5 Tips to Deal With Writer’s Block + A Freebie!

No matter how much you love writing or how long you’ve been doing it sometimes your brain stops functioning and you find yourself with a case of writer’s block.

So what do you do when this happens? Cry in the corner? Lie to your editor and tell them your pages are in the mail? Apply for jobs at local fast food places? Sit staring at a blank screen?

While writer’s block can feel defeating and majorly discouraging, it doesn’t have to.

Even the best writers will have lulls where they feel uninspired and unmotivated so what do you do?

5 Ways to Hack Writer’s Block

Step away

I don’t know how many times I’ve felt blocked up and out of ideas only to go to the gym, go to take a nap or whatever task and then in the middle of the other task and hit with ideas (It’s the reason I keep a pen and pad next to my bed now). Now when I say step away I don’t mean go frolic and play until the urge to write overpowers you. I’m suggesting you give yourself an hour or so to take a break. Set an alarm for when it’s time to get back to work.

Go run a mile. Watch an episode (Just one!) of a television show.

3 Shows I recommend:

  • Gilmore Girls

Their fast paced dialogue and pop culture references always get me thinking.

  • Friends

As a 20-something it’s always interesting for me to go back and watch the episodes of Friends now that I’m in that age group. It makes me think about things like does dating ever really change? How friendships differ as you grow up. On and on.

  • Parks and Recreation

Leslie Knope could make the president feel lazy. Her go getter attitude and drive will make you want to get your #girlboss on.

 

Change your set up

I don’t know how many Sunday’s I’ve spent sitting at my kitchen table bull shitting away the day. Once I finally force myself to pack up my laptop and put on pants I’ll head to a local hookah cafe or a coffee shop and just start flowing.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to work at home but it can be a huge contributing factor to you feeling stuck or like your brain is clogged.

Sometimes just a new background to your writing session can make a huge difference in productivity.

Read

Just to clarify I’m not suggesting you hop on a gossip site and find out what’s going on with Kimye. I’m suggesting you look for inspiration.

Writing about a specific topic? Search your topic or something related to it. It can open your eyes to different questions people have about the topic and give you ideas of what to include.

This works even better if it’s an opinion piece, you can find articles that hold a different view. This may warm you up and make you think of things you want to say or how you would address people who may disagree with your opinion on the topic.

Take notes while reading and limit the amount of time you spend reading.

Talk it out

Record yourself talking about the topic.

Writing is intimidating and you can get frustrated with the keyboard. Whenever I have a certain topic to discuss or story to tell that seems overwhelming or I don’t know where to start, I open up my google docs and use the voice typing function under the toolbar. I ramble on for a few minutes and it really helps me start a frame work.

Even if I end up editing it to shreds later it really gets me started.

Figure out what’s distracting you

Look around you. Is the television on? Are your kids running around in the other room making noise? Is your roommate blasting Adele on repeat? Maybe you need to put in some earplugs, go to another room, or go to another place entirely.

Is it quite where you are? Then close your eyes and focus on your thoughts?

Do you keep replaying the fight you had with your significant other? Are you worried you forgot to remind your friend what time you are picking them up later?

Did you turn in the correct version of that expense report at work?

Whatever it is that is dominating the real estate of your mind identify it then figure out what you can do to address it and then get back to work.

Work on something else

Sometimes when I’m working on an article I want to post on the site in the next few days or trying to bring to life a pitch I sold an editor on I get stuck and frustrated. The idea that seemed so amazing 2 days ago, I find myself hating.

One of the best ways I deal with this is taking a break from that piece and working on something else. It can be another unfinished post, a random blog prompt or something as simple as journaling about my day or an event. When I do that I’m getting my creative mind going and also refocusing my energy on positive productivity instead of the negative emotions that come with writer’s block like self-doubt and frustration.

I hope these tips help you overcome writer’s block.

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25 comments

  1. Shamira West

    These are great tips! I was suffering from writers block recently and It was terrible. I did figure out what was distracting me and I read! Reading always stimulates my mind and get the creative juices flowing!

  2. CAROL CASSARA

    I agree that getting out of the house is effective at breaking block. A new environment is always stimulating to the writing juices! I need to do that more. And I’ve been a writer for decades. Thanks for reminding me.

  3. Aliza B

    I think your suggestions are great! Sometimes when I have to write multiple items it’s hard to get my thought straightened out. Taking a short break to watch Gilmore Girls usually works for me. =) Or I make a list of the main points that I want to write about.

  4. Sabine

    Yeah Writers Blog can be a real pain in the ass (sorry for the language 😀 ) I just struggled with it a couple of weeks ago-.- but those series you’re watching definitely don’t work for me 😉 but I usually try to do the same things, they just don’t always work so good…

    Stepping away from what troubles you can be so difficult-.-

  5. Dia

    It can be a pain in the ass. No need to apologize. I find that if stepping away or refocusing doens’t help that it might be what I’m writing that maybe it was an old idea I don’t identify with anymore or maybe it was is a topic I really have no interest in but it was assigned to me.

  6. Dia

    Thank heaven for Stars Hallow 🙂

  7. Chantal

    I have definitely had to step away and love to read when I need inspiration. These are great tips!

  8. Memory

    This is a great post! Very helpful. I know the struggle too well. Sometimes you just run out of ideas and have to think outside the box so you can get those writing ideas flowing again.

  9. Leslie

    I am bookmarking this post. My blog is fairly new but this may come in handy one day! Thanks for the tips.

  10. jenna

    Great tips in this post (i have a few ideas!) and I agree, a new environment always gets the brain going.

  11. Ashleigh

    These are all great tips for writer’s block, thanks for sharing! Pinned for those days when I need it!

  12. Renee Groskreutz

    Just one? I don’t want to watch just one episode of a great show. However, you are spot on!
    Sometimes if I just can’t, I will even watch just 15 minutes of something and it really does help.

  13. Becki S

    Great tips! I do sometimes have to step away and then come back. I’ve been struggling to find time to write lately with the holidays and work but I’m hopeful I’ll get back into my routine.

  14. Dia

    I love that. I think even writer’s can forget the value of words! Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Dia

    It really does make a difference. It changes my motivation. I’ve loved writing my whole life and since I started doing it professionally the last few years I’ve seen that even if you love it you can get stuck but since you love it you can get unstuck with a little work.

  16. Dia

    Thanks Chantal! Reading helps me remember why I fell in love with writing.

  17. Dia

    Yes that’s the most important thing you have to be willing to step out of the box, out of that comfort stuff that’s where authentic and real writing happens!

  18. Dia

    Glad you found it useful Leslie!

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