Term Paper Writing Block and How to Fight It: Effective Strategies


Let’s assume that you already have a topic or that at least you realize what you are going to write about. Maybe, you have even searched through the Internet and come across a few great sources to feed your inspiration with. Probably, you have already started your work on the plan or outline for your project. Well done! Beginning is the most difficult part of every big business!

Or is it not? There are days (or nights) when you sit in front of your laptop, your tea treacherously cooling, and just keep re-reading the lines you once typed in a sudden flurry of enthusiasm. The only thing you understand at such moment is that you have absolutely no idea on how to continue. Things usually get even worse when you know that the deadline is mercilessly approaching and only miracle can extend it.

So, what is the problem? What power dares to discourage you and make you lose heart even despite your undeniable motivation to finish on time? We are going to make it all out!

Writing or Writer’s Block: What Is It?

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Have you ever heard about the problem writers or journalists sometimes face while they are working on their magnum opuses? It is known as writer’s block and its main and the most remarkable feature is the temporary but quite long-drawn-out lack of inspiration as well as the incapacity to continue the creative process. Writer’s block has hardly any connection with such naughty and groundless factors as laziness or unwillingness to write, but still it can be caused by author’s long-lasting depression, stress and other nasty things like these.

So, if you feel like you do want to but just cannot write, it is likely that you have the same problem. Where does it take its roots? Is it bad? How to cope with it? Let’s answer all these questions here.

Tricky Term Papers: Let’s Set Things Right

As the name suggests, a college term paper should be done over one academic term (or one semester, trimester, quarter, etc., depending on the unit of measure your school sets). This assignment should be based on your own research and analysis of the materials you use for it. It does not require you to make a new discovery or come up with a new theory. So, roughly speaking, you need to compile a paper which would consider different, maybe even opposite, points of view on one subject, analyze similarities and differences between them, and make a few generalizing conclusions to shed more light on the main subject discussed.

What can go wrong? Let’s see what challenges you might face and how to solve them effectively!

Challenge #1: I Cannot Find Anything Appropriate for My Topic

In most cases, when the term paper lays claim to good grades, the list of references for it should contain a certain number of valid sources, on which you are supposed to base in the process of writing. Striving to choose an original and not a well-thumbed topic, you may fail to find the required number of books and articles. Speaking frankly, sometimes you can come across one or two awesome sources which will help you develop your topic perfectly. However, the worst thing which spoils everything is that you must have five of them.


Your instructor’s requirement for five sources actually pursues quite a noble objective: that is to teach you to work with several sources of different information simultaneously. Once you will see, this is very helpful skill. However, the main reason why you cannot find all five of them is likely to lie in the combination of words your topic uses.

Are you surprised? The thing is that neither your library’s catalogues nor Google may contain an article with exactly the same name as your paper. Well, of course, there can be someone’s ready papers uploaded into the Internet. But in terms of originality, using them can be rather risky.


Determine the key notions of the topic and narrow it to several particular issues. For example, let the general subject be international economics. We will narrow it to achievements of Asian countries. So, it is obvious that you can focus on economic breakthroughs of such countries as Japan, China and Singapore, study their most significant economic reforms and the results these reforms have given. So, you have three particular countries plus their most successful economic reforms and achievements – this is what you can base on.

Challenge #2: I Think I Should Change My Topic

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You happened to see the list you the topics your group chose and now, for some absurd reason, you are sure that your topic is not interesting/smart/original (underline what applicable). The topic itself is just a combination of words. It seems, we have just mentioned this. Your task is to develop it in the right way.


Metaphorically, you might try to discover a second America in your term paper, but you do not have to. You must correctly describe the one we have on the world map today. On the other hand, the topic you choose may turn out to be difficult and not interesting for you. In both cases, your motivation for writing can suffer.


That said, whatever your research is oriented to, you should remember that it is certainly worth being done. You should aim to analyze and present it according to the standards – that is it. It is not a competition for the most intricate topic. However, if you realize that you do not like the subject you are going to research, it is better to choose something different.

Challenge #3: I Do Not Know What/How to Write

This is when you have some good materials, so you sit down at the table, and switch on your laptop, and suddenly find out that your inspiration is late. Your laptop probably shows midnight. But your muse has not come.


The main difficulties are usually caused either by your tiredness or by your efforts to cover a lot of aspects at a time. That is why you really feel lost when trying to force yourself to write at least a word.


You know, if you are sleepy, you should better go to bed and not torment your body, brain and soul. If tomorrow you do not have to go to college or work, have a good sleep, then a good breakfast, brace yourself and start working. If not or if you still want to please your ego and be confident that you have done at least something useful to advance your paper to its completion, draft a few notes, an outline or a plan concerning the main issues which you want to consider. These can simply be some questions you need to answer in order to know what to write.

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