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5 Ways Students Can Get Over Writer’s Block

The insidious nature of writer’s block makes it a dangerous trap for students to fall into. It can strike anytime and often at the most inopportune moments. Getting out can be a challenge, especially when work is piling up. To blast your way out of writer’s block, try these five tips.


Free Form Writing

Often online liberal studies degree students get so caught up in writing a quality paper that they prevent actual content from being written. Rather than trying to craft the perfect sentence on the first try, change your focus to getting everything on paper and worrying about quality on subsequent reviews.

Start writing and don’t stop until everything is on paper. Set a timer and commit to write for the entire period without breaks. Jump in the middle of sentences and leave unfinished thoughts as necessary. Just don’t stop writing. Once all the information is actually on paper, go back and edit for a cohesive essay.

Block All Distractions

With smart phones and laptops, it’s easy to fall prey to the endless distraction of social networking and websites. Even the familiar hum of your favorite coffee shop or sofa in the library can become a distraction. Shut down all your devices and get somewhere new to write, preferably somewhere without access to the Internet. Once you’ve cleared your mind of all distractions, you can focus on producing your paper.


Outlining is an easy,but effective way to overcome writer’s block. You can get all the facts and figures on a single page and use that framework to produce a paper. Sit down with your notes and start arranging them in a way that makes sense for the paper. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer a traditional outline or thought mapping, as long as you get the entire gist of your paper on a single sheet. From there, it simply becomes a process of creating paragraphs out of those thoughts.

Talk It Out

Speaking is rarely the challenge writing is for students. Starting a dialogue feels more natural and less stressful than crafting the perfect lines on paper. Next time you encounter writer’s block  try to talk it out rather than writing it out.

Grab a friend and start explaining the paper to them. The natural conversation progression will result in questions that you can incorporate into the paper and give you a better outline for your paper. If you can’t find a friend or fear the subject will bore them to death, take a tape recorder. Once you’ve exhausted your knowledge, listen to the recording, asking questions along the way.

Let Your Work Sit

While this suggestion won’t work for students trying to churn out a paper right before it’s due, those students with a few days left before their paper is due may benefit from letting their work sit overnight. Get up and go for a walk or do something creative. Take the focus away from the paper and clear your brain. When you sit back down in a couple hours or a day, the words will flow more freely.

Writer’s block doesn’t have to be a long term affliction. In fact, a simple change of scenery or change in task can bust through it. Next time you find yourself staring at a blank document, use these tips to get your next paper done in time.