As most students and all professional writers know, writer’s block—the feeling of wanting to write but sitting at your computer with nothing to say—is a frustrating but common occurrence in the drafting process. Whether for students who are generally loath to write an essay or those who even write for fun, most will have a point in their writing careers when they just can’t think of what to say. IB English tutors with Aegis Advisors, many of whom have struggled with writer’s block themselves, are experts in what to do when the writer’s block hits. Here are some of our experience-proven tips.
- Do the research before writing.
Our biggest tip to writer’s block is to remember that writing does not just happen. When students are expected to write an essay on a book, they need to actually read the book, not just for content but with the intention to write about it in the future. Our IB English tutors know that the best way to avoid writer’s block is to be prepared with the topic, including doing one’s own research. If a student finds themselves with writer’s block, but also doesn’t feel comfortable with the material, they can go back to the research and use their time wisely to gain more background. This helps dually with crafting a better paper and feeling productive despite writer’s block.
- Start where you want, not where it starts.
Many developing writers believe that a paper must be written from start to finish. Our IB English tutors know this does not work for everyone, especially those experiencing writer’s block. We suggest starting where a student feels most excited or confident. For example, say a student does not quite know what their thesis will be, but they have a great idea for a body paragraph, start with that! After the student has something written down on the paper, the rest of the essay can flow from there and not always in chronological order.
- Take and break and come back.
Sitting at the computer and waiting for the perfect sentence to come often does not materialize and can make a writer even more stressed. Our IB English tutors suggest that if a student had been at their desk for 30 minutes and feeling writer’s block, the student should begin a different task, preferably one that is active and allows the mind to wander. This could be going for a walk, cooking dinner, playing a game with a friend, or listening to music. Our brains are powerful tools and do well with mind-body connections. Giving the body a purpose by moving can often stimulate new thought patterns and help writers think through ideas for the essays.
- Plan ahead and expect writer’s block.
Our final piece of advice is to expect writer’s block. Our IB English tutors see writer’s block having the worst impact on a student’s performance and wellbeing when they do not plan ahead and begin the writing process early. If a student begins their essay three weeks in advance, creating an outline with their IB English tutor, finding quotes they like, doing outside research, and writing and revising slowly, writer’s block will not tank their grades. Because they are spreading out the process, one night of writer’s block is okay and expected. They can just take that night off and work on something else, coming back to the essay with a fresh brain the next day. For students who plan to write an entire essay the day or two before it is due, writer’s block is disastrous. They have not given themselves to experience writer’s block and if and when it occurs, it can be even more stressful than normal because of the looming deadline. This scenario creates poor results. We highly recommend planning early and giving time for writer’s block to come and go without too much stress.
Overall, writing is a difficult pursuit, made even more so by the presence of writer’s block. When this happens to a student, try some of Aegis Advisors’ tips from expert IB English Tutors to avoid stress and achieve success. In addition to these tips and tricks, our tutors are experts in all major curriculums, subjects, and test prep. Reach out to us to learn more about our services and how we can all students accomplish their goals.