One of the most common causes of writer’s block is the lack of knowledge about the topic that you have been assigned. The first step to deal with this issue is to do some research! Even if the assignment is not to write a research paper, doing research and reading about the topic that you are writing about will help give you confidence to write a clear and informative essay.
I don’t know much about insects. If I were assigned an essay in my biology class about the life of ants, I would have a major case of writer’s block. It would be necessary for me to learn about them and their everyday activities in order for me to even know what to begin writing. So, if your problem is unfamiliarity of the assigned topic, visit Google and spend a few minutes learning about it. Take notes while you’re reading, and then use those notes as an outline for your essay. You can then decide what is worth mentioning and what parts of your research are irrelevant to the paper.
Read someone else’s paper on the same topic.
Another possible cure to writer’s block is to detach your mind from the format of the paper. Sometimes it is best to just begin writing, without worrying about spelling, grammar check, and punctuation. After your thoughts are down on paper, you can go back and correct your mistakes. It is much easier to proofread a paper that is too long (because you can omit words or phrases that don’t make sense) than to try to come up with a perfect, logical essay on the first try.
Most likely, when you begin writing, ideas will flow one after another. It is best to write them down as soon as they come to you (even if you are in the middle of sentence) because by the time you finish the sentence you may forget the new idea that you wanted to add.
Make short-term goals for yourself to help you get the paper finished, especially if it is on a subject that doesn’t necessarily strike your interest. We, as students, will inevitably be assigned writing assignments that aren’t particularly exciting for us. Of course, you will have to write papers in subjects which interest you, but writer’s block will play more of a role in classes that don’t excite you. Unfortunately, you will still be required to turn something in to be graded.
Writing should be a growing skill for you. There is no right or wrong way to write a paper; there are only guidelines to help you write effectively. It is certainly possible to sit down at your computer, type a paper, and have it finished when you stand up two hours later. However, if you want an essay that makes sense, is free of grammatical mistakes, and will be more likely to get a good grade, then you need to spend more than one sitting on writing it. Try one or more of these techniques the next time you have writer’s block and see if they make the writing process a little easier for you!
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