Fighting Writer’s Block When You’ve Got a Deadline

It’s two days before your term paper is due and you can’t think of a thing to write about. Your mind is blank and the words just won’t come no matter how you approach the project. You’ve come down with a case of writer’s block and at a most inconvenient time. Of course, you’re not alone. People have been dealing with writer’s block since writing was invented. While there is no surefire cure for creative blockages like these, there are some ways that you can help fight through them and get that term paper written despite your brain’s best efforts to stop you.

Write something. Anything. Can’t figure out how to start your paper? Who says you have to start at the beginning? Sometimes all you need to do to overcome writer’s block is to just write. At worst, you’ll throw what you’ve written away. At best, you’ll have actually proven that you can, in fact, physically write.

Make an outline. Your writer’s block may be caused not by a lack of things to say but by not knowing where to start. Lay out what the main topics of your paper will be and the facts or citations you’ll use to support them. Then, you can start working sentence by sentence to put these ideas into paragraph form. It’s an uphill battle, but you’ll get there.

Take a break. Generally, you can’t force creativity. So it might help to step away from your paper for a bit and come back when you’re relaxed. Of course, you’ll need to be honest with yourself about whether or not you’re just procrastinating or whether you really need a break to regroup.

Know the difference between stalling and writer’s block. Writing a paper probably isn’t the way you’d choose to spend the evening if you could choose, but schoolwork needs to be done. Often, what feels like writer’s block is just procrastination popping up and encouraging you to do the work later. Remember, it won’t be any more fun to do later than now, so get it over with.

These tips can help turn your blank mind into one filled with ideas, or at least a reasonable trickle of them. Try them out so writer’s block won’t sabotage your efforts to write a paper and your grade in turn. You may just find that they give you the boost you need to break through and get that writing done.

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