What Might Be Happening
- Procrastination – you put off writing until the very last moment (if even then).
- Block – you can’t get started. You keep throwing away those first few lines. You read the assignment and nothing happens. You wonder about the best place to start writing.
- Distraction – as in “everything is a distraction.” You sit down to write and the next moment you’re lost in Facebook-landia, or you’ve gotten up to make food, or you’re brushing your teeth, or you’re at the pet store.
- Illin’ – you’re physically ill every time you sit down to write. Chills, stomach ache, headache, sweat, etc. — one or more.
- Stressing about some other thing that needs to be resolved
- Needing the writing to be perfect in order to get the grade, or prove something, or show the professor, etc.
- Overcaffeination — often combined with
- Lack of sleep
- Actual distraction
- Unfinished preliminaries — you haven’t done the research or completed that writing that was supposed to be done first (like a thinking draft).
- Assignment Not Understood
- Problems in dealing with letters and reading (e.g. undiagnosed dyslexia)
Things to Do (they may not all work for you, but you can’t win if you don’t play)
- Spread things out — don’t try to write everything all at once or even in two or three bursts. Write a little each day, every day.
- Write a little each day, every day. Make writing a habit. Reward yourself for doing 15 minutes of writing. Maybe a little choccy or a quarter in the piggy.
- Move away from distraction. The TV. The phone. The roommate. Find a quiet space.
- Read. If you’re stuck on a writing assignment, read a little more research. More digging may provide a spark or, at the very least, may get your headspace aligned with the project.
- Visit the Writing Center. Having a conversation with a writing consultant may scrape away some stress and may help you see the project in a different way.
- Go for a walk.
- Set a small goal and achieve it (e.g. laundry, organizing email, cleaning closet, etc.)