Overcoming writer’s block – Top 8 tricks that actually work

Writers often struggle with their writings because of a loss in concentration or a paucity of ideas. They seem to have come to a dead end with no idea what to write. It is as if they have hit a block in their thought processes–a writer’s block–with no clear indication what to include in their writings or how to continue writing.Writer's Block

Almost every writer faces this writer’s block at some point in their writing careers, and most of them have come out of it with a stronger intent to complete their writings. Here are some simple tricks that can help you overcome writer’s block.

Minimize distractions. Unnecessary distractions can cause writers to lose their focus and get stuck in the middle of their writing. For this, you need to minimize such distractions as much as possible. Some tricks to minimize distractions include switching off mobiles phones, disconnecting from the Internet if not required, creating daily routines for writing, and working in solitude if possible. These tricks can help you improve concentration and generate new ideas for your writing.

Focus on other things. Sometimes, focusing on things other than writing can help clear the blockage and spawn new ideas. You need to divert the mind away from writing so as to refresh it. You can opt to do something creative such as painting or cooking, or simply laze around by listening to music or reading books. Performing mild exercises also helps clear the mind. Walking or playing outdoor or indoor games can give you a fresh and new perspective on your writing.

Change your writing environment. Check whether your working environment is comfortable. Consider writing in another environment, such as a coffee shop, for a change. A change in the workspace can help you generate fresh and new ideas for your writing. You can also create or remodel your own workspace by adjusting few factors like changing the lighting or using brighter lights at the desk. You may also try changing your desk and chair or your room. Whatever trick you use, the basic point is that a new environment will help you clear your blockage and increase your focus on writing.

Spend time with loved ones. If you are stuck with your writing, the best thing you can do is spend time with someone who makes you feel good. You may call an old friend or hang out with your friends. You can also spend time with your family or go out for a walk with your dog. Whatever you do, spending time with your loved ones will definitely make you happy and help clear your blockage.

Do free-writing. Have you ever considered writing down your random thoughts? Spend 15–20 minutes writing freely on any topic you like. You can write on your frustrations or your views on current affairs. You can change the subjects, but make sure you write randomly without any care for punctuations. These free-writing entries can inspire you with new ideas for your writings and will also clear your blockage. You can jot down the ideas in bullet points for easy accessibility when needed.

Read some inspiring quotes before writing. Before beginning your writing assignment, try reading some inspiring quotes. Inspirational quotes can motivate you and help you develop fresh and new ideas to use in your writings. In addition, inspirational quotes can also help you with new topics or stories for your writings.

Set deadlines and keep them. Many writers find it difficult to set a deadline for themselves and complete their writing projects within the set deadline. To circumvent this problem, you might find a writing partner and agree to hold each other to deadlines in an encouraging, uncritical way. Writing groups or classes are also good options to jump-start a writing routine.

Take a break after completing a project. Writer’s block could be an indication that your ideas need time to develop. Idleness can be a key part of the creative process. After finishing a project, have some “me” time. Take a break between two projects so as to gather your thoughts and gain new experiences and ideas. You can spend time with your loved ones, or indulge in reading or other art forms before you start again.

A writer’s block is a temporary setback faced by most writers, regardless of how prolific they are in their creative output. At that point in time, it might seem to be too big a mountain to climb, but it is something that can be easily overcome. You must have self-belief to keep the creative flow going, and these tricks will go a long way in helping you achieve that.

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Writing a Dissertation

One may certainly ask what is so exceptional about writing a dissertation or why is a dissertation given so much importance. Well, the answer is simple enough. As long as you are an academic student, things usually do not come your way as tough as they would once you begin your final academic years as a student going into a professional field.

The present article on “Writing a Dissertation” will effectively guide you through the journey about what is a dissertation and how to prepare a dissertation.

Tips for Writing a Dissertation

A new process

In school or college, we have usually written essays and compositions that are not completely our own writing, but borrowed from some essay books, expansions to our textbooks, or references provided by our teachers, etc. However, writing a dissertation is totally different from writing an essay. Dissertation writing is an entirely new process that is exceptional in every way. It releases the prospects of our academic knowledge and puts together all our research papers giving us a completely new viewpoint from thinking as a student to a professional.

A genuine work

Writing a dissertation is an individual’s work. You are an independent person, who is free to select any appropriate topic, work day and night, design the dissertation, edit and re-edit it, etc. You have to do your own research and get your findings. Prepare your dissertation in such a way that it not only looks perfect, but stands supreme amongst the rest and conveys genuineness to your work.

A process of growth

Gone are the days when your teachers and advisors where there to help you. While writing a dissertation, you would be on your own and thus it is obvious to begin thinking like a professional. In fact, your career transforms quite substantially. The significance of writing a dissertation has its immense value as it enables you to focus your future in trying to render the best of your present.

Improves your skills

Dissertation writing not only polishes your writing skills, but also improves your analytical skills. Moreover, it expands your world outlook and increases your literary skills. Eventually, you might feel confident about starting to write independently, or arise with an idea to start your own routine dissertation writing service where students can avail online dissertation assistance from you.

Boost for your career

A thoroughly written and prepared dissertation, which covers all chief components necessary for making an impressive document, could prove to be quite valuable in giving your career a boost. It has been noticed that many fellow students have, in fact, found jobs on the basis of their dissertation. Thus, it is possible that a very well done dissertation could be your access to a successful career.

Don’t get overworked

Dissertation writing needs a lot of brain work, so it can be much stressful and tiring. Therefore, it is necessary not to overwork or stress ourselves. If is required to maintain a balance or a time table and let the work be smooth and trouble-free.

Take help from professionals

Writing a dissertation needs great effort. You may sometimes find yourself stuck at some point, or be unable to understand how to begin or from where to start. In such situations, it is beneficial to seek the help of dissertation writing experts who are experienced enough to assist you with your dissertation. You can also take guidance from professional writers who can professionally help you during each and every step of your dissertation writing.

In order to achieve the degree that can enable one to make an independent choice to excel in any profession, one has to put his/her intellectual instincts, knowledge and experiences into a dissertation. Hence, writing a dissertation is not only essential, but is also compulsory for students. By adhering to the above mentioned tips, you will not only understand the concept of dissertation writing, but also how to prepare it.

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Beyond American English and British English

In late 2000, Domino’s Pizza ran an ad campaign with the tagline Hungry kya? which helped the brand penetrate deep into Indian homes and cities; so much so that this label continues to be associated with all tele-branding and billboard campaigns for the brand. The admixture (pun intended) of English and Hindi proved to be an appealing, innovative, and paying concept, and many other brands skewed their ad campaigns to incorporate Hinglish (combination of Hindi and English), the most recent example being the Hungrooo campaign for Maggie Noodles. English is therefore being “customized” to regional preferences. American English and British English apart, there are region-specific or country-specific variations of the language, and their vocabulary repository is constantly evolving and expanding; it’s Japanglish, Japlish, or Janglish in Japan; Konglish in Korea; Chinglish in China; Hinglish in India; Denglisch in German-speaking countries; Thainglish in Thailand; and so on.

Such variations of English are construed as the ‘misuse of English by non-native speakers’. Conversely, American English and British English are the recognized primary variations of the language, each with some elements of writing style and vocabulary that render it with a character of its own.

We’ll return to the regional adaptations of English in a later post, but first it’s important to dive deep into the points of departure between American English and British English.

American English and British English: The Beginnings

Life was different till about the first half of the 18th century, when English was yet to plateau out into clear regional standardizations. Arguably, Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) and Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language (1755) laid the cornerstones of American English and British English respectively. From then on, the clamour (or should we say clamor?) for reforms in the English language increased, with Webster himself leading the changes in the U.S., while Norman or Anglo-French speakers in England played a decisive role in the shaping of British English. Currently, a plethora of dictionaries service the needs of English speakers in U.S. and the UK, with most other countries adopting dictionaries from either group depending on their histories, while few nations like Canada and Australia follow both. With the increasing move to phones and tablets as the information source, it is not surprising to find tens of dictionaries for American English and British English lodged in micro memory slots. No more leafing through hefty volumes for a look up!

Spellings and More

Contrary to the general misconception, the difference between American and British English is much more than variations in the spelling of certain words; it is in fact a difference in writing style. So when an editor is asked to ‘migrate’ a document from British English to American English (or vice versa), it is important to realize that changing –our/–or, -ise/-ize, -re/-er, -ogue/-og (and so on) is addressing just one of the differences between American and British English. The other differences which an editor should take cognizance of include the use of the present perfect tense ‘have/has + past participle’ much more in American English than in British English, singular verb forms immediately after collective nouns in American English and usage-dependent singular or plural forms in British English, delexical verbs have and take in British and American English respectively (consider I’d like to have a bath and I’d like to take a bath as examples), auxiliaries and modals (for instance, needn’t and don’t need to), propositions at and on (at the weekend in British English and on the weekend in American English), and past tense forms (see Table 1).

Infinitive

Simple past
(Br)

Simple past
(Am)

Past participle
(Br)

Past participle
(Am)

burn burned/
burnt
burned/
burnt
burned/
burnt
burned/
burnt
bust bust busted bust busted
dive dived dove/
dived
dived dived
dream dreamed/
dreamt
dreamed/
dreamt
dreamed/
dreamt
dreamed/
dreamt
get got got got gotten
lean leaned/
leant
leaned leaned/
leant
leaned
learn learned/
learnt
learned learned/
learnt
learned
plead pleaded pleaded/
pled
pleaded pleaded/
pled
prove proved proved proved proved/
proven
saw sawed sawed sawn sawn/
sawed
smell smelled/
smelt
smelled smelled/
smelt
smelled
spill spilled/
spilt
spilled spilled/
spilt
spilled
spoil spoiled/
spoilt
spoiled/
spoilt
spoiled/
spoilt
spoiled/
spoilt
stink stank stank/
stunk
stunk stunk
wake woke woke/
waked
woken woken

After Kerry Maxwell and Lindsay Clandfield, “Differences in American and British English Grammar,” accessed at http://www.onestopenglish.com/grammar/grammar-reference/american-english-vs-british-english/differences-in-american-and-british-english-grammar-article/152820.article

This list of differences between American English and British English is by no means exhaustive, but only a representation of the editor’s predicament.

But Where is English Headed?

But the English language is a dynamic entity, constantly evolving and changing as it meanders through time and space. Regional variations are beginning to have a much more telling impact, and it will not be outlandish to imagine tailor-made dictionaries soon seeing the light of day. Hinglish, for example, is already an entry in some prominent dictionaries, which is perhaps a sign of things to come?

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Content Writing

Some people have unique talents, while some have interesting skills. Everyone is a master of something or the other. Where some are outstanding at sports, some are bright in studies. Similarly, some have a natural gift for writing, which when given proper guidance could be turned into a significant career. Content is undeniably sovereign while considering web-verse. Be it web-content, sales writing, SEO writing, magazine article writing, corporate-profile writing, press-release writing, e-books, etc. With so many varieties of areas depending on content writing, one should integrate the proper skills and techniques required for content writing. Besides, by following some specific guidelines for content writing, one can efficiently write a piece of content that not only attracts readers, but also ranks fine on the search engines.

In order to help you in improving your content writing skills, the present post on ‘Content Writing’ provides some basic points to keep in mind while writing any content.

Points to Remember for Content Writing

Clear and Concise

  • Ensure that the content is understandable and to the point.
  • Before starting to write, always be clear about the target audience.
  • For example, while writing a product description for any household electronic instrument, avoid using showy words and phrases. Instead, use simple words and phrases that can be easily understood.
  • While, writing content about any software or similar product, which usually has potential clients being IT firms, etc., try using a bit of complexity in your content.
  • Always ensure to get down to business at once. The content should reveal the frame that particular product would present to the business.

Explore

  • Ensure that you are well-versed on the topic you are writing the content on.
  • In case of any doubts, don’t hesitate in searching and exploring the vast knowledge provided on the internet.
  • Preferably spend some time in researching and exploring on the concerned topic in order to incorporate certain points about which the general audience knows.
  • In order to avoid putting any kind of repetition or plagiarism or outdated information, it is always safer to conduct a bit of research before content writing.

SEO

  • Search engine optimisation, better known as, SEO services provide the way to popularise your website or business in the world of prospects and global exposure provided by the internet.
  • SEO services assist the website for securing a high search engine ranking, which is one of the most significant means for your prospective clients to track you.
  • Naturally, the emphasis should be on excellence and quality, but one should not forget the search-engine factor.
  • Avoid filling the content with unnecessary keywords. Instead, ensure to include as many keywords as possible as long as it doesn’t seem to be too apparent.

Content writing may seem an easy job, but it has got depth that needs to be explored. Hence, content writing should be approached with a reasonable bit of carefulness. Certain websites and service providers demand certain types of content. So, while conducting your exploration and SEO, do give consideration to the quality of your content.

By keeping in mind these basic points, one can for sure do really well in content writing. Although content writing is not rocket science, it still needs some research and caution in order to produce an impressive piece of content.

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MLA Style Formatting

In every field of research, there is a need to borrow facts or figures from other scholarly studies. Based on the requirement, the conventions used in various papers may vary. The MLA style follows a set of guidelines set by the Modern Language Association. This style is widely used in the field of humanities, especially in English, philosophy, foreign languages, and religious studies. High school and college writing assignments mostly follow this standardized writing style. Generally, MLA style of formatting is considered to be simpler and more concise compared to other styles.

Basic Guidelines for MLA Style of Formatting

  • The standard 8.5 x 11-inch paper should be always used.
  • Set a margin of 1-inch on all sides of the document.
  • Give an indent of half inch/5 spaces (or you can give a tab) for the first line of each paragraph. Do not give extra space between the paragraphs.
  • The entire text should be double-spaced.
  • Use a clear font, such as Times New Roman and the point size should be 10-12 point.
  • All the pages should be numbered (in some cases, there might be specific instructions not to number the first page). Place the page numbers on the top right-hand corner of the page and align them flush right. Your last name must precede the page number.
  • The title should be centered. Do not give extra space above or below the title of your paper.
  • You need not set a separate title page unless specified.
  • Do not use boldface in an MLA paper unless specified.
  • In case of a quoted sentence, punctuation (a period or comma) should be placed inside the quotation marks.
  • Endnotes, if any, should be set on a separate page just before the ‘Works Cited’ page.

These basic guidelines are provided just to give you an outline idea about the structure of the MLA style of formatting. For further details, you can refer to the MLA Handbook and the MLA Style Manual.

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Formatting Research Paper in APA Style

APA style of formatting is one of the most widely used styles used to format research and thesis papers. In order to format research paper in APA style, one must essentially learn and get acquainted with the basic guidelines of APA formatting and style guide. As such, the fundamental guidelines for formatting research paper in APA style have been provided in details below.

Guidelines for Formatting Research Paper in APA Style

Document Setting

  • Page Margins: 1 inch margins on all sides.
  • Fonts: Preferably, 12 point, Times New Roman or Courier for text and Arial for figures.
  • Spacing: Text to be double-spaced throughout the paper.
  • Text Alignment: Text should be left aligned, with a ragged right margin. Do not hyphenate words.
  • Paragraph Indentation: First line of every paragraph should be indented.
  • Page Numbers: Starting with the title page, each page should be numbered.

Major Sections

While formatting research paper in APA style, the sections should be arranged in proper order: Title page, Abstract, Main Body, References, Appendixes, Tables, Figure Captions, Figures.

However, the major sections include: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, References.

Running Head

Running head is a short version of the paper’s full title, which is helpful for readers to spot the titles for published articles. Running head’s title should be in CAPITAL letters and within 50 characters (including spaces and punctuation). The running head should be present in each page, with the title “Running head” mentioned only on the title page, and not in the rest of the paper. The title should be left aligned, and page numbers right aligned.

Title Page

Title page should be the first page of manuscript, enlisting the title of the paper, author’s name and institutional affiliation, without mentioning titles (Dr.) or degrees (PhD). APA formatting suggests that the title should be centre aligned and positioned in the upper half of the page. Besides, it should be limited to 12 words in length, without any abbreviations or trivial words, and should not be bolded, underlined, or italicised.

Author note

Author’s note provides the general information about the authors involved in the research. It includes the author’s departmental and institutional affiliation, changes in affiliation (if any), acknowledgments, funding sources, special circumstances and contact information, like postal address or e-mail.

Abstract and Keywords

Abstract should present a very clear and concise summary of the whole research paper. It helps the readers to swiftly assess the main idea and purpose of the research. Abstract should be limited to 150-250 words, with all acronyms and abbreviations defined properly.

A list of selected keywords should be provided in the abstract section, helping researchers to find your work in databases. The title “Keywords” should be italicised, and the sentence should be indented like the rest of the paper.

Section Heading

  • 1st level heading: Centre aligned, bold, and upper and lower case.
  • 2nd level heading: Left aligned, bold, and upper and lower case.
  • 3rd level heading: Indented 0.5” from the left margin, bold, and lower case (first word excluded).

References

References provide the information needed to find any cited source. All in-text citations should be provided in the reference list. Reference list should be arranged in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, or the first word in citation. All names should be cited for less than six authors, while for six or more authors, the first author’s name is followed by “et al.”. In-text citations (direct quotes) should mention author(s)’s name, publication year, and page number(s).

Tables and Figures

Each table should start on a new page. The table title and caption should be left aligned, while only the table caption should be italicised.

Figures captions should be provided separately on a new page. The figure label should be italicised and not the figure caption. Each figure should start on a new page, provided at the end of the paper.

Appendices

Appendices are short contents that complement the research paper, but are not directly related to the text. Usually, appendices are mentioned in the body of the paper. In case of more than one appendix, use a capital letter, like Appendix A, Appendix B, etc., to identify them separately.

Above mentioned guidelines will help you to learn and get familiar with formatting research paper in APA style. However, it would be suggested to seek guidance from your instructor for his final word on the format and style needed to format the assigned paper.

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Revision Phase: Editing Never Ends

Revising means removing and adding contents to make the paper better. It means that nobody is ever really done. They just turn in our last and best draft. Here are some editing steps:

  •  Read it aloud and mark any areas that don’t sound right
  •   Look at all the punctuation marks especially apostrophes
  •  Make sure every paragraph moves the paper along
  •   Eliminate passive verbs whenever possible

So that’s a basic strategy on how to write a research paper. Although writing a paper is never completely done, but these steps can help to get a paper finished.

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