In today’s video, I thought I’d offer five
tips to deal with writer’s block when you’re struggling to get words on the
page. My first tip is to edit rather than draft. Go ahead and go to the top of your
manuscript and just carefully read through what you’ve already written.
Either comment using the track comment feature or actually go ahead and start
revising as you go down the page by rereading what you’ve already written
and doing small revisions. Hopefully, you can get that push you need to continue
drafting once you’ve reached the end of your document. My second tip is to look
for gaps in your research. So again, start from the top of your manuscript and
carefully read, looking for areas where you can see that a citation could be
useful that isn’t yet there. Once you read through and you mark down all these
places where you can use some citation, consider the sources that you already
have saved and also realize that you might have to go out and look for more
research that meets those areas that you need to more work on. That way, you can be
productive in finding the research you need when you’re ready to start
drafting again. If those first two steps still seem like too much work, my third
tip is to actually work on the other features of the genre that you’re
writing. So, for example, the works cited page or bibliography
might need some work or might not exist yet because you haven’t finished a draft.
Still, I’m sure you’ve already included some citations, so go ahead and work on
that feature of the genre. If you have an abstract, footnotes, or endnotes, these are
other areas you can work on revising, as well. My final two tips are actually to
help you with drafting. First, create small sections in your manuscript rather
than telling yourself “Well I’ll have to write the literature review right now,” consider
“Well I’ll have to write in the first paragraph of this section about this
topic and that next paragraph should be about this topic and the next paragraph
should be about this topic.” Then look and see, “Okay, well I feel most comfortable
with the topic of paragraph B” and so start there instead of
paragraph A. By having these small sections, you might have a stilted feel
to your writing that can be revised and smoothed over in revision. So having small
sections to work with rather than large ones can help you start drafting little
by little. Finally, if even section drafting feels
overwhelming, consider actually doing a detailed outline for each section
rather than trying to draft the section as a whole. In this way, you might even
think to yourself, “Well, let’s draft the topic sentence of this paragraph and in
the second one and the third.” And then you might have, “Okay, well, what quote do I
think will work for each of these topic sentences?” “All right, well, what do I want
to say about each of these quotes and how they support the topic sentences?”
“Alright, what’s my next step to transition in between this paragraph?” In
this way, you’re almost drafting the whole section, but you’re thinking about
it in small parts rather than as a whole. These tips were inspired by just how
much writer’s block I’ve experienced in this past academic year. In my blog post,
though, I talked about how I’ve created a writing routine to use this summer to
kind of smooth my way into writing larger and larger pieces of my
dissertation. So, if you want advice on creating a writing routine, go ahead and
check out my blog post that I’ve linked below. In my next video, I’ll be sharing
tips for lesson planning for the fall semester. So, if you want to make sure not
to miss out on that content, go ahead and click “Subscribe” below. I’ve also linked a
blog post I wrote about my top productivity tools for writing.


  1. Great tips Erika! I never thought about rereading what I already written but that sounds like a good idea. 👍

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