Five ways to combat writer's block during finals

Emily Rowsell


In university, as semesters come to close, you'll be ramping up for exams and final papers.

I know as well as the next student that sometimes we can get to a point where we just can't bring ourselves to write the next part of the essay. Sometimes the words won't come to your head and you sit there stuck.

You know what we call that? Writer's block! But fear not, there are some solutions you can try to get back into the groove.

1. Eliminate distractions

Chances are your writer's block isn’t even writer’s block at all! It’s “well I was just trying to find a song to listen to on YouTube and now I’m watching a video of cute puppies” block.

Puppy falling

What do I suggest? Download a playlist offline or organize a study playlist on your phone and then shut off the Internet on your laptop!

I find if I do the research first and then turn off my Internet so that all I am focusing on is my writing, I don’t get distracted by the lure of new Instagram photos, or Facebook feeds to be refreshed!


2. Documentary break

Netflix has a section for documentaries or you can even find some on documentary-driven sites such as Vice, Discovery or National Geographic!

If I am really stuck during a paper and am in need of some creative inspiration, a good documentary or short video series never fails to give me the motivation to get moving on my work.

It’s almost as if seeing someone else’s words, research, and ideas for a documentary come to life inspires me to get a move on with my writing.

Even if you don’t see yourself as a documentary person, you’d be surprised how many are out there and I’m sure at least one will appeal to you!


3. Play some study tracks

Sometimes you have to block out the outside noise around you and the best way to do that just might be popping in your headphones and listening to pure instrumental tracks!

Mouse listening to music

8Tracks has some good instrumental study playlists that can get you into the creative vibe to get to writing. All it may take is a good upbeat tune to get you back into the writing groove.

So take a second to get some instrumental tunes going and sit down to start writing the next awesome paragraph in your paper.


4. Go out for a walk

If you find you just cannot write the next section of your paper, it might be a good idea to close your laptop (save it first, of course) and go out for a walk to clear your head.

Cat riding a dog

You could also opt for other physical activity, like a run, a game of basketball with a friend, or an hour a trip to the gym.

Sometimes getting a bit of exercise and a change of scenery will give you the break you need to sit down again to finish writing with a clear mind and fresh ideas!


5. Sleep

If it's 2 a.m. and you are experiencing writer’s block I think I might be able to give you some assistance here— pack it in for the night!

There's no sense trying to write while you are sleepy. I've done that in the past and it's noticeable. “Street art that exists in the street” was one of the recent gems that resulted from me trying to write late at night.


Save yourself the trouble of editing out mistakes in the morning and give yourself the sleep you deserve, you’ve been working hard, it’s time to treat yourself.

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