When someone experiences “writer’s block,” a creative obstruction that hinders students’ work and affects their grades, it can be frustrating. Students with approaching deadlines may feel increased anxiety as expectations and pressure gradually build.
Here are common causes of writer’s block, and some suggestions to overcome it:
- You are tired. Both mind and body need adequate rest to function normally. When you are sleep deprived you are less likely to be in a clear state of mind, making it harder to turn your thoughts into words.
- You are anxious. Anxiety can be manifested by anything that is currently bothering you and causing a feeling of unease. Whether it’s the date of submission or the task of reciting an essay in front of the class, anxiety can be a distracting factor that can affect your state of mind as you try to work.
- You are distracted. Notifications from phone apps, social media, news, and favourite TV shows may prevent you from working.
- You feel pressure. Both external (deadlines, expectations, and requirements) and internal pressures (mental stress and problems with concentration) may be a factor in how you handle expectations.
- You doubt yourself. You may start to beat yourself up before you begin working by deciding your work isn’t good enough or that you aren’t knowledgeable about a certain topic. Excessive self-doubt can impact creativity, hindering both your potential and self-esteem.
Although psychological in nature, many of these factors can also impact us physically. Mental stress can affect physical health through symptoms like headaches, sleeping problems, and fatigue. How we manage thoughts and worries can either add stress or reduce it. To overcome writer’s block, address these common factors and deal with them directly.
Some solutions include:
- Get some rest. If you’re tired, take a short nap. People who are well-rested are energized to start working.
- Express what’s bothering you. Write a list of reasons you are anxious. This helps organize thoughts and clear your mind of anxiety. If you struggle with oral presentations, try practicing your speech with a friend.
- Stop the distractions. Mute your phone and turn off all notifications — better yet, power down the phone altogether . Find a place with minimal distractions that is conducive to working, like the public library or a quiet cafe.
- Clear your head. Take some time from your desk and the computer by going for a walk. Blow off some steam by talking to a close friend or family member.
- Practice. No essay is perfect on the first draft. Even the work of professional writers requires substantial editing and proofreading. Let go of your need for perfection and work on being comfortable writing at your own pace and learning from mistakes.
Many students who are writing essays can feel overwhelming amounts of pressure which can affect their creative process. Eventually, pressures can add up and cause writer’s block. Meet the common causes head on and deal with them as soon as possible.
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