Having a writer’s block? Try ”Shut up and write”

Having trouble preparing assignments? Not handing in papers on time? It is study time and you have a truckload of things to prepare and hand in. You have borrowed all the course books you need from the library, downloaded all necessary chapters from course lists online, searched in Pubmed and saved your articles in Browzine, but still can’t seem to muster up the energy to get going with the writing?

How about trying out something that has inspired me many times – to “Shut up and write”? “Shut up and write” literally means that you sit down for 60 minutes straight and write – not alone in your study though, but together in a group. You do that without talking to each other – that you can do either before or after the hour is up. You are responsible for your own writing, but hopefully the group around you will trigger and inspire some activity in you. It’s as simple as that.

Instead of struggling on your own in your study chamber you turn the writing into a social event. Arrange a place to meet up with your study buddies either in a café, or try the Student House, BZ-house, on KI Campus. Sit down somewhere in a group and start writing. Afterwards, if you want to, you can read each other’s texts, discuss them and help each other out. Whether or not you exchange ideas within the group you still remain in charge of your own text.


Shut up and write moment in the BZ House, KI Campus Solna.

Different writing circles around the world, students, researchers, journalists and writers have applied this way of writing. If you are interested in finding out more you can check out the San Francisco group webpage, the group that started the whole “Shut up and write” movement in 2007. You can check out a list of scientific articles and theses that have been produced through “Shut up and write”. The Thesis Whisperer gives you information about “Shut up and write”-friendly cafés around the world. Stockholm has one representative so far, if you don’t want to sit on KI Campus. Keep an eye on the hashtags #ShutUpAndWrite or #SUW on Twitter or Facebook for similar SUW-gatherings, you might even find digital ones.

Who knows, maybe “Shut up and write” could be just right for you too. Try it out and feel free to let us know here at the library how it went. There are some of us here who like this work concept and use it regularly. As a matter of fact, the seed to this text came up on one of these “Shut up and write” meetings.


SUW published articles list.

Darlene Duterrier

Librarian, my job is to make sure that KI users have access to the journals, databases and e-books you need, by working closely with publishers.