Writer’s Block

Writer's block is a natural and normal feeling of being "stuck" when writing. It is often rooted in conflicting feelings about how to best include relevant information in a writing assignment.

What to do:

  • Make notes, freewrite, brainstorm, or journal.
  • Work on a section at a time, or begin in the middle of the paper.
  • Simply say out loud what you mean or want to say.
  • Make in-text notes in parentheses where you are having trouble so you know where to return later, and continue writing.
  • Talk out loud about your paper to yourself or someone else. Someone else may be able to ask questions and help you know where to elaborate or simplify.
  • Re-evaluate who your audience is. Reading the paper from a differing perspective may give insight into what is missing or nonessential.
  • Identify the purpose or goal and how it can be attained.
  • Take breaks. Go for a walk, do relaxation techniques, anything that helps clear your mind.
  • Review what is already written or re-read the assignment. It may remind you of your purpose.

What NOT to do:

  • Do not strive for perfection in your first draft. Avoid editing until the first draft is complete.
  • Do not wait for inspiration. Waiting only leads to procrastination.
  • Avoid using phrases such as "due to the fact that…" to search for an idea, as they often lead nowhere.
  • Avoid being overly self-critical and ruminating on negative thoughts.
  • Do not give up!