3 min read

Tips to Combat a Writer’s Block

Tips to Combat a Writer’s Block
Writers block 

Hey Neurons,

Currently, I'm deep into crafting my paper and occasionally, I hit the all-too-familiar wall of writer's block. Through my journey as a PhD student, I've uncovered several strategies that aid me in breaking through this barrier. I'm eager to share these insights with you, hoping they might assist you in your writing endeavours. Happy writing ✍️!

1. Start with a Skeleton - Before diving deep into the intricacies of your writing, begin by sketching a basic outline or 'skeleton' of your ideas. This allows you to have a structured framework, making it easier to expand and flesh out your thoughts. The act of simply organizing your main points can often break the initial inertia and get the words flowing.

2. Set a Timer - The Pomodoro Technique, or simply setting a timer for a set duration (e.g., 25 minutes), can work wonders. By dedicating short, focused bursts of time to writing, you eliminate the pressure of needing to produce a masterpiece in one go. Take a short break once the timer goes off and then reset it for another session.

3. Have a Set Location - Designate a specific spot for your writing endeavors. Whether it's a cozy corner of your home, a local café, or a park bench, a consistent location can signal to your brain that it's 'writing time'. Over time, just being in that location can kickstart your creativity.

4. Accept Bad Writing - First drafts aren't meant to be perfect. Give yourself permission to write badly. Once you've got something down, you can always revisit, edit, and improve. Remember, it's easier to refine existing words than to stare at a blank page waiting for perfection.

5. Explain the Text Out Loud - Sometimes, saying your thoughts out loud can help you process and structure them better. If you're stuck at a particular point, try explaining it to someone else or even to yourself in the mirror. Hearing the words can provide a new perspective and clarify what you're trying to convey.

6. Reward Yourself and Enjoy the Journey - Writing can be as much about the process as it is about the end result. Take moments to appreciate your progress, no matter how small. Set up rewards for reaching certain milestones, whether it's a treat, a walk, or some downtime. Celebrating the journey can make the act of writing feel more enjoyable and less like a chore.

🎧 Something to listen

Lately, I've been binging a podcast titled 'If Books Could Kill'. Hosted by Michael Hobbes and Peter Shamshiri, they delve into the world of bestsellers, offering a fresh and critical perspective. Each episode sees them debunking popular books, shining a light on the misinformation that often permeates popular science. They also offer keen reflections on numerous self-help books, challenging conventional wisdom and popular narratives. The podcast is super funny and I would recommend it to anyone slightly interested in science 🧠!

💻 Something to code

Recently, I stumbled upon an impressive tool called Neurotorium. This cutting-edge software offers a detailed 3D atlas of the brain, allowing users to delve deep into the intricacies of our brain. By selecting various regions, you're presented with insights into their specific functions, enhancing our understanding of this complex organ. You can navigate seamlessly through the brain, examining it from multiple angles—be it sagittal, horizontal, or coronal slices. If you're as captivated by neurology as I am, this tool is a game-changer!

Sagittal brain slice created with Neurotorium