6 Stages of Writer's Block & How to Cure Them

Writer’s Block. We’ve all heard the term, we’ve all (unfortunately) experienced it. That moment when you just can't think of how to form your words, your ideas, how to write them down, or how to even start to think about writing -- that’s writer’s block. It’s when your writing process just reaches a giant stop sign.

If you’re in a major that involves lots of writing, you probably come across this term more often than you’d like. You understand the struggle deeply. But even if you don’t write that much, it’s possible to fall victim of this condition quickly and without warning. Not to worry, many do. Check out the many stages of this horrid condition and how to possibly cure them.

1. Brainstorming

Sometimes the struggle of writer’s block comes in the form of a block in brainstorming. You cannot think of an idea to write about or how to even begin to think about thinking of idea to write about.

How to cure it: Looking for ideas? Check different resources! Google is magic. Also checking up on some current events and pop culture events going on with news sites could be useful. Even social media like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. My favorite source when I want to write an article about pop culture is checking the trending topics on Twitter and also using E News to see what’s happening. Another great source is other people. You can ask your friends if they have ideas, too. Input is always welcome.

2. No motivation

This stage of writer’s block is one of the worst. In this stage, you’re just “not in the mood” to write. You avoid it at all costs. If there’s a choice between cleaning your room or writing a paper, you might even choose cleaning...

How to cure it: Try to incorporate your interests into your writing. Look for ideas that you genuinely want to write about that’s intriguing and will keep you motivated. Another way to get your writing done when you’re lacking motivation would be creating rewards for getting things done. Have a 10 page research paper due? Plan out your work and each time you finish a page, reward yourself with a break for a snack or coffee. Or create a system where you know you can only go out to get dinner with friends on Thursday if you finish two paragraphs of that article you have due next week. It will motivate you to get things done-- trust me.

3. Too many thoughts // organizing thoughts

During this stage, you may not be able to write because there’s too much going on and you need clarity. You might need a nice, quiet, peaceful space to get your creative-juices flowing, or maybe some calming musicI know it helps me! I have certain writing playlists that help calm my thoughts and organize them. Check them out here!

How to cure it: Go to a serene place that you can get work done, whether it’s the library, a coffee shop or a park. I tend to struggle when I’m in my room sitting on my bed because it’s so easy to become distracted with a roommate or with your pillow…right there…waiting for you to rest your head. ALSO: Make an outline! Outlines work wonders with organizing thoughts. It will help you figure out what thoughts are important to keep and which you can forget about. Clarity is super important in writing, so this can be a great tool.

4. Editing

Writer’s block can also arise in the editing stage. For example, you’ve written an essay and you’ve read it at least 12 times and you’re just so sick of reading the same words over and over again. Or the block happens if you just can’t think of how to rework something to make it clearer.

How to cure it: Have others help edit! Peer-editing is a perfect method to cure this. Have others put their thoughts and suggestions down. Have lots of peer-editors. The more, the merrier, right? Also, give yourself time away from your paper or essay and then come back with a clear head, such as going to bed and read it again tomorrow.

5. Procrastination // meeting the deadline

This one is pretty self-explanatory. 

How to cure it: Time-management is key for this stage. Plan things out. Make time for mistakes and your idea to go wrong or your paper to need lots of editing. Do not wait until the last minute to get something done. Think about all the time you’ll save if you finish things earlier rather than later.

6. Don’t Give Up!

Remember-- do not give up! Keep trying to make your writing better and enhance it. See different resources like tutors, the Writing Center, professors! You’ve got it and you can always improve.

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