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Writer's Block

Writer’s block is a common issue which many students encounter at some point. It happens when you find yourself unable to write, despite having the skills and a strong desire to do so. It can arise when faced with a blank page or screen resulting in screwed up pieces of paper, over-use of the delete key, hours of pacing and feelings of fear and frustration.  

Identifying the causes of your Writer’s Block 

A good starting point is to identify the underlying causes of your writer’s block. Here are some of the more common ones. Can you identify with any of these? 

Fear of being judged: Completing the task requires an end assessment and you may be concerned about this; receiving criticism or praise may be difficult for you. 

Perfectionism: Setting yourself extremely high standards and fearing falling short of these standards, as this would feel like failure. 

Defeatism: You no longer believe in your ability to work because you have been unable to on many other occasions, and no-one can convince you otherwise. 

Moving out of Writer’s Block 

  • Try freewriting on the topic for ten minutes. Just empty your thoughts onto the page without editing. This can help you to overcome ‘blank page paralysis’.  
  • If you are struggling, move on to an easier task which doesn’t require as much thought. This will get you into the flow of writing and give you a sense of achievement which in turn will increase your motivation.
  • Ensure that you have regular breaks to refresh and relax. Avoid trying to write straight through the whole day. Take a break at least every hour. It’s better to leave your work at a point when you can pick it up easily, and if you are struggling you will do better when you have had a chance to refresh 
  • Try to ignore any critical voices in your head. Don’t aim for ‘perfect’. Reassure yourself that you can do this. Writer’s block is a part of the writing process that you can overcome.  

See also… 

Warwick University Study Blog: ‘Overcoming Writer’s Block’

You may find the video below helpful: