Tips and Tricks to Beat Writer’s Block
If you’ve ever tried your hand at writing, whether for personal or professional gain, you’ve experienced the frustrating, all-consuming, seemingly insurmountable phenomenon known as writer’s block. Publisher’s Weekly recently published an article about Joseph Mitchell, one of the longest standing staff writers at The New Yorker, who possibly experienced the longest bout of writer’s block in history: over thirty years! That may sound a little extreme, but if you’ve ever stared at a blank page for hours and hours, surely you can relate. The good news is that there are plenty of tools you can use to help get those creative juices flowing. Whether you need to write an academic paper, a blog post, or just a personal journal entry, these simple tricks will help you put pen to paper:
Interview yourself about your topic. After you’ve answered all your questions, you can go back and combine your answers together, refining them into one single document. To get started, ask yourself:
1. What am I writing about?
2. Who am I writing for?
3. What is my goal in writing this?
4. Are there any definitions that could help me understand my topic better?
5. Do I need any sources or references?
Freewriting is for your eyes alone, and doesn’t have to be grammatically correct, structured, or coherent. Self-criticism is the biggest contributor to writer’s block, so in order to combat it, you have to give yourself a break. Writing quickly and without interruption will allow your mind to explore the topic free from evaluation. The only restriction on freewriting is that you need to set a certain amount of time, and write continuously throughout it. Set a timer for ten minutes, and don’t stop writing until time’s up! Don’t stop to read over your work or make changes; don’t stop for anything! You can go back in later and refine your writing, but for now, just get everything down on paper.
This might seem like a cliché, but that’s because it works! If having some structure helps you think, and freewriting seems too loose for you, then brainstorming might be the way to go. Brainstorming can take many different forms. Some writers like to jot down everything that comes into their heads. Others like to number and arrange their points. Some use a graphic aid like a bubble or tree diagram.
If writer’s block is getting you down, try these tips to help you break out of it. And hey, if you really get stuck, one of our professional writers can help you create a custom essay outline, or even help you write the essay, if all else fails! We’d love to hear if these tips worked for you! Send us an email if you’d like to learn more!
By Ceilidh Marlow
Kunkel, Thomas. (2015, April 03) What Exactly Was Joseph Mitchell Doing All Those Years at ‘The New Yorker’? Publisher’s Weekly. Retrieved August 21st, 2015 from http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/66086-what-exactly-was-joseph-mitchell-doing-all-those-years-at-the-new-yorker.html