This is a guest post by Audrey Porterman
Writer’s block happens to all of us at one time or another and it’s sometimes hard to overcome, but there are easy things we can do to prevent it. Here are a whole bunch of tips to get you started.
The best tool a writer can have is a trusty pen and paper (be it loose leaf or notebook/notepad). Before you actually get started with the writing create a list. The list should be broken down as such:
What the topic is asking you to write about; for example is it:
- A review
- An overview
- Is it explanatory
- Or are you writing an editorial
- What do you know about the topic
- What do you need to find out
Get all your research materials and sites ready before hand so that you don’t have to mess with it later. If you’re like me, you to have go to sites that you deem reliable and a great source of information. So have those open and open to the topic you are covering or want to research, don’t just have the site opened to the home page.
Keep It Neat
A cluttered work space is a distracting workspace, try to keep it clean. Only have things on your desk that you need for the assignment, anything else could be distracting.
Remove Outside Influences
For moments where you need to write, best eliminate outside noises or things that can steal your distraction. Music is fine, but television isn’t since you will be more inclined to look away and watch the show which can break your focus.
How to Utilize Music
The best thing you can do is wear headphones since it will eliminate outside noises.
I like to organize things heavily and my playlist is no exception.
You should organize your playlist based off of mood and select the best playlist to motivate you. Then put it on shuffle and repeat that way you aren’t distracted trying to figure out what song is coming up next.
The reason you should put it on repeat is so that you don’t have to stop what you’re doing just to cue up a new playlist or just give you an excuse to not do your work.
Avoid eating too much or working on an empty stomach. If you eat too much you are more likely to feel lethargic and less likely to work. If you’re hungry then you won’t want to work since your stomach will constantly be distracting you.
Avoid caffeine since it’s a stimulant and most stimulants tend to cause you to crash. When you’re crashing you lose motivation and lose your desire to complete your work.
If you’re like me and don’t like the taste of water since it’s too bland for me, then go with a nice juice. The more natural the juice blend is; the better. Don’t over-hydrate either since nothing worse than becoming a slave to your bladder and nothing more distracting than the constant urge to have to go.
Don’t take too long of a break and don’t take them often. F
or every 90 minutes of work you put in you should take a 30 minute break at most. This way you don’t get complacent; I recommend in using a timer. I use my phone’s timer since it’s rather obnoxious; the thing will go off for 30 minutes straight vibrating and ringing until you stop it or the time is up.
If you are using your phone and it’s vibration feature keep it in your pocket or somehow attached to your body by means of a holster or breast pocket so that you can feel it.
Make Your Breaks Productive
On break, take a load off and watch a show or play a quick game; but don’t forget about the assignment and use this time to think about it just without the pressure of having to produce words that are coherent.
Get Some Fresh Air
Sometimes a bit of fresh air can really clear your mind, mainly just to get the blood flowing again since it has been pooling up from sitting for long periods of time.
It doesn’t hurt to be out either since the air inside is so stuffy and can really put a damper on creativity.
If you have the time, walk around the block once or twice and then spend whatever time you have left resetting your work place; that means getting all the clutter off the desk and a beverage to drink before you get back to work.
This is part one in a two-part series of tips for preventing and overcoming writer’s block.
About the Author: Audrey Porterman is the main researcher and writer for doctoralprograms.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Ohio State, with a degree in business management. Her current focus for the site involves social work phd programs and psychology doctorates.