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5 Hacks for tackling writer’s block

I know all too well the feeling of sitting down to write a piece and feeling my mind draw a complete blank. Writer’s block is very real and can affect writers from any skill-level.

From years of having to produce written content for work or university, I have mastered a few tips to help you come out of writer’s block and get back to creating great content.

1. Brain dump

Brain dumps are an easy way to help ‘declutter your mind and thoughts‘. Although the term ‘writer’s block’ implies that you may be having a lack of thoughts, the issue can often be that you have too much on your mind and your brain does not know how to prioritize and organize all the information within it.

How to brain dump:

  • Sit in a quiet place with no distractions (no devices, no other people, no noise)
  • Grab a blank sheet of paper and a pen
  • Optional: Set a timer for 5 minutes or less to try to write down as much as possible
  • Start writing everything that comes into your mind. Some of the information may seem completely irrelevant, but trust me…get it out on the paper!
  • Once you are satisfied with what you have written down, take a look at what your brain had going on inside. You can choose to cross out the irrelevant thoughts, and reorganize the information that you were able to come up with

*Writer’s Tip: Try out a ‘bullet journal’ as a way to organize your thoughts. See one available for purchase here.

2. Step away from the page

Forcing yourself to write when your mind is not ready will never go well. One of the best things that you can do in that case is to step away from your writing and come back to it at another time. If it is available to you, I would recommend getting outside in nature and staying offline during this time. Being alone with your thoughts can help your brain have some time to rest and refocus on what is most important.

3. Get the information out in another way

A creative way to overcome writer’s block is to produce the content in another way first. This could be singing a song, writing a poem, or talking about the topic orally with a friend. Have fun with it by incorporating it into something that you enjoy doing. For some of us, the content is readily available in our brains, but the process of writing it down is what is difficult, so choosing another creative way to express what you want to write about may help you to figure out the best way to turn that into a written piece.

4. Build an outline

My favourite way to start any written piece is to first, map out an outline. This may sound like an unnecessary task that your English teachers probably forced you to do in high school, but seriously, it is the tip that has helped me the most with my writing.

Many times I have too many ideas floating around in my head, so as a visual learner, it is important for me to see the content mapped out in order for me to feel like I have a grasp on the task at hand. I will start with a basic outline including the point I want to make in the introduction, the body, and the conclusion, and then from there, I will keep filling in the outline with more details as they come to me.

Figure out what your learning style is with this interactive quiz!

5. Pace yourself

Another one of the biggest takeaways that I have from university is learning how to pace myself with my written assignments. I am NOT someone who can write an entire academic paper in one night. I have a certain bandwidth when it comes to writing, which I always take into account when I am tasked with a writing assignment. For example, if I have a term paper due at the end of the month, I will map out my entire month around how much writing I want to do on that paper each day. I like to start out small, like giving myself the first week to come up with the topic and a very basic outline. In the second week, I will task myself with finding research. Then, I will dedicate the last two weeks to writing the paper. By pacing myself and ensuring I have ample time to write, I never feel stressed out about completing the assignment, and I have the option to take a day off if my writer’s block feels insurmountable that day.

Enjoyed these tips or have any tips of your own? Leave a comment!

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