Overcoming Writer’s Block When Writing College Papers | Reference Point Software
Every college student suffers from writer’s block at some time. This article gives tips on how to overcome it, from getting exercise to using formatting tools.
Physical exercise is important for mental activity. Take a walk round the block, get on your bike or go to the gym. Get some fresh air in your lungs and more blood circulating in your brain. Don't think about your paper while you're exercising. Give yourself permission to take a mental vacation for a short time so you can come back to your paper with a clear head. Take a pen and notebook along though, in case the ideas start coming to you as you exercise.
Is your work space conducive to writing? Are you comfortable and able to focus? Find somewhere quiet to write that doesn't invite interruptions. Make sure your desk or table and chair are at the right height for you to work and turn your cell phone off. Some people find the right kind of music is inspirational and helps them to write, but if you use music as an aid, use instrumental music that doesn't have intrusive vocals.
Get your research materials together and have another look through them. As you do so, consider your subject from different points of view. Ask yourself, what do you want to say and why? Get a pen and paper and write any and all of your thoughts down as they come to you. Don't edit your thoughts; let them flow. Even if you think you'll probably throw most of your ideas away, keep writing them down. If you're still struggling with ideas, brainstorm with a group of friends. Eventually you should come up with enough ideas so that you can write an outline. From there, you have a framework to compose your thesis statement and continue writing your paper.
Just Start Writing
If you can't settle your thoughts about your subject and you're running out of time, start anywhere that comes to mind where you have something to say. It doesn't matter if you start in the middle of your paper and work around that, as long as it helps you get your thoughts together and creates writing momentum. Even if your writing seems to be nonsense at first, have faith that inspiration and ideas will occur to you that you can build on. Use anything to get the words flowing from your mind onto the screen. To get past writer's block, you have to write. You can change as much as you need to later with some strong editing.
Focus on the Primary Points
One way to trip yourself up when writing a college paper is to focus on the minute details before you iron out the main points. For example, your instructor will typically assign you a specific formatting style. If you are new to applying the APA or MLA guidelines, or if you switch frequently between styles, it can get confusing as to the proper format for headers, margins, citing references, pagination, and so forth. If you have to stop and take time to research the correct formatting as you write, it can interrupt your thought processes. Instead, consider using formatting tools to handle these details for you. With formatting tools, you can be confident that your paper will adhere to the latest guidelines so you can focus on the quality of your content.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Plaut is the founder of Reference Point Software (RPS). RPS offers a complete suite of easy-to-use formatting template products featuring MLA and APA style templates, freeing up time to focus on substance while ensuring formatting accuracy. For more information, log onto http://www.referencepointsoftware.com/ or write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reference Point Software is not associated with, endorsed by, or affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) or with the Modern Language Association (MLA).