Have you ever found yourself staring at a blank Word document, attempting to write a paper, but not even knowing where to start? Watching the time pass, thoughts start to float through your head like “What’s wrong with me?”, “How did I make it to college when I can’t even write an introductory paragraph?” I’m sure we can all relate to that feeling. It happens to everyone at some point; even the best writers experience the dreaded writer’s block. Overcoming writer’s block, and getting that initial paragraph down on paper, can seem impossible at times. I’m going to share with you a simple tip that will make writer’s block a lot less intimidating.
When people experience writer’s block, they often describe it as feeling as if there is nothing in their head. No thoughts. No words. Nothing. In reality, that’s probably not the case. Most likely, the true problem is that there’s too much up there, and it’s fogging your ability to think clearly. Until you get all of those thoughts down on paper, that blank page is going to stay just that: blank. If you are one of those people who believes that writing your thoughts down, and creating an outline before starting the actual paper, is going to take too much extra time, listen up! What if I told you that if you took 10-15 minutes to outline your paper and write down your initial thoughts, you would likely cut the time that you spend staring at a blank screen in half? Would you consider creating an outline then?
Outlines are the best way to ease writer’s block and ensure that you do not forget to include any of those thoughts piling up in your head. Outlines take some time and can seem tedious, yes. But, they save a great deal of stress and frustration in the end. Some people are intimidated by outlines because they think that they need to follow a formal outline format, similar to what was introduced to us in middle and high school. Guess what? That is no longer the case. There is no specific formula that makes up a good outline. An outline is simply a way for you to write down your thoughts and put them in an order that makes sense for your paper. It can be as detailed and precise as you make it. Or, it can be a brain dump where you scribble down what’s on your mind and take it from there.
Regardless of how you go about it, make an outline. Don’t let writer’s block get the best of you. Your time is valuable, so don’t waste it when the solution is so simple.