How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Writer’s block happens to the best of us. One minute, it feels as if your hands are typing on their own accord, ideas flowing freely and with purpose. Then all of a sudden it’s as if you’ve hit a brick wall, and you’re amazed at your lack of creativity and your inability to organize words  in even the simplest fashion.

Working in the writing center, I have seen many clients who need help coming up with ideas for their assignments. I, myself, encounter this problem with almost every project that I am given.

Well, how do we fix this?

Certain invention strategies prove to be very beneficial with helping to generate ideas on any topic. These strategies help one to explore and discover new possibilities just by uncovering techniques that allow you to pair ideas together in seemingly unconventional groups. The following strategies usually lead to new, cool ideas and help you battle writer’s block:

Freewriting: This is pretty self explanatory. You just write about a topic without stopping, usually unleashing however many ideas you can for a specific amount of time. Writing freely like this, with no concrete direction allows you to not pay attention to grammar or mechanics and just write what comes to mind.

Looping: This is free writing, but with more intent. Begin by free writing about a topic for a few minutes. This will be considered as your first “loop”. Reread this first loop, and try to find an idea that seems to be the most captivating. Construct a short sentence that analyzes that idea, and begin your second loop with that as the starting point. This combines free writing and analysis, enabling you to narrow down more important issues within your topic.

Clustering: For this strategy, you will need to start with one word. This word should relate to the topic that you are writing your assignment about. Write this word on blank paper and put a box or circle around it.  Then fill the rest of the page with words relating to the starting word, making a web of connections.

Tagmemics: The tagmemics strategy forces  you to see your topic in a different light. Envision your topic as being represented by “X” and ask yourself: What is X? How has X changed over time? How does X relate to Y or Z?

Journalist’s Questions: Just ask yourself who? What? Where? When? Why? And how? This is a strategy that is most helpful when describing a topic to someone or informing an audience on an issue.

Use these strategies to your discretion and for more information check out this website!

Questions to ponder: Have you used any of these strategies before? If so, in what ways? Which did you find to be most useful?

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