There is no doubt that college and university students face the same dilemmas throughout their young, academic careers. Whether it’s late assignments, whether to socialize or study, or pulling all-nighters, student’s share the same pain. It’s also safe to say that one of the biggest and most widespread problems is the all-mighty writer’s block. University professors and teachers assign really complex and controversial essay topics that students must research and analyze in order to produce a well-written academic piece of work. From philosophy students to history majors, from statisticians to art history buffs, writing an essay can be quite the challenge if you are not equipped to handle it properly.
What causes writer’s block?
Though this problem is extremely common among college and university students alike, the causes vary on several different factors. To pinpoint one exact cause is irrelevant, but there are some likely suspects as to what causes it.
Usually there are some hard deadlines for essays and research papers that students need to complete their essays by, otherwise they risk losing major points on their assignment overall. Students either don’t use their time effectively and save everything for the last minute, or that the professor has given an extremely short time to complete the assignment. In either case, time, or lack thereof, is the problem. With a ticking clock looming above your head, it’s hard to focus and concentrate, which leads to some major writing blocks and possibly a worse paper.
Sometimes there are overachieving students who need everything to go perfectly in order to feel good about their work. Perfectionism in theory sounds good because you’re motivated to produce good work, but it’s a double-edged sword. You criticise yourself too much and have the urge to revise and erase and in some cases start all over if you’re not satisfied with your result. This leads to a writer’s block that is extremely difficult to overcome, as nothing will satisfy your needs.
Living a student life can be very exhausting, especially if you’re juggling work and social life as well as your academic life. Students tend to be tired throughout the day and have very little energy to study or even write a paper. As writing papers usually take quite some time, sometimes student’s low energy levels don’t allow their brain to function at a normal level, leading to blocks in creativity and thoughts which can hinder the progress of their essays.
Lack of Knowledge
Most higher level courses in university require critical thinking skills and a solid foundation of the material learnt to write a proper essay. If students don’t study or read up on a topic that was assigned for an essay, it’ll be insurmountable to climb over this writer’s block. Knowing the material is half the battle in writing academic essays and research papers.
Solutions on How to Easily Beat Writer’s Block
Although writer’s block can be caused by many factors, there are just as many, if not more that can help a student climb over that wall and get to the other side to freedom. These tips are meant to give you motivation and solutions around the problems you may be having.
Make an outline
Writing out your ideas and thoughts can lead to a very structured essay, and make the writing process much easier. Knowing what information to include and where to put it is basically writing your essay for you. This step should be the first you take in trying to overcome writer’s block.
Take short breaks
If nothing is coming to mind when you’re staring at a blank page, take a break and come back in a few minutes. Maybe with a refreshed state of mind, you’ll be able to begin writing or pick up where you left off.
Usually your assignments have guidelines and rubrics on what to include and what you’ll be graded on. Make a checklist to visualize what you’ll need to write in order to get good grades on your essay.
Distractions can easily ruin a train of thought and lead to writer’s block. Consider removing these distractions from the room and away from you so you can focus your attention to your essay.
Read something interesting
Sometimes your creative juices aren’t flowing and you need something to jumpstart them. Reading a short story or article about an interesting topic may get your creative juices flowing again, and help you overcome your writer’s block.
Eat brain food
Sometimes the food you eat affects your brain activity, and eating unhealthily will have adverse effects on you. Instead, eat healthier foods like fruits and nuts, that can provide energy for your brain and help you write your essay.
Do something else
Sometimes you just need to step away from the computer and focus on doing something else to clear your mind. Cleaning or watching a TV show are some examples of things you can do before you return to writing your paper. Be careful not to get to involved in these things and that you can return to your computer and be productive again.
Get your blood pumping
Research says that getting freshly oxygenated blood to your brain increases your productivity and energy levels. Consider doing a quick jog or physical activity to have your heart pumping that blood to your brain, and you’ll quickly see the results.
Listen to Music
Some people are audible learners, and listening to music helps them do work. It can have the effect of relaxing and soothing someone’s mind, which is great if you’re stressed and need to overcome writer’s block. So load up your playlist, put on your headphones and get to work!
Ask for help
An underrated tactic in overcoming writer’s block is to ask for help. Whether its from a roommate or a classmate, or even your professor, asking for help can prove to be very beneficial for writer’s block. You have other input from different minds which can lead to different trains of thought you didn’t have before.
Whether you’re pressed for time or you’re just not feeling it, writer’s block comes in many different forms and does not discriminate. Find a tip that works for you – and hopefully you’ll be on your way to writing your A+ essay instead of banging your head against the keyboard.