Do you ever find yourself just staring at the title of your report for ten minutes, not knowing where to start? Or you’re half-way through the first paragraph of an essay and your mind completely blanks, leaving you with nothing logical to write?
These are the first signs of writer’s block! Authors describe it as a state of mind in which your creative function stalls and your brain needs a reboot or new inspiration to continue.
I’ve experienced this many times, where I have had to hold off writing an essay until something ‘clicks’ in my brain and I can finish it in a few hours, easily.
I managed to break through the writer’s block, but waiting for a natural breakthrough can be very time-consuming.
The cause of writer’s block varies but often when you’re stressed, the brain shuts down its creative functions. Distractions or a lack of resources and inspiration also play a key role.
At uni, sometimes it is the pressure to adhere to rules of composition that make it hard to write well.
Combat the cause:
#1 Reduce distractions.
It’s hard for our brain to think and write coherent sentences if we have Netflix or TV on in the background or we’re checking our phones every ten seconds.
So, eliminate anything that may draw your attention away from the task.
#2 Take a break.
Work on a different assignment, take a quick ten-minute walk around the block or go for a quick snack. Study in moderation, so your brain doesn’t fall asleep on you!
#3 Read similar articles.
Amp up the inspiration by reading journal articles, similar reports and other resources to be refreshed with new ideas and perspectives on the topic. Just be careful not to plagiarize!
#4 Start on a new section.
If the due date is close and you don’t want to work on a different assignment, just skip ahead to a different section – whether it be the next paragraph, conclusion or even make a start on your bibliography.
If you’re sick or you’re struggling something, allocate time early on to deal with them so that you can focus solely on study.
#6 Don’t snack on sugary foods.
Recent studies showed that sugar creates a ‘fogginess’ in the brain, which hinders our ability to commit ideas to memory and process concepts.
So, opt for the healthy ‘brain foods’ and maximise your study time.
#7 Sit up straight.
Stooping can lead to depression, fatigue, lack of focus, stiff joints and other health problems. Increase your mental productivity by maintaining good posture, standing up and stretching. It will get the blood flowing, which also helps relax muscles.