How to Overcome Writer’s Block

(Photo Source: Alun Salt)

Writing isn’t easy many of the times we sit down to write.  Overcoming writer’s block at the time that we have it can seem near impossible.

Here are a few tips to help you conquer your creative woes:

Find the locations where you feel the most creative

Find the times of day you feel most creative and write down ideas

You may not want to write your entire essay while you are in the shower in the morning, but if that is where you think of all your great ideas, you may want to keep a pen and paper on the sink counter.  You may not even be conscious of these times.  If this is the case, try to go through your normal routine one day and make note of all the times you are feeling particularly creative.  The next day you should bring some method of recording your thoughts and ideas during these time periods.  Having a notepad, PDA, smartphone, voice recorder, or laptop readily available during these times can make a huge difference.

With all the ideas you have recorded during these creative peaks of your day, you can now begin the brainstorming and writing process without having to start from scratch. (Note: some examples of these creative peaks are right before bed, right when you wake up and certain idle times during the day like commuting when you aren’t doing analytical or conscious decision-making.)

Ask someone who knows you for help with ideas

This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked.  You may not remember times or events that would make good writing material, but a friend, family member, or coworker might.  Don’t be shy about it.  If writing this essay is important enough to you, you should ask for help at least with ideas.  Thinking of a few ideas does not take much effort on another person’s part, and if they can’t or won’t, try someone else that is familiar with you and your experiences.  You may also want to consult someone that has written the same essay or personal statement for a similar program.

Take a break

If you are tired, burnt out, or just not being productive, taking a break and coming back later can help the writing process.  Not everyone can get their writing done in one sitting, and many times it is preferable to stop work and come back at a time when you can review what you have written with a fresh perspective.  You will be biased towards what you have just written.  Taking a break can help you revise your essay or come up with new ideas to expand upon it.  It will also give your mind time to subconsciously mull over the ideas of your essay.  The term “sleep on that thought” was created for just this reason.

Eat something healthy

There are supplements like Ginkgo Biloba, Siberian Ginseng (also known as Eleuthero Root), Ginger, Fish Oil, Gotu Kola, and Ashwagandha Root that can help with brain function; however, just eating some fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains can really help you in the right direction.  Eat a banana, blueberries, or an apple.  The potassium and magnesium in the banana along with the B vitamins in the blue berries and the quercetin in the apple all help with brain function, energy, and alertness.  Eat some salad with various colored vegetables, and eat a piece of whole grain bread.  Ditch the fast food and soda.  Caffeine may keep you awake and the food may taste good late at night, but the crash from the caffeine and your hypoglycemic reaction to sugary soda and starchy take-out will leave you feeling even more tired than before.

It is difficult to think when you are hungry and even more difficult when you feel like you are about to fall asleep.  That’s why eating right while you are writing can make a real difference in the way your body and mind function.  Keep this in mind for those times where a late night snack at a fast food joint may seem both delicious and necessary to keep your writing process chugging along.

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