It’s seven PM, you are staring at a blank screen with a deadline looming for that report you should have written weeks ago, and like trying to shake a bad habit you promise yourself this will never happen again.
Have you ever encountered this? Writing apprehension is one of the most common problems among young students to college professors. But there are some solutions to make your writing more fluid and not overwhelming.
In her article in the October 2019 edition of Monitor on Psychology, Charlotte Huff outlines some productive ideas in her article “How to Be a More Productive Writer”.
The author lists seven solutions in dealing with the dreaded writer’s block. They include:
- Develop a regular schedule: Place time on your calendar for writing before the writing is due. Even if it’s a short window of time each day, dedicate that time for writing.
- Embrace Mini-Sessions: Huff suggests that it’s the 15–30-minute sessions are the most productive and easiest to get through. Certainly, easier than the all-night cram session. These sessions should be scheduled after breaking up the total time needed for the project into the right size in order to meet your deadline.
- Stay Accountable: Like all habits we try to establish; from exercising to spending time with loved ones, you must make writing a priority and avoid rationalizing the skipping of writing sessions.
- Manage Distractions: Make an effort to move the cell phone into a different room, close the door, put on headphones, and tell your house mates that you are in “silent time”. To be successful, this will require the cooperation’s of both your discipline and others.
- Write now, edit later: I’m a big proponent of this one. I find that the action of simply writing without concerns about typos, spelling errors, or other structural problems keeps my writing flowing. I try to get a rough group of writing, perhaps, three or four paragraphs down on paper before I check spelling or grammar.
- Control the startup pain: This includes the act of just jumping into the action of writing. Some like to excessively think about what needs to be written with nothing committed to paper. My recommendation is to jump right in. Even if it almost makes no sense, your natural rhythm should eventually kick in and coherent thought should emerge.
- Prioritizing your Projects: This is important when you have multiple projects running at the same time. Understanding which needs to be done sooner than later and then budgeting the right amount of time to meet deadlines is necessary to prevent becoming overwhelmed and eventually blocked.
- Seek Flow: This is one of my own. Flow is when you are in a place where time flows by without you having to track it. When this occurs, take advantage of this condition by being as productive as possible. You’ll be surprised on how much you will accomplish in your work and get closer to completion.
Writing does not have to be a dreaded task and can be a very relaxing and reflective time. Whether you write professionally or for personal uses, take advantage of this opportunity to be as productive and effective in your writing. -R. Baron (maldenconsultants.com)