How many times did you end up spending hours in front of a blank Word document just because you were unable to think of an efficient way to put your thoughts into words?
Here are a few tips to prevent this from ever happening again.
1- Prioritize ideas over structure. Do not approach your writing assignment from a purely stylistic perspective that only aims to produce elaborate word combinations and complex sentence structures. Focus initially on getting your idea through using the fewest possible words and leave embellishments to the end. Remember that readers won’t be impressed by your sophisticated style of writing unless they are able to grasp your point first.
2- Come up with an outline. Even when you do not have a clear idea of what you want your end product to be, you must be able to draft a brief outline of the topics/notions you would like to address. This outline serves as a skeleton for your writing assignment, helping you visualize your ideas and weave them together as you proceed.
3- Do not wait for inspiration to fall upon you. Never think that you’ll wake up one morning with showers of otherworldly inspiration streaming down your head and suddenly become enlightened about how to structure your next piece of writing. It just does not happen this way. You cannot just sit there doing nothing and expect to be magically struck by inspiration.
4- Unplug. You need to minimize distractions in order to focus on writing. This includes eliminating the urge to check your social media channels every two seconds while working on an assignment. Checking out people’s random selfies can wait. Please.
5- Jot down a few keywords. Sometimes just scribbling down a few key terms can get the words flowing. Try to think of five terms that you would like to use in your piece and take it from there.
6- Set deadlines for yourself. One way to go about it would be to set a personal deadline for finishing your piece that falls prior to the actual deadline. This allows you to discipline your writing routine and minimize the risk of turning in your work late.
7- Read. Not just books. Anything. Absolutely anything that you find interesting in some way. The Internet is full of unexpected wonders and hidden gems.
8- Keep an eye out on the little details around you. Even when you haven’t actually got down to the process of writing a piece, keep the topic in the back of your head as you proceed with your daily life. Sometimes a small, insignificant detail you come across can tickle your imagination or even change your approach to a certain topic.
9- Never fall victim to perfectionism. There is no such thing as a *perfect* piece of writing. Stop wanting to improve and embellish stuff at the last minute. Learn when to stop and move to something new or else you might very well end up stuck with the same piece of writing for the rest of your life.
Cover credit: Helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com