Academic Writing: How to Deal With Writer’s Block
Several situations can combine to cause a block as you engage in academic writing. This block is what is usually referred to as writers’ block. The number one culprit is anxiety. As a student the best thing to do is probably talk to your tutor. Let’s look at a few case scenarios and see if we can find solutions for them.
a. Attempting to start your academic writing without any previous preparation.
A student will naturally get stuck doing this. It is counterproductive. To quickly get out of this situation, use invention strategies. Write down your primary ideas in bits and pieces; this will give you a clearer picture of what you want to write. Develop these bits and pieces and you have your outline. Having an outline makes it easy for you to plough along. Remember that a good academic writing does not materialise overnight.
b. You have a topic that you consider to be boring how to write a cause and effect essay .
A boring topic can effectively kill the creative spirit in you. To get past this, find an aspect of the topic that is of interest to you. Tackle your essay from this stand point. You may be pleasantly surprised to find you actually enjoy the topic. Another alternative would be to talk to your tutor assuming you have one. Discuss with your tutor how you can personalise your topic and make it speak to you.
Before going into any form of academic writing, you need to stop this from happening. Consciously stop the negative thoughts in your head and replace those negative thoughts with positive comments about yourself. Be productive and tell yourself you can do it. It may be useful to develop a ritual to help you get past this freeze phase. You may need to chew a gum or hum a song. The focus is to motivate you to write. At this point, come back to the task at hand and rehearse it. You will be surprised at how easily you will begin to write afterwards.
4. Anecdotes from the scientific discoveries/contributions of great men/women of the past and present: Aristotle; Eratosthenes (measurement of the circumference of the earth); Ptolemy; Copernicus; Tycho Brahe; Johannes Kepler; Archimedes; Newton; Einstein; James Hutton; Charles Lyell; N. L. Bowen; Alfred Wegener; Harry Hess; and many more names that are worth mentioning in Earth Sciences.
5. Space exploration always fascinates students: anecdotes of Lunar exploration; Mars missions and life on Mars; Jupiter and its clouds and moons; discovery of new stars and other galaxies outside our own; and other similar explorations.
6. There are several facts that intrigue and fascinate most Earth Science students: a. Deepest mine in the world b. Deepest bore hole in the world c. Comparison of the above numbers with the radius of the Earth This can show them how little we know about the earth through direct observation. d. Compare these distances with the distance to the Moon These numbers can raise questions like “how come we did not go too far down inside the earth” and “how come we went almost quarter of a million miles to the moon”. e. Latitude and longitude and their use in navigation and the time zones f. Deep sea drilling and the mid-fifties project to drill past Moho into the mantle g. The election of President John F. Kennedy and his pledge to land a man on the moon h. The theory of continental drift and the evidence for it i. The fascinating new theory of Plate Tectonics and its development