For students, there’s no worse feeling than sitting down to work on an assignment only to realize you have no idea what to write. A blank page quickly becomes intimidating as the minutes pass and no words come to your mind. The question is what to do in these situations to avoid the ensuing panic you feel as the deadline fast approaches. Take a deep breath and relax: there are actually several things you can do to overcome this creative block.
1. Create Anything
Becoming too focused on doing a good job on an assignment can kill your creativity. The solution for some people is just to create anything. When your mind is elsewhere, you may find that — from out of nowhere — the solution for how to tackle your assignment hits you. You can then stop whatever you were doing and buckle down.
2. Step Away
Another way to help an idea occur to you is to step away from your desk. Do something productive instead that will calm your mind, such as exercise, meditation, or even chores.
3. Make a Mind Map
If neither of the above tend to work for you or you have limited time and can’t afford to be waiting for inspiration to strike, you need to force yourself to be creative. One way to do this is to create a mind map. You’re likely familiar with this as a solution to brainstorm ideas in a group, but it’s also effective when you’re on your own.
To start, write phrases that explain some of the problems your assignment needs to address. Branching out from these, come up with potential solutions. In both cases, the objective is to come up with as many ideas as possible — it doesn’t matter if you won’t actually use them, as just the act of thinking creatively will help put you on the right track.
Next, think about how the different ideas could be connected. Draw lines to link them together, perhaps using different colours to keep your train of thought clear. The result should be several groups containing ideas that you can address together.
4. Set Limitations
Sometimes you can feel stuck because the sheer number of possibilities is too great. In this case, it can be effective to set rules that limit you. Then, figure out how you would make the project work with these limitations. Zeroing in on ideas can help reveal which are the best, giving you a starting point for your project and stopping you from feeling blocked.
You’re more likely to suffer a creative block if you’re constantly facing interruptions when you’re trying to work on assignments. Instead of leaving your room and searching for a quiet spot in the campus library every time you need to study, move into student rentals. St. Catharines students can receive a fully-furnished suite at Regent Student Living. You’ll have everything you need, including high-speed internet, a gym, and a community room — all included in your rent. Apply for your spot now.