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How to Deal with Writer’s Block

by Sherry Li

Writer’s block is a commonly occurring theme among students and even professional writers. Most of the time, students don’t know how to start a piece of writing, end it, or make it sound intriguing. In this article, we will discuss how to deal with writer’s block and tips on overcoming it.

What is Writer’s Block


In simple words, it is when a writer has an overwhelming feeling of being stuck in the writing process and unable to continue writing. Most commonly a feeling of no motivation or inspiration to write more. It’s like turning on a faucet but the water has run out. Over a period of time, it may feel very frustrating and cause a bad mood.

Self-doubt is actually a big part of writer’s block. In the 1970s, two Yale researchers named Jerome Singer and Michael Barrios studied a group of “blocked” professional writers in a variety of fields. After several months, the researchers discovered that there are four main causes of writer’s block.

  1. Writers felt constrained by the “rules” of writing and struggled to find their own style.
  2. Writers would often get angry if something they created went unnoticed.
  3. Writers worried that they weren’t good enough.
  4. Writers didn’t want their works to be compared to others, resulting in a fear of writing anything.

Tips on How to Solve it

Shonda Rhimes, a famous American television producer gave eight tips on overcoming writer’s block:

  1. Take a break. Do something else for a while, and return a few days (or week, or months) later to view your work with a fresh eye.
  2. Jump ahead. Write smaller pieces of the article, story, or writing project without knowing where they fit. The important thing is to keep going. A lot of problems are resolved in the doing. Avoid areas of high difficulty. Just write. You can always rewrite the first draft—make use of that freedom and get stuff down. Then come back to it.
  1. Pretend you’ve never read your work before. Start at the beginning of the work and read it through. This can make it obvious where you’ve gone off track.
  2. Do something else. Get away from your desk. Do the laundry. Go for a walk. Real-life events and observations are key to keeping your idea box full and can serve as the inspiration for your best writing.
  3. Create a deadline for yourself. Time pressure can create focus and can force you to make decisions that you may be avoiding.
  4. Make your process more visual. Unsure of how to continue a section or chapter? Turn to diagrams, Post-it notes, or just plain pen and paper. Sometimes, visualizing the problem can help.
  5. Do something thoroughly mundane. Monotonous tasks like showering, cleaning, and so on make your brain go on autopilot, leaving the creative side free to daydream about all kinds of things—including how to solve the issue that’s causing your writer’s block.
  6. Freewrite. This is good advice for any kind of writer. Write without pausing to worry about sentence structure, grammar, spelling, or whether what you’re saying makes sense or not. Just write without second-guessing anything. While most of it will be unusable, it’s a good way to push through the block.”



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