How To Prevent Writer’s Block

Top 5 Tips to Overcome Your Writer's Block | by Sarah Force | The Yale  Herald

Even the greatest writers struggle to proceed with their writing due to writer’s block. This may be because either they are unsure what their next sentence should be or because they are unsure how to phrase their thoughts. Whatever the reason may be, writer’s block is very frustrating especially to those who write as a hobby or need to write a college paper.

Therefore, we have formulated an approach to writing that eliminates the struggle of writer’s block. With this writing structure, you will know exactly what your next sentence will need to convey because it is a “follow-up” of the previous sentence. So, here is a breakdown of how to write an introduction paragraph, a body paragraph, and a concluding paragraph:

Introduction: Oftentimes, people consider the very first sentence of an essay or story to be the toughest to create. This may be because teachers and professors claim that the first sentence should be a “catchy” sentence that grabs the reader’s attention. The truth is that it doesn’t need to be an attention grabber; it does, however, need to be an informative sentence that you will expand on in the next sentence. The first sentence should be a fundamental statement about the topic you are writing a paper on. For example, if you were told to write an essay answering the question: “Do grades really matter in the modern educational system?”, the first sentence could be a statement such as “It is a firmly held belief that only those who achieve the highest grades in the class can get the highest paying jobs.” While this sentence is not anything “flashy” or anything that will stick out towards the reader, it is a statement you will be able to expand on in follow-up sentences, and that is what’s most important.

For the second sentence of your essay or story, ask your first sentence, “Why?” In other words, the second sentence of your writing should answer the question, “Why did you write the statement you created in your first sentence?” Not only will this prevent writer’s block by knowing what your sentence should be, but it will ensure your ideas are flowing smoothly. In the example provided above, the second sentence of this essay should answer the question, “Why is it a firmly held belief that only those who achieve the highest grades in the class can get the highest paying jobs?” Think about the reason in your head before writing it down. Here is one example of a second sentence: “In a highly competitive world, careers such as doctors or lawyers only wish to hire those with the highest GPA as they appear to be ‘most competent’. ” The second sentence should provide a reason for why you created your first sentence

For the third sentence of your essay or story, ask your second sentence, “So what?” In this way, the third sentence should answer the question, “Why should the reader care about what you wrote in the second sentence?” Here is where you begin transitioning into your main idea of the essay or story, all while avoiding writer’s block. Thus, in our example, the third sentence should answer the question: “So what that high paying jobs will only hire those with the highest GPA? If they are truly the ‘most competent’, what do we care?” For this example, you can answer the question, “So, what?” by saying that your second sentence is not true: “However, this is not the truth; in fact, academic performance has little impact in one’s success in their later life.” This follow-up sentence answers the question, “So, what?” by critiquing what was stated previously and why this is imprtant to the theme of the essay.

The fourth and final sentence of the introduction should begin to introduce what the essay should be about. It does not have to start with, “In this essay, I will….”, but it does need to state that, through research and reasoning, you will show what the main idea in your essay is. Here is a plausible example of the fourth sentence to your introduction: “Through the analysis of various sources, we can see that there is far more to one’s success than their lack of A’s and B’s.”

Now, let’s look at the introduction paragraph as a whole:

It is a firmly held belief that only those who achieve the highest grades in the class can get the highest paying jobs. In a highly competitive world, careers such as doctors and lawyers only wish to hire those with the highest GPA as they appear to be the “most competent.” However, this is not the truth; in fact, academic performance has little impact in one’s success in their later life. Through the analysis of various sources, we can see that there is far more to one’s success than their lack of A’s and B’s.

While not perfect, this is a solid example of an introduction paragraph because it keeps your ideas flowing and prevents you from being stuck on what to write. Let’s see how to prevent writer’s block in our body paragraphs and concluding paragraph:

Body: As expected, the body paragraphs are where you begin to use evidence from other sources. It is difficult to create a breakdown of sentences for the body paragraph as the sources could say anything, but make sure to explain why the source you used is important. For example, if your sentence says, “According to John Willis, ‘Most jobs on sites such as Indeed focus on previous experience rather than GPA’ “, your sentence should explain why this is important. That means literally using the words, “This quote shows” or “This idea shows that”: this way, your professors or readers know why it should concern them and, in the case of the former, it shows to professors that you are, in fact, engaging the readings. Here is an example of a follow up sentence: “This idea shows that academic performance is not the prominent factor in determining success, but rather, it is previous experience.” Rinse and repeat this procedure of explaining quotes whenever referencing a source, and you will create a convincing argument while not having to struggle with writer’s block.

Conclusion: The final paragraph is where writer’s block seems to kick in the hardest. After all the arguments you have created throughout your essay, you need a relatively concise way to sum up everything. With this writing structure, however, all you need to do is follow the same structure as you did in the introduction paragraph, but phrase the words differently. Therefore, your first sentence of the concluding paragraph should be a restatement of the first sentence in the introduction paragraph. Then, just like before, ask your sentences “Why?”, then ask “So what?” and end with a thoughtful statement. Here is an example of a conclusion paragraph: (Notice that this article did not include any real substance in the body paragraphs. You do not need to worry about the body paragraphs to create a strong conclusion)

As shown by (these sources), grades are not the primary factor in determining one’s eligibility for employment. Rather, there are more important features of a job candidate that affect how successful they become such as experience and friendly nature. Therefore, if one does not sport the highest GPA, it is not as big a deal as society makes it. Perhaps, the time spent worrying about grades could be spent trying to find employment as it will prove more meaningful in their future endeavors.

If you are one of the many writers who suffer from writer’s block, it is not because your ideas are weak and it is certainly not because you are an uncreative person. Rather, it may be because you did not have the best writing structure to express your thoughts. With this structure, however, you know exactly how to respond to your sentences and, hopefully, as the New Year approaches, writer’s block will be a thing of the past. A new year of writing is about to emerge and people’s creativity is only growing bigger; let’s usher in an incredible year of writing and communication and most importantly, let’s kick out of our lives the infamous demon and nuisance of writing that is writer’s block.

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