I can’t think of a worse time to be experiencing writer’s block and a lack of general motivation than at this point in the semester; but here I am staring blankly at my computer screen, waiting for intelligent ideas to emerge from their long slumber. Staying focused on school work is hard enough with all the exciting stuff that goes on in Toronto, it’s even more difficult to commit myself to a solid day of assignments and studying when every time I open a word document I draw a blank. I can’t be the only one that seems to be stuck in this situation, right? Right???
Recently I’ve had to revert to all the tactics in my possession for finding inspiration to do school work, and google search a few other ones.
The first thing I always try is to take a break (time permitting) from the task at hand and let my brain cool down. If I’m getting frustrated and feel as though I’m overlooking important details, it’s best to take a step back and do something else- that way I can return later and see things more objectively. During my break, if I’m really struggling with motivation I’ll go for a walk. This serves to clear my head, and gives me time to think over how I can improve my approach to the problem. Also, the internet says that physical exercise optimizes brain performance and I consider walking exercise, so I guess I’m a genius now.
When I’m searching for inspiration for writing, I can usually find it in the talent of other creators. Listening to music-whether fast-paced or soft- is a great way to enrich your thinking process. Upbeat music makes me want to get my life together, and soft music produces in me the desire to write something intellectually compelling. There are lots of websites to find the best playlist on but I recommend 8tracks; you can just enter in a mood or type of playlist and they’ve got hundreds of suggestions made by other people with similar music interests to you.
Likewise, when I feel as though my attempts at forcing ideas out of my head are producing nothing but mediocre arguments: I turn to the beauty of a good novel, or an essay online, or a spoken word poem on YouTube. Witnessing the exceptional skills of others encourages me to work harder so I can achieve the level of expertise that they are at. Poetry and novels also open new pathways in my brain, giving me a fresh outlook and ideas for my own work.
There are also Ted Talks on YouTube, which sometimes manage to put me in the mind frame to get hustling; because many of them are about how the speaker worked hard their whole life to get where they are- convincing me of the necessity to push forward.
Finally, the skill we all learned in grade five – brain storming! You don’t realize how helpful this is until you’ve littered a large sheet of paper with possible answers or topics and organized them into more coherent ideas! This tactic also helps me realize which areas I’m weakest in, giving me more studying material for the future.
If you try all of these and still have no idea what to do, I hope you’re one of those people who works best under pressure, because procrastinating=cramming, this coming from personal experience.