Dealing with writer's block
As an IAE student, you are bound to encounter writer’s block as you trudge through the academic year writing 9 PMAs and a dissertation. It’s that moment when your mind goes blank, your train of thought comes to a complete halt and you have absolutely no idea how to proceed with your work.
This can happen rather often and it’s the reason why many of us end up staring at the computer for hours without getting much work done. Here is a compilation of tips and tricks you can use to combat writer’s block and regain your productivity.
#1: Write one paragraph a day
I found this tip particularly useful when I needed to submit a draft of my dissertation in the midst of back-to-back modules and PMA deadlines. I chose this goal of writing one paragraph a day as it was easy to accomplish, and it made sure that I was always making incremental progress with my dissertation.
While a paragraph may not be much, getting a paragraph written does kickstart your train of thought, and more often than not you’ll end up writing more than just one paragraph. Even if you only end up writing one paragraph a day, you will still end up with over 2 pages of material to expand on after just a week of writing! This is certainly better than not making any progress at all.
Achieving multiple small victories goes a long way in giving you the motivation and confidence to make incremental progress in whatever you do.
#2: Put your thoughts into bullet points
On some days, you can have many ideas, opinions and thoughts about your PMA or dissertation. While you are completely inspired to write, sometimes you may struggle with putting your jumbled-up thoughts into words.
Trying to consolidate your thoughts and phrasing them in complete, structured sentences is probably one of the most difficult things about writing in general. It’s also natural to also want them to be perfect once we’ve written them down, but sometimes our brain doesn’t want to cooperate that way.
In such scenarios, I’ve always resorted to putting all my truncated thoughts into bullet points. While they don’t have to make much sense initially, these little ‘eureka!’ moments do form the foundation for some really great content and should be captured nonetheless. These thoughts will slowly start to make sense when you revisit them at a later stage, and then you can take the time to pick your thoughts apart and slowly work your way through.
At the end of the day, it is crucial to commit to write something on a regular basis. It does not have to be a lot – any progress is always better than none.