Writer’s block is incredibly frustrating and common, especially during the first few weeks back in class after a break. I frequently find myself staring at an open Word document and having absolutely no idea what to write. There is no simple fix, but here are some tips that may help you combat writer’s block:
**(Be sure to save your document before you leave it unattended)**
- Brainstorm. Put your computer away and pull out a few pieces of paper or a stack of post-it notes. Think about your topic and try to write down all of your thoughts – even the really random ones. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, word count, or even whether your writing makes sense (Consider this your pre-rough-draft-draft). Come back to your notes in an hour or so and begin to organize your thoughts into cohesive paragraphs.
- Don’t overanalyze it. “Overanalysis paralysis” happens when you think too much about a project and become figuratively paralyzed and unable to take action. Don’t overthink your paper! Take a step back and look at the objective for your project; don’t fret about the little details. As Bruce Lee once said, “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
- Breathe. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Count to five while you inhale, and do the same when you exhale. Repeat the process a few times.
- Move around. Often, getting out of my chair and walking around helps clear my mind. Take a short walk outside, do laps around your house, or have a dance break in your dorm room. Let your mind relax while your body works.
- Find a new writing place. Sometimes sitting at the same desk or table hour after hour can contribute to writer’s block. Pick up your laptop and books and find a new place to work! Possible places on UNG’s campus include the library, Starbucks, or even the benches surrounding UNG’s Drill Field.
- Take breaks! I know when you have a paper due the next day, it’s tempting to sit and work for 6 hours straight. Taking a short break every hour keeps your mind fresh and your ideas flowing.
- Music. Turn on your favorite music, listen to a relaxing Pandora station, or even visit rainymood.com to soothe your stress. Some people find they study and write best when listening to non-lyrical music, like soundtracks or instrumentals. Personally, my favorite writing playlist is full of Hans Zimmer’s scores. Listening to his compositions make me feel like I can conquer anything, even writer’s block!
- Eat well. While chowing down on snacks when powering through a paper seems like the most time-efficient option, it’s best to get a solid meal with protein and veggies. Your brain needs good fuel to produce!
- Hug a puppy. Turn on your puppy/kitten radar and find a little furball to pet. Georgia State University has reported that spending time with an animal can reduce anxiety by up to 60%! Go volunteer at the TLC Humane Society toget some good one-on-one cuddles!
- Don’t panic. In a few years, you probably won’t even remember this paper. You’ll make it through this!