7 Ways to Jump-start Any Student Out of Writer’s Block
These two words alone are enough to bring fear to the most seasoned of writers. And truth be told, just about everyone has suffered from it at one time or another. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fiction author working on your next story or a student writing the final essay of the semester. Across the Internet, you’ll find articles with tips from writers like Ernest Hemingway or Maya Angelou. You’ll also find tips for doing away with the malady of writer’s block completely and finally harnessing the creativity of poetry. Or busting free of a slowdown in fiction writing and finishing that awesome story.
But what if you’re a student starting your very first essay?
Sometimes, that blank paper can seem so overwhelming as a student. Whether you’re teaching math or history, you probably know exactly what we’re talking about. Yet, part of teaching students how to write is helping to motivate and inspire them past that fear. These tips will help you jump start them out of that writer’s block and save the day!
Identify the Reason for Their Writer’s Block
Our very first step is one of the most crucial. Every student in your classroom has their own passions, fears, challenges, and hopes when it comes to essay writing. Sometimes, just talking about the source of the writer’s block is enough to get a student writing again. Is it a fear of getting it wrong? Or maybe the uncertainty of where to begin? By identifying the cause, you can help address the concern.
Using Free Writes and Mind Designs
At Writing with Design, we’re big fans of the Mind Design: our proven visual diagrams that help students plan out their ideas before formally putting them in essay format. But whether you’re using an open ended Free Write or one of our Mind Designs, the goal is to get the ideas flowing. Often times, writing students simply need to unlock those concepts and let them free to break through their writer’s block. (Shoot us an email for more information on Mind Designs)
Breaking Down Mediums and Expanding Creativity
Do something, anything creative. It doesn’t matter what the medium is. If your student loves to read, let them put their essay down for the time being and read a related article or book. Or do they love drawing? Ask them to create a picture that ties in with their essay. Sometimes, letting students cross mediums can expand the creative circle and bleed into their writing.
Grab a Writing Prompt
There are entire websites on the Internet devoted to writing prompts. And for good reason. They truly give writers a place to simply start writing. Once students get going, it’s often hard to stop them. We suggest even creating writing prompts aimed specifically at a student’s essay topic. It doesn’t have to be included in their final essay, but simply to put words on the paper.
Start at the Very End
Going along with our previous tip, this one also is meant to get them writing about.... well, anything related to their essay. What better place to start than the end? You’d be surprised how many young writers sometimes feel they can’t even begin, but have the perfect ending in mind. Or the same holds true for the title of their essay. If they have something in mind, let them start there.
Change up the Writing Tool
Computer, pen, pencil, fountain pen… even typewriter! You name the writing tool! It sounds like an odd tip at first, but different students feel more comfortable with different tools. There’s nothing that says you can’t write an essay with your favorite pen. Or with the newest, fastest computer money can buy. If it builds their confidence and breaks their writer’s block, go for it!
Expose Them to Other Writers
Our final tip can be used in many ways. Our Coached and Group Writes are founded on the principle that writing mentors can do a world of good. (Reach out to us for some more info about doing Coached and Group Writes in your own classroom). Exposing students to other writers helps them acquire new skills, bounce ideas off of others, but most importantly, it often jump-starts them out of a writer’s block.
Want tips like these and more to get your students writing? That's what Writing with Design is for! Get in touch with us so we can show you how.