It’s about that time of year again: the semester is underway and you are handed the topic for your first essay. After four months of summer, you sit down to write and find nothing but a blank Microsoft Word document staring back at you. The thoughts just aren’t flowing. Students and professionals alike often find themselves in this situation. But how do you find your way out of the slump? Some point to going outside, exercising, and/or eating, but I have found the following to be most effective:
Read. Reading is one of the best ways to get back into the groove of writing. Find some of your old essays or blog posts and read through them. Reading through your own work will help your brain remember your own writing style, and will help to get your mind back into the groove of concocting that killer thesis you know you are capable of.
Research. Whether it is the topic for your assignment, or just a topic that interests you, explore it. Though seemingly counterproductive, researching your interests will open up your mind to absorb different facts and writing styles. Researching information will also help your mind to think about things and form opinions, a key component to writing a killer piece.
Talk it out. If the words just don’t look right on paper, don’t write them down. Find a friend, roommate or neighbor and talk to them about your thoughts on the assignment. Bouncing ideas off another person, and engaging in their responses, will stimulate your brain into creating stronger opinions. This just might help bring your mind back around to the academic way of thinking.
Whether you are a student or a PR professional, writing is an important part of your career, so it is imperative that you rise above. But every writer knows that your thoughts on assignments can become stale. So the best advice is, if you can, walk away. Take a break from the assignment and focus on something else for a while. Once you walk back to that Microsoft Word document, you will be able to get right back into that comfortable groove you can’t believe you ever fell out of.