Help! I’m stuck in this essay, and I can’t get out!

Help, I'm Stuck in This Essay and I Can't Get Out!

If you believe that only famous authors suffer from writer's block and frustration, you are quite mistaken. The truth is that you could face a similar problem even while writing a regular essay like a college expository essay or an assignment. This could happen due to a variety of reasons. For instance,  you might realize that your argument is self-contradictory or different issues might not be connecting smoothly, or simply, the essay might not sound convincing enough. So, how does one get through this cul-de-sac? Here's how:  



Take a step back and relax

In most of the situations, the impasse can be resolved simply by distancing yourself from the essay. It is normal for students to get too engrossed in the essay, so much so that they might lose perspective. To regain this perspective, take a small break and clear your head. Listen to music, watch some television, have a quick snack, sleep on it; the ultimate aim is to stop thinking about the essay. Now, return to the essay with a fresh approach and you will be able to make significant progress.  

Talk about your problems

The best of ideas are born out of casual conversations with friends, teachers or counselors. When you get stuck in an essay, talk about your problem with somebody who has adequate knowledge about the concerned field. If you are stuck because of lack of information, request your teacher to provide some references. Alternatively, if the problem is related to the overall structure or the intellectual argument, have a serious conversation with your classmate about the glitches. You could also ask a friend to do a peer review of your unfinished essay.  

Structure your essay beforehand

Every essay demands a different structure. A personal essay is more informal and you can afford to play around with the pattern. However, if you are writing an expository essay, you have to be very steadfast about the format and overall structure. Such an essay must have an introduction, main body and conclusion. The main body must be composed of short paragraphs, each of which must begin with a topic sentence. In a good essay, one topic must logically lead to another and all of them must reach a meaningful culmination in the conclusion. Before you start writing an essay, make a rough flowchart that focuses on the continuity of your argument and when you face a deadlock, get back to the flowchart and see where the problem lies.  

Borrow from sources but don't plagiarize

Am impressive essay is always backed by external references, both factual and intellectual in nature. However, you must understand that these sources must only supplement an original thesis. When you get stuck in an essay, you might be tempted to steal from other sources without providing proper citations. Whatever you do, never, never commit this mistake. Not only is it ethically wrong, plagiarism will not strengthen your essay as the plagiarized elements will always feel out of place. An essay is like an organic whole and bits and pieces from other sources will only harm its integrity. Do your fair share of research and cite the sources properly to strengthen your essay from time to time, especially if you are running out of material and you need to meet certain word or page counts.  

Don't be obsessed with perfection

While you must be critical of your own essays, you must not get obsessed with perfection as this can prove to be counterproductive in the long run. Remember that you are a student who is still in the process of acquiring knowledge and you are bound to make mistakes. When you encounter a writer's block, continue writing even if the quality of the content takes a brief hit temporarily as you can always revise it later. The crucial factor is to form a rudimentary link to the rest of the essay so that you can proceed in the right direction. On the other hand, if you indulge in repeated procrastination, chances are that you will never finish your essay. In the worst of scenarios, none of these solutions might work for you. While this would be a very rare occurrence, the possibility cannot be ruled out altogether. If you feel paralyzed by a particularly bad case of writer's block, just start writing whatever comes to your mind. Open a new document or take a piece of paper and pen out and write down your thoughts just as they occur to you without making an attempt to streamline them. This stream of consciousness technique might prove to be more useful than it sounds as it will enable you to regain your power of expression and get over the state of stasis. As chaotic as your thoughts might appear, you can always edit and organize them later. Have faith in yourself and everything else will fall into place.

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