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Combating Writer's Block

Combating Writer's Block

Author: Mackenzie W

Identify strategies for combating writer's block.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, everyone. I'm McKenzie, and today we're learning about combating writer's block. Have you ever had the feeling that your brain just isn't working? It's difficult to come up with ideas? In this tutorial we'll learn about the definition of writer's block, we'll discuss the writing process and writer's block, and we'll learn about ways to use the writing process to combat writer's block.

We'll begin by discussing the definition of writer's block. When I say writer's block, what I mean is the feeling that you are stuck. You mentally feel like you can't figure out what topics to write about, what to say, or how to put your ideas into writing. Writer's block is totally normal. And the good thing is that we can actually use the writing process to help us to not only combat writer's block, but to also come up with better writing than we would have without having had the writer's block.

When we're experiencing writer's block, we can actually use the writing process to help us come up with ideas of what to write and how to write it. And here's how. First we think about brainstorming, the very first part of the writing process. If you get stuck because you have writer's block, brainstorming is there to help you. Brainstorming is helping us to come up with ideas, and that's the whole problem with writer's block in the first place is a lack of ideas. We can revisit the brainstorming step. Even though brainstorming typically happens at the beginning of the writing process, it's OK to use brainstorming, even if you've already started writing your paper.

Then we think about the pre-writing part of the writing process. Pre-writing includes tactics such as outlining. If you've already made an outline for your paper, take a look at your outline. Look at the ideas that you decided to include in your paper. That might help you to refresh your ideas about what you wanted to include. Or if you haven't created an outline, go ahead and write one. Decide what you want to include in the paper and when. Which topics are most important? That may help you to generate some ideas.

We can also revisit our thesis statement. We wrote a thesis statement to help guide our discussion of the paper, and we can revise that, or we can revisit. If you revisit the thesis, remind yourself of what the goals were for the paper. Or, maybe the thesis isn't quite working for you and you want to change it. That's perfectly fine if that's going to help you to come up with the ideas for your paper.

Then we think about the drafting stage of the writing process. Drafting is when we write down our ideas in the paper. This is also problematic when we have writer's block, because we're not sure what to write in the draft. The nice thing about drafting is that it reminds us that the writing doesn't have to be perfect. We know that we can go back and we can change things. We know that one draft of the paper isn't the way the paper has to stay. And that can help us to simply write things even if we know that they are going to be permanently in the paper. It does help us to continue to generate different ideas for the writing.

The revision stage of the writing process also helps us, because, when we go back to revise, we're rethinking what we've written. We can generate new ideas based on being analytical and revising our preexisting ideas. The paper doesn't have to be complete for us to use the revising stage. Even though the revising stage typically comes later in the writing process, we can use revisions at any time. We can think critically and analyze whether or not we've written our ideas in the best possible way.

We can even use editing and proofreading. This is helpful if you feel like you're stuck, but you want to feel motivated to work on the paper. If you feel like you're being productive, it helps you to then come up with more ideas because at least you're working on the paper. These are the ways in which we can use the writing process to help us when we're experiencing writer's block.

Here are a few more ideas for us to consider when it comes to using the writing process to combat writer's block. The first of which is that we need to trust the writing process. The writing process works if we're using it correctly. It helps us to come up with excellent writing. But we don't come up with excellent writing right away. The first time you write something, you can't expect it to be perfect or brilliant. You can simply expect that it will be some piece of writing and that we're going to need to work on that writing. Just like a sculptor sits down with a piece of clay, that sculptor has to work with the clay until it's a piece of art. Your writing is the same type of way. You may write something, and you may decide to change it because it's not quite the way you wanted your paper to sound.

We also have to be flexible when we're using the writing process. Sometimes people get really stuck on the writing process, because they're too attached to the outline or the plan they created for their writing. Or they're too attached to the thesis, and they don't realize that they can change that thesis. We have to be flexible, and we have to realize that things may change. As we continue to write and we continue to think about the ideas we're communicating in our writing, we may want to change things. And that's perfectly fine. That's all part of the writing process. As long as we use the writing process effectively, we revisit different steps in the writing process, and we're flexible about what we write and how we write, it we will come up with a successful piece of writing.

In this tutorial, we learned about the definition of writer's block, we discussed the writing process and writer's block, and we learned about ways to use the writing process to combat writer's block. Keep your ideas flowing. I'm McKenzie. Thanks for listening.