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6 Easy Tips to Break Writer’s Block

If you’re not swamped with essays right now, I envy you. Coming up to the end of the semester, it can be hard to pound out those words onto the keyboard, especially if your brain has already gone into summer mode. I feel that, genuinely! However, overcoming writer’s block can be easy if you prepare for it ahead of time. Here are my top six tips to shake off that block and get writing!

Write down ideas when you have them

Personally, I carry around a pocket-sized notebook everywhere to jot down quick thoughts when I have inspiration, but I also have a bunch of notes on my phone for quick grabbing topics — some for essays, some for Her Campus articles, and even one for creative writing! This way, you can just go back through your notes when you have writer’s block and remember all of the things you can actually write on. 

Pick what you’re passionate about

No wonder you’re blocked if you pick something you literally do not care about at all! If you pick a topic to write on that you enjoy, it should be easy to get the words on the page. For essays, try to spin the questions into your interests. Are you a history major in a Film Studies class? Pick a historical fiction and talk about what the filmmakers got right and wrong! Looking at articles as well, it is so much easier to write on what you love. Do you listen to music in your spare time? Watch YouTube? How about arts and crafts, or even the latest news?

Don’t be self-conscious, write it for yourself

One of the biggest things that stops me from actually writing is imagining someone else reading my words. It’s honestly like listening to your voice on a tape, and that’s just gross. Instead, write like you’re teaching yourself or making a note to yourself. Make sure that you personally understand what you’re saying, and try to write it like you’re trying to refresh your memory on the topic in a few years. You will thank me later, this tip really works!

Get out in the world

As in intrapersonal learner (check out this blog to identify what you are — it’s so helpful!), I work best when I can personally identify a similar situation from my life to what I am learning in the classroom. The best way to do that, of course, is to actually have experiences! Even if you don’t learn like I do, going for a walk, watching the world around you, is so helpful to defeat writer’s block. This is also where your notebook or phone notes come in handy!

Don’t have a set plan in mind

Sure, you should always have some idea of where your writing is going, but don’t stick to it like glue! Going off course or changing direction may be all you need to break out of your funk. If your thesis doesn’t change at least, like, three times, you’re probably not thinking hard enough about your topic. 

Learn more about what you’re writing about 

Listen to some YouTube videos or read a quick article. You should learn something new, and hopefully, that will inspire you, even if not in a way that you ever expected. 

Happy writing!

Madeline McInnis

Wilfrid Laurier '19

Madeline graduated from the BA+MA program at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2020. In her undergraduate degree, she majored in Film Studies and History with a specialization in film theory. She later completed her Master's of English degree, where she wrote her thesis on the construction of historical memory and realism in war films. If you're looking for a recommendation for a fountain pen or dotted notebook, she should be your first line of contact.
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