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Overcoming Writer’s Block

At Citation Machine, our goal is to make your research and writing as effortless as possible. Even though our writing and citation tools help save you time, you may encounter the dreaded Writer’s Block. 

Why do people get Writer’s Block in the first place?

A big reason students face Writer’s Block is the stress associated with trying to get a good grade. Writers often experience stress for many reasons. It could be because you have a deadline due and you’re apprehensive of meeting it, or could be self-imposed stress because you set high standards for yourself. It can also be unrelated, as stress from family, relationships, and other classes may take a toll on your ability to write. 

When stress takes place, your brain shifts control over to your limbic system, which is responsible for fight or flight responses, and away from your cerebral cortex, which drives much of the creativity behind writing. This explains why you might feel uneasy when you feel those moments of being stuck. 

What are ways to help fight Writer’s Block?

1. Structure your time

In the workplace, the Pomodoro Technique is widely used. This is where after 25-minute periods of work, a 5-minute pause is taken, and after four 25-minute periods, a longer 20-minute break is taken. Try the Pomodoro Technique, or some variation of it, and be sure to include our grammar and plagiarism tools as you structure your time.

2. Play games

Seriously. Stress and Writer’s Block occur when you lose focus and concentration. Fortunately, it’s natural for anyone to lose concentration. Studies show that our minds are able to focus for up to two hours, and this varies from person to person. So you should definitely take a break after 2 hours (or sooner). What better way to reduce stress and get you out of a mental funk than by playing games? The catch is, you want to play the right games. Games where you might be ultra competitive can cause more stress, and addictive games might prevent you from getting back into a writing groove. We recommend games like Solitaire, where you can play online for free.  

3. Try Meditation

We know, you’re not going to learn meditation overnight. Fortunately, we have a shortcut called the 4-7-8 technique. Take a deep breath in for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, and exhale for 8 counts. Do this sitting up right a few times. You’ll hopefully feel more at ease, less stressed, and ready to write again. 

4. Avoid procrastinating

Student life is hectic, but the easiest way to get stressed out is to have to write a 20-page paper the day before it’s due. If you take it slow and start your paper in advance, you’ll feel more relaxed and may end up finishing it even faster.

5. Change your environment

If you get stuck while you’re at the library, it may be because you’re not feeling inspired. If the weather’s nice, try working outside, or maybe grab a seat at your favorite coffee shop. Get some inspiration. Listen to some new music, find a few inspirational quotes, or talk to a friend. Sometimes a new perspective jumpstarts the creative juices. 

Bear in mind, these techniques aren’t mutually exclusive. For example you can structure your time where you set aside periods to write, take breaks to play a game of solitaire, and do some mediation.

While a magic cure for Writer’s Block is still just a dream, we hope that these easy techniques will help the next time you’re writing and feel stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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