The Curious Case of Writer’s Block and How to Overcome It

I apologize in advance to all of you incoming college students who are not fans of writing.

Guys, college practically equals writing.

From writing college application essays, to finishing lab reports and composition papers, to applying for jobs and internships, the writing world is a broad one that requires a steady relationship with Microsoft Word.

With that being said, it is important to keep in mind that not all the writing you do will be the same (aka about boring things that you are not interested in). As you dig deeper into our major/college career, and you finish up the general education requirements, the information that you are writing about or writing for becomes more tailored to your interests, which in turn eases the writing aspect.

However, as a result of being highly involved in the writing world, the possibility of suffering from the dreadful writer’s block is always at high risk. We all know that feeling: the completely overwhelming blankness that encompasses your mind as you stare vacantly at the blinking cursor on your computer screen trying to begin writing, yet having no idea where to start.

In fact, if I am being honest, it took me over a half hour to type something on this piece about writer’s block that I didn’t erase immediately. Talk about irony!

Lucky for everyone affected by this common stress-factor, there are ways to overcome writer’s block in a timely fashion. Read up on these tips and begin your papers, emails, and/or applications with ease!

  • Pick your writing environment wisely.

There is no way quality inspiration will derive from a poorly picked writing environment. Choose your writing spot cautiously. If you can’t hold your focus too well, avoid public places with a great quantity of distractions. The comfort of your own dorm can also be a tricky place to write, especially when your cozy bed is urging you to take a nap, or your TV remote sits next to you anxiously. Libraries, small coffee shops, and computer labs are great for zoning in on your work and dodging writer’s block all together.

  • Stock up on brain food.

I have found that snacks are a great way to wake up your body and get your ideas moving. Obviously, there needs to be a limitation for how much food and/or beverages you have near you; no need in getting too distracted by mounds of delicious food surrounding you. However, instead of looking at your phone for a good twenty minutes, take a three minute pretzel break. When writer’s block is getting the best of me, my go-to snack is usually coffee and fruit snacks. Not only do I snap out of blanking, but this brain food helps me to keep working for longer.

  • Be cautious of phone, television, and social networking distractions.

Here is a classic one. I would be a hypocrite if I said there wasn’t a time I didn’t check my phone or turn on the TV while attempting to write a paper. It is not a horrible thing to look through Facebook or send a text message while writing, especially if you have been working for hours on end; it’s like a nice reward for your hard work. However, the important thing is to not take these breaks every two minutes. If have a lot of troubles with checking your phone, leave it across the room so you are forced to get up every time you want to check it, ultimately limiting the number of times you move away from the computer. Same with the TV remote if you are writing in your room, keep it far away from your work station.

  • Let your words write themselves.

This one may seem a little confusing. What I mean is, when you are writing something for a purpose, whether that is free-writing, writing for an assignment, etc., and you are stuck, the words you want to write are up there; they are just being momentarily paused. Don’t get discouraged if the stress of writer’s block is overwhelming you. You know the information, you know what you want to say, it is just a matter of starting and writing/saying it. There are tons of exercises for brainstorming ideas and thoughts. One of my favorites is to switch to handwriting. Not only does this force me to write at a faster speed, but erasing on a piece of paper and a computer document takes up a lot more time. Time that I sometimes don’t necessarily have, which forces me to just write exactly what I am thinking at that time with no hesitations.

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Jordan Johnson

Jordan Johnson

Jordan Johnson is a junior at North Central College in Naperville, IL pursuing degrees in journalism and interactive media studies. When she is not in the classroom, she balances her time playing for her school’s softball team and working at a local frozen yogurt shop. Jordan enjoys watching movies, thumb wars, and occasional trips into the windy city.
Jordan Johnson

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