Writer’s anxiety, also known as writer’s block, is an informal term used to describe an unenthusiastic and anxious feeling about writing. It is quite common.
Used as an incentive, writer’s block can become the spark needed to pursue a different attitude by bringing thoughts together in different ways and resulting in better writing.
Writer’s block can be the result of a great variety of social, academic, and personal factors which increase the writer’s stress level and interrupt the flow of ideas. The good news is that there are ways to overcome these issues and return to writing. Here are some practical steps to help writers release their potential.
Brainstorm and Organize
Begin with a blank sheet of paper or a computer screen. Write down the topic, and then write everything that comes to mind. Don’t worry about grammar and editing. Simply list various ideas for the topic.
Then organize these ideas in a logical order and find the central idea. Start the first draft by expanding each thought into sentences and then paragraphs.
Uninhibited writing is a nonstop, timed writing task designed to uncover ideas. It has no rules or forms to follow.
Write down any topic at the top of the page. Then, set a clock for five or ten minutes and start writing. The purpose is to write for a short, specified period of time, keeping the hand moving until time is up. Do not stop during this time, even if nothing seems to flow. Write gibberish if needed. Do not form any judgments about the writing. When the time is up, go back over the text and identify ideas that will carry over nicely into an article.
Like brainstorming and uninhibited writing, grouping is writing without any clear ideas. Choose the word which is central to the article or document, and write this word in the middle of the paper. All around it place the words that are related in some way. Write quickly, grouping them around the central word and connecting the new words to the previous ones.
Since grouping doesn’t have to be logically built and well structured, it allows exploration of new insights without committing them to a particular order.
The last suggestion is called spinning. It refers to the idea of taking a previous document, reading it, setting it aside for a few minutes while mentally revising it, and then writing it again in a new and different way.
Using one of these exercises should have generated a list of possible topics that can, one by one, be expanded into articles and papers with a new twist.
Whatever method is chosen, it is important to know that writer’s block is not permanent. Situations constantly change which forces a new look at the world. That new outlook forces changes in the brain which manifests itself in new thoughts and ideas. Those new thoughts and ideas result in the breaking of any block that impedes writing.
Above all, do not give in to the block and let it win. Fight around it to find a way to continue writing.