Beat Writer’s Block!

Girl, at table, having trouble studyingIt’s 10 pm and the prompt for that ten page paper is staring you in the face. You have six pages written and approximately two hours before the paper’s deadline. Reading it over, you realize that you can’t think of anything else to write, but terror washes over you as it sinks in that you’re not done yet. In fact, you need four more pages in order to call this paper quits.

Before you curse your procrastination, we have some tips to help you crank out the rest of those pages.

What Not to Do

You might think your teacher doesn’t know everything, but your teachers do know when you make the font a few sizes bigger, make the margins smaller, or increase the spacing. So don’t take that route. Don’t mess around with long-winded sentences and titles that often detract from your argument. They don’t help you or your paper.


So, since you can’t think of anything else to write, you’ve probably already written everything you know on your topic. Let’s say the topic is a dog. You’ve written about the dog’s fur, diet, play habits, breed origins, everything. Take these topics and branch out a bit. Yes, it’s a risk to go a little off topic, but sometimes the risk is worth the reward, no? Fluff your topic a bit by talking about why the breed of dog was important to the people who bred it. You can easily elaborate on your ideas for at least a page and then tie them neatly back into how the dog is viewed today. See how that works?

Argue With Yourself

Three more pages and you have no idea where to go. Read over your paper again and pick out your arguments. Then, spend some time thinking about the other sides of the argument. Flesh these out and write about them. By taking other viewpoints into consideration, you not only add length to your paper, but strength to your argument when you refute these other ones.

Minor Stuff

If you really need to, add a few sentences that aren’t quite necessary. Elaborate a little more on minor points that you made. Just make sure that these sentences don’t detract from the flow of your paper.

Conclusion and Intro

A good intro will grab your attention, introduce your topic, and state your argument in a clear and engaging way. Some people find it easiest to write the body of the paper first, and then go back to writing the intro and conclusion. Personally, I like to state my argument (or thesis) first, as it helps remind me what I’m writing about. Pick the way that works best for you. The conclusion might seem daunting, but never fear—it’s a great way to add length with ease. Don’t introduce anything new in the conclusion; it should be a reminder of your points and your original argument. Just reiterate these and there you go!

Ten pages, and it’s only 11:30…just enough time to proofread and send that baby in. Now, that wasn’t that hard, was it?

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