When You Can’t Write — Read!

There are times when the frustration of trying to get even a single paragraph on paper seems unbearable.  At those times,  a good strategy is to shift tasks.  Of course, there may be many alternative tasks clamoring for your attention, like taking a walk,  doing the laundry, or mowing the yard. These can all be healthy diversions from your writing project, and they also can be remarkably refreshing. If you want to maintain momentum and stay on task in your project, though, shift from writing to reading.  For example, you could return to the books and articles that you collected for your literature review. As you read them again, think about how each source spoke to you, inspired you, or generated questions for you.  Think, too, about the new insights you gain from each piece now that you have spent some time developing your own project.  You could also update your collection of literature with a new library search. Having spent some time writing, you might have new ideas for search terms to explore or specific topics to pursue. In either case, as you read, start making notes of where and how you can add new insights from your reading into your project. Before you know it — you are writing again!