Very often students find that paper writing is inhibited at the times when we most want or need to write. We are afflicted by writing blocks. In these case students need help of professional writers to break these blocks and to write their academic papers successfully.
In the present section of this chapter we will first examine the relatively simple question of what the causes of writing blocks might be, and then we will try to help with your writing problems by considering more difficult question of how such blocks might be removed and the flow of writing initiated or maintained.
Writing blocks may be put into two categories, procedural or psychological, depending on whether we cannot decide what to write next in the term paper or research paper we cannot bring ourselves to write anything next. There is a third general reason why writing might become difficult at times, and that might be called physical. Writing requires far more physical effort than reading, than talking or listening.
It may occasionally be the case that we are too tired to write at all, but what is more likely is that fatigue is a supplementary but critical factor when we are experiencing writing difficulties with a psychological or procedural basis. We are too tired to solve our own problems and need a help to solve them, especially since overcoming writing blocks frequently requires effort and determination. To struggle for half an hour with an unyielding sentence that is not exactly what we want to say, while we do not know exactly what we want to say, can demand the concentration and stamina of an athlete.
Quite literally, we can be in the position of not knowing what to write next. This need not mean that we have no idea why we are trying to write in the first place, nor that we are incapable of putting words together if we know what to say in this paper. The situation can perhaps best be expressed in terms of levels of intention.
At a global level we know and can specify very well what we want to write about in the paper; and at a focal level we have no trouble putting one word after another – provided we can decide what we specifically want to say. But we are lost at an intermediate level and need help there–for example, in deciding the exact direction in which we want a paragraph to go.
There are several possible reasons for vacillation related to an unwieldy ramification of alternatives in writing term papers or research papers. One reason is the packing of too much information into a sentence, into a paragraph even, leaving too many directions in which one might go and too many strands to be followed. There may be digressions into which we have been led by our own developing ideas, and we become entangled in the undergrowth of our own proliferating intentions.
One incidental problem almost as disruptive as inability to start writing is inability to stop, even though the paper is taking us further and further from the path we intended to pursue. Writing difficulties are often not so much a matter of having nothing to say as the manipulation of dams and torrents, dams that must be carefully broached after words have built up behind them, and torrents that must be halted or channeled when the words burst through.
The most difficult moment is often the moment when the first words should come in the research paper or term paper.
In this case we are not talking of the occasions when you have nothing to say, even though it may often be the case that the brain requires more time to sort out some ideas. Nor we are talking of procedural problems when the writer cannot decide a direction to take. We are talking of the case when words should come, and could come, but we refuse to allow them to confront us. We cannot bring ourselves to let words appear on paper and therefore we cannot even start term paper and complete it on time. In this case most of us will definitely need help. But at first we should understand where this problem comes from.
There are probably two main reasons for this reluctance. The first is to do with the magnitude of the task. We may be committing ourselves to a considerable amount of effort, and even risk, and the first few words we put on a page may set a course from which we feel there will be no turning back or even opportunity for second thoughts. This degree of resistance to undertaking the enterprise will increase depending on the perceived magnitude, importance, and probability of succeeding in whatever our aims might be.
The second reason is complex. It is the apprehension that the product of our labors will fail to measure up to some standard, which is often applied to any research paper or term paper that we ever handled to professors. And the reluctance is intensified because this standard cannot be clearly defined or be too high. The standard needs to be the approval of the reader to whom the text is addressed.
One other general psychological reason for writing blocks is simply expressed: habit. Just as we have our habitual and preferred writing materials, our preferred time of day and place for writing, so may we have our habitual and preferred strategies for avoiding it.
Overcoming Writing Blocks
The “write at all costs, write anything, no matter how irrelevant” is most appropriate to the psychological aspects of writing-block problems, but not to the procedural aspects. In the latter case the problem is organizational, and is best handled by capitalizing on the particular advantages of written language, its ability to overcome constraints of time and space. Instead of trying to puzzle over and remember alternative constructions in the head, we should put them on paper, where not only can they be inspected but also moved around to be evaluated in different order and different contexts.
The difficulty of finding a beginning may be resolved by writing various alternatives, even the most mundane. You may find yourself writing something that takes off for you with a fluency you did not suspect. If you cannot think of anything else to write in the term paper, write a summary statement of what in general you want to write about. These possibilities also apply to blocks that occur at other places in the text – in the middle or at the end.
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