths to relax, and commit yourself to the writing process.
- Just Write. If you are stuck, stop thinking about your block and start writing on paper or screen. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar or organization or anything except putting down words.
- Brainstorm. Quickly list random thoughts on your assigned topic. Write as many as you can. Record whatever comes to mind as quickly as possible and without censoring yourself.
- Outline. Record the major ideas, the big points, and organize them in many different ways. Don’t worry about Roman numerals, proper spacing, and anything related to format. Instead, just focus on ideas and their relationships to one another.
- Know Your Purpose and Audience. Think about the assignment to clarify your specific audience and specific purpose. Write these down to spur further thinking.
- Conduct Research. The more you know about a topic, the easier it is to write about it.
- Jump Around. Try thinking about the writing assignment in small chunks and jump from one chunk to another. You might start by writing down one point you want to make. Start there and see if you can make some headway.
- Start Anywhere. Many are taught to write the introduction and conclusion first, but this approach does not work for every writer. For some, writing the introduction and conclusion is easier once the body of the paper is written. Start with the part about which you are most comfortable and have the most to say.
- Talk to someone. If you are stuck, grab a friend, a relative, a tutor, your instructor, or anyone willing to listen and use that person as a sounding board. Often expressing your ideas out loud will help you sort things out and see new approaches.