One of the biggest challenges writers face is facing writer’s block. Everyone goes through slow days of low productivity or lack of motivation, but if your block stays for several days, it’s time to take action.
In this post, I have compiled a list of 7 actionable tips to overcome writer’s block that actually work. These are tricks that I regularly use to get back into writing mode on days when I lag behind.
But first, let’s understand the root causes of writer’s block.
What Causes a Writer’s Block
Before we get to tips on overcoming writer’s block, you must understand what causes one. This will set things in context and help you choose the right techniques to get over your block.
Here are three of the most common causes of writer’s block. Identify the reason for your block and then move to the tips section.
Perfectionism: You want to create something perfect and that stops you from writing anything. You’re not allowing yourself to make mistakes, so you’re avoiding writing altogether.
Fear of Failure: Maybe you’re just afraid of being vulnerable by sharing your thoughts with others and putting your ideas out there. You feel like you’re not good enough or worry that people will not like what you write.
Lack of Ideas: You may simply be out of ideas on what to write next and don’t know where to start. You feel demotivated and uninspired and just need something to get your creative juices flowing.
Irrespective of what’s causing your writer’s block, the tips below will help you get over it.
7 Tips to Overcome a Writer’s Block
Having writer’s block? Check out these tips to get you out of your slump and start writing again.
1. Use Writing Prompts
If your writer’s block is caused by a lack of ideas, then one of the best ways to overcome it is by using writing prompts.
Many websites and online publications share weekly or monthly writing prompts to inspire creativity in writers or as part of a contest. Find 2-3 good websites that provide writing prompts and bookmark them for times when you’re out of ideas.
Reedsy, for example, has a list of over 1100 writing prompts on its website that can help you.
Photo Credit: Screenshot taken by the writer from Reedsy
Here are some more tips:
- Choose a prompt that you find easy and interesting
- If you get stuck, switch to a different prompt
- Don’t set a word limit and write whatever comes to mind
- Avoid anything that is too difficult and outside your comfort zone
2. Read Something Interesting
One of the best ways to inspire creativity, get ideas, and improve writing skills is reading. So, if you are facing writer’s block, stop trying to force yourself to write. Instead, read something interesting.
You can read a re-book that you love or start a new one in your favorite genre. Or you can read short stories or articles online. You can even listen to a podcast or watch an engaging video on YouTube from your favorite writer.
The idea is to get your creative juices flowing by consuming someone else’s good work–whether it is a book, podcast, or video.
When you read something that inspires you, it gets your creative juices flowing and gets you in the right headspace for writing. And you never know, you may end up getting an idea for your next project.
3. Do Something Creative
This is similar to the earlier point on reading, except you need not limit yourself to that. You can do anything creative from painting to making pottery–anything that you like doing.
Involving yourself in any art form is good for your creative brain and motivation. If you successfully complete an art project, you’ll feel better about yourself and feel motivated to start writing again.
If a fear of failure is causing your writer’s block, then this is the best way to get over it by proving to yourself that you’re skilled and amazing. Pursue your favorite hobby and get something done and that will get the ball rolling.
4. Write Fan Fiction
If your writer’s block is caused by a lack of ideas, then this is another tip that you can try–write fan fiction.
Choose a book, movie, or TV show that you absolutely love and are familiar with, and write it from a different perspective.
You can change the story, theme, or voice to create a slightly different version of it. For example, you could write a different ending to Game of Thrones where some other character ends up being king or queen.
Another way to do this is to write the story from a different character’s perspective, making them the protagonist. What if Harry Potter was written from Hermione’s perspective? How would that change the story?
You get the gist, right?
The key is to pick a story that you know extremely well and give it your own twist.
5. Change Your Environment
Sometimes all you need to get over your writer’s block is to change your physical environment. This is especially useful for those of you who have a dedicated writing space.
Don’t get me wrong! I advocate for having a designated writing space as it’s good for productivity. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t shuffle things around a bit.
If you’re not feeling inspired or motivated to write, changing your environment may help. Go to a nice quiet cafe and write while having a cup of coffee. If you have access to a garden or a park, sit there with your thoughts and find ideas for writing. You can even take your pen and notebook with you, in case an idea strikes.
At the very least, you can go for a walk to refresh your mind and come back and then try writing again, maybe in a different nook or room.
Writing involves many steps and ideation is one of the most important ones. If you don’t feel like writing, then you can spend your time doing research and finding great topic ideas.
You can’t be at your productive best every single day. It’s ok to have unproductive days and days when you just feel blah.
You can use these days for research and idea generation. Check out my guide on how to find topic ideas for writing to get started with these.
A quick way to find new ideas is to use a random ideas generator or a plot generator. Such tools give you random ideas and you can create a list of some interesting ones on the days that you don’t feel like writing.
Photo Credit: Screenshot taken by the writer from plot-generator.org.uk/
7. Get Active
Have you tried everything and are at your wit’s end trying to overcome writer’s block?
Then forget about writing altogether and get your blood pumping. Get some exercise, play a sport, dance, or do any sort of physical activity you like.
What’s the point of this?
Exercise can instantly uplift your mood and flood your body with happy hormones. You’ll feel more energetic and motivated after a good round of exercise than by lying in bed worrying about your inability to write.
Get up and get your body moving. When you’re feeling motivated and energetic enough, then get back to writing and try one of the tips mentioned above.
Ready to Write?
Hopefully, these tips would have helped you overcome your writer’s block and get you back into writing mode.
One last piece of advice I want to give you is to stop worrying about writer’s block. You can do a lot of creative and productive stuff to build momentum, so if you don’t feel like writing, do something else instead of worrying about not writing.
Let me know which of these tips you tried and what worked best for you.