What is it? First of all, writer’s block does NOT reflect poorly on you as a writer. It happens to everyone. • Writer’s block is situational anxiety when it comes to writing. It is when a writer does not know what to say or how to say it in their writing.
General Issues Regarding Writer’s Block • Writer’s block is not the same thing as procrastination: • People who procrastinate do not want to do their work and thus put it off or do something else instead. • People with writer’s block want to write but are oftentimes unsure of where to begin.
Where does it come from? • There are a variety of reasons you may have writer’s block, such as: • Stress; school-related or otherwise • Insecurity of your writing skills • Time constraints • Not being familiar with the topic about which you are writing • Fatigue
What to do… • Take a break • Don’t isolate yourself • Ask for help • Collaborate • Build confidence • Focus on your strengths • Don’t ask too much of yourself • Relax and try to de-stress • Ask yourself questions
Issues Regarding Writer’s Block and Research Papers • In the case of a research paper, Writer’s Block likely stems from two separate yet interrelated factors: • You do not feel ready to begin writing with confidence. • You feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that you have gathered. • Both of these situations are indications that you need to invest more time in the pre-writing processes (critical reading, note-taking, brainstorming, free-writing, concept-mapping, and old-fashioned thinking.)
Methods of Organizing Your Research • One of the keys to successfully utilizing your research is to maintain a strong understanding of how the research is going to be used in the paper. Your research is not simply a big block of information that you break up into smaller parts and insert into the paper in the form of quotations. • As you reread your sources (and the notes that you have taken on the sources) look for overlapping/intersecting ideas and start to group the ideas into a specific sequence or hierarchy based on the thesis. These sequences/hierarchies will evolve into an outline, and you can decide where your research (and where individual sources) best fit into the argument.