Writer’s block is the mental equivalent of having quick-dry cement poured into your ear, filling up your brain. Soon afterwards, everything comes to a sharp halt and you can’t put a thought together. It’s difficult to overcome writer’s block, but its binds on your brain can be broken. You have some work ahead of you, though.

Stop Writing

You’re putting your fingers to keys and nothing’s coming out that you can work with? Your brain may be tired. Maybe it’s tired of writing, tired of coming up with ideas, or tired of making you feel better about the stuff you were writing before. Whatever it is, stop writing. Let your brain chill out for a while. Some folks will need a couple hours, others will need a couple of weeks. Trial and error will help you figure out what length of time works best. But take that time. Your brain won’t work if it’s too fatigued.

Rest

Are you getting enough sleep? If not, take a good, long, nap. Even if the paper is due tomorrow and you’re running up against the wire, a little bit of sleep can go a long way towards helping your brain put ideas together.

Do Something Fun

That Xbox 360 has been collecting dust for a while, right? Dust it off and play come Call Of Duty. Like to shop? Spend a few hours doing exactly what you like to do and enjoy it. Taking your mind off the work that needs to be done lets your brain reset creatively so that when you’re ready to get typing again, you’ll be somewhat restored.

Do Not Procrastinate

If you have some sort of writing assignment that’s due, don’t wait until the night before. Yeah, it’s easier said than done but the fastest way to ensure you can’t write a thing is to put too much pressure on yourself to complete the task.

Write — But Not About Your Intended Topic

When you get back to your computer, write about how you feel. Write about what you want to do. Write about how annoyed you are that you can’t write this thing you need to be writing. Write about how much fun you had when you weren’t writing. Now you’re getting your brain warmed up for the task at hand.

Don’t Get Down on Yourself

It’s easy to feel bad about your output. It’s easy to be disgusted with your inability to churn out boring research paper after boring research paper. It’s even easier to be annoyed and unmotivated with the process in the first place. But respecting the writing process and your emotional capacity for these sorts of tasks will discipline your mind into preparing properly, even when you’re not blocked in the head. So sit down, take your time, do this right and don’t get down on yourself. But if you do, go back to step one. You’ll figure this thing out eventually.

Related: How to Melt Your Brain Freeze

Image: Jonno Witts