Avoiding Writer’s Block

  • Keep a pad of paper and writing implement close by - you never know when inspiration will strike! (A phone app also can serve this purpose.)
  • Do not assume you must write your paper in order - feel free to start in the middle and then work forwards and backwards!
  • Do not spend more than a few minutes staring at a blank page. Instead, take a walk, wash the dishes, fold laundry, etc. Your brain will keep working on your paper even when you are not actively trying to write (or even aware that you are thinking about your paper).
  • Talk to a friend or family member about your topic. As you discuss your area of inquiry, you might stumble upon an idea that you simply needed to hear yourself say out loud.
  • Any writing project can be envisioned as a collection of chunks. A lengthy writing project might include many sections and sub-sections, but even a one-page project likely will need a distinct beginning, middle, and end. Rather than viewing your writing project as a single, unapproachable unit, instead look at your project as a series of chunks; set writing goals that focus on these individual chunks. Aiming to complete a draft of an entire project might feel daunting, but aiming to complete a draft of a single paragraph, page, or sub-section likely will feel more approachable. You are in control of how many chunks your project includes.