We’ve all had to write, at least one time: a paper for a grade, just for fun, or for any other reason. After hours of thinking and analyzing the topic we want to write about, we have finally managed to get inspired. We begin our draft with this inspiration, and the words flow like a river. That’s when, all the magic happens and…and…hmm…BOOM! What was I going to write?…That’s right. The muse, once again, goes out for a walk.
Like I was saying, you’ve probably been in this same exact situation. If we try to write what we had in mind before we forgot what it was, it might not turn out as well as we wanted or as good as it sounded in our heads. Sometimes we are so focused on writing that simple sounds, such as conversation, phone calls and music, can explode our bubble of ideas, causing us to lose complete focus. Other times we are so concentrated on finishing the writing that we lose the thread of ideas in the middle of it. Usually, this happens because we feel so overwhelmed that we become our own obstacle. There isn’t a clear answer to “why can’t I keep writing?”.
Many people try to force themselves to keep going, even if they spend more time trying to reach out to their muse than finishing the writing. Forcing the words and sentences so that the writing flows and has coherence doesn’t work out as expected. This situation, when we are stuck in the same sentence or blank page, can be known as writer’s block—or in spanish as “el bloqueo de la página en blanco”.
But, you should know that this is more common than you think. Writing isn’t easy, and it’s even less so if you run out of words. For me, as a writer, it happens all the time, and I hate it. The frustration I feel when the words just don’t come out when I really want to write or when they are most needed is inexplicable. Then, I start losing interest because of the simple fact that I can’t continue with the initial idea, and that’s how perfect excuses for not writing begin to come up. So this brings the question, how can we recover inspiration when the words no longer flow?
Here are some tips that could help you get your paper done:
- Play with the order: This is one of my favorite techniques! Sometimes we know how we want to end our document even before starting to write it. So, why start with the first sentence if we already know its ending? Once you have written the ending, start asking yourself: How do you want it to get there? What do you want to happen before it ends? Most of the ideas don’t come right the first time, and we tend to start forcing them. Words can be like a puzzle; you just have to find how they will fit.
- Read it all: Are you stuck? Then, read everything you have until now, and try to notice where you want to expand the thoughts that you already have or what you would like to emphasize. If that’s the case, you can search for articles, definitions, or additional information to refresh ideas and make your thoughts flow. If it’s a paper for a grade, try reading the instructions again so you can refresh your memory about the main topic. Review what you have until now, and write the new ideas you came up with.
- Set a mood: Sometimes our environment affects how we feel and what we think. This is why you should change your writing spot or change the space around you. Eliminate the things that can be a distraction. You can set your area with some background music that you can listen to while writing, light a candle so the scents calm you down, or try to adjust the lighting in the room. If necessary, search for a place that gives you a calm vibe and inspiration.
- Get more eyes: Share your writing with someone. But, don’t ask them what they think of your writing because that could influence your thoughts. It’s better to ask what they understood or what idea they were able to interpret. That way you could know if you are going in the right direction. Also, it’s worth asking what was difficult for them to understand or read. With that, you should know what you have and should be working on. Listen to their answer, and you could be surprised.
- Random: Write the first thoughts that come to you, forget the order, or how good or bad it sounds. It doesn’t matter either if they are sentences, phrases, or words. Use this as a raw draft of your ideas. Now that you have written all the ideas randomly on your paper, read them, and see if you came up with something to elaborate any of them or make connections. Repeat this process as many times as it’s needed. After you are done, find the logic between the ideas and organize them. Add a sentence that connects the paragraphs if necessary. This is ideal when you have a topic to write about, but you can also try it out if you just want to write.
Writing isn’t easy, as I said, but it can be really fun. You can write on paper, on your phone, or your computer. The important thing is to focus on one paper at a time and use your muse as long as you have it. Don’t hurry, chill, and enjoy the process. Remember, you never have to be in a rush to publish unless it’s a paper for a grade that has a due date that you can’t miss.