How to Get Rid of Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is frustrating, but it’s an extremely common problem; even the best writers suffer from it on occasion. You may be a bit of a perfectionist who’s worried about making a mistake, or you may be struggling to find something to write about. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of tricks, tips, and habits you can use to shake your writer’s block and get back into the right headspace to get some writing done.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Putting Yourself in a Mood to Write

  1. Cut out any distractions and shut your phone off to stay focused. Turn your phone on silent and keep it in your pocket, backpack, or an entirely different room. Close your windows if there are any distracting noises coming in from outside, take your writing tools or laptop to a quiet area, and stay off of social media to focus on what you’re doing.[1]
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    • Some sounds may be helpful. White noise, calm music, or a spinning fan may be helpful for you if you tend to get a little antsy in complete silence.
  2. Read something else for 10-15 minutes to get in a writing mood. Pick up a book or you love or pull a poem or short story up online if you’re writing at a coffee shop. Spend a few minutes reading a great writer’s work to get yourself in a literary mood. Reading is an important part of developing strong writing skills and exposing yourself to interesting writing is a phenomenal way to prep yourself for a productive writing session.[2]
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    • Shorter pieces of writing and bits of novels you’ve read before are better for this than larger texts you aren’t familiar with. If you get wrapped up in what you’re reading, you may not get any writing done!
  3. Try turning on (or turning off) some music to find what works for you. Some people have an easier time writing if there’s background music, while other people get stuck if they’re listening to something. Try switching it up by either playing some music in the background or turning the music off to see if this helps.[3]
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    • If you do listen to music, don’t choose music that you absolutely love or you may end up focusing on a song you love instead of your writing. Even if you’re a metalhead or hardcore hip-hop fan, it’s probably better to listen to some ambient, classical, or instrumental music.
  4. Sit quietly for a few minutes to see if something pops up. Try sitting in silence for 3-5 minutes. Relax your muscles, don’t listen to anything, and try to stop actively thinking. Just let your mind wander. For a lot of writers, the urge to write strikes when you’re slightly bored. Sitting quietly for a while can invite these random sparks of imagination or trigger you to start writing.[4]
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  5. Write in a different location to give yourself a change of scenery. If you normally write in your office, try heading to a local coffee shop or park. If you normally write at a coffee shop or park, try writing at home. Switch up your scenery to put yourself in a new headspace. For some people, getting out of a routine by changing their setting is deeply helpful when it comes to getting in the mood to write.[5]
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    • You can also go to a museum, write while you’re standing up at a counter, sit down on your front porch, or sit down at an outdoor café and write.
  6. Grab a cup of coffee or tea to get in the mood to write. Brewing a cup of coffee or tea is a great way to start on a positive note. Either make or buy yourself a cup and sit down with your warm drink to get ready to write. A small boost of caffeine is a great way to get your mind focused and put you in the mood for some composition.[6]
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    • If you’re a little hungry, an apple or a yogurt will really help you feel better as you sit down to do some writing.
    • Be careful about drinking coffee or tea when you’re tired. The immediate boost may help you push through for 1-2 pages, but you’re bound to crash after a short period of productivity.

[Edit]Finding Something to Write About

  1. Carry a notebook and jot your ideas down as they come to you. Get a small, pocket-sized notebook and carry it with you wherever you go. Whenever you get an idea, think of a neat sentence or image, or come across a word that really intrigues you, open your notebook and write it down. You can also use this notebook to map stories out or develop character ideas. When it comes time to write, you’ll have a plethora of notes and ideas to draw from.[7]
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    • You can use your phone to do this if you’d like, but you’re more likely to actually make a habit out of this if you use old-school paper and pen since you’re already used to pulling your phone out and may get distracted.
  2. Spend 10-15 minutes freewriting to spark your imagination. Open your word document or notebook and take a deep breath. Then, start writing. Just write whatever immediately comes to mind. You can write about your day, how you’re feeling, or something that’s been on your mind lately. Tell a random story or write about how frustrating writer’s block is. It doesn’t really matter—the aim here is to get into the mechanical act of writing to jumpstart the muscles in your mind that make writing easier.[8]
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    • For some people, freewriting isn’t particularly helpful. If this doesn’t spark an idea, don’t worry about it. Some people get kind of cagey when they don’t have time to think about what they’re writing ahead of time.
  3. Use a writing prompt to give yourself something to write about. Go online and pull up a list of writing prompts. Pick one that speaks to you and use it to jumpstart a new writing project. Even if you don’t intend to publish, edit, or finish the exercise, the act of pursuing a new idea will help you get back into the right headspace.[9]
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  4. Force your way through the block to see if it dissipates. Sometimes, you can just fight through the writer’s block by forcing yourself to write. Write a sentence out in your mind, then force your fingers to type or write the words you’re imagining. Eventually, you’ll find yourself forgetting about the writer’s block and just end up focusing on the words as you type or write them. This can be kind of hard to do if you’re writing creatively, but it will occasionally help you get on the right track.[10]
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    • If you’re just sitting there dreading the prospect of writing a paper, just come with a first sentence—even if it isn’t good. Write this first sentence out and then see if your fingers keep typing. If they don’t, think through the second sentence.
    • This is a particularly helpful if you’re trying to complete a school assignment or you’re writing for work or something like that.
    • This isn’t the right solution for everyone. If you can’t force yourself to write things out, try another approach.
  5. Skip the grammar mistakes once you’re in the zone and fix them later. Once you find yourself in the groove and you’re writing fluidly, ignore any potential mistakes you may be making. Just focus on getting your thoughts and ideas down on paper. If you get hyper-fixated on writing perfectly, you’re only going to slow yourself down. You can revise and edit at the end of the writing session or before you start the next day.[11]
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    • When you do proofread, read your work out loud to catch any mistakes. It’s much easier to find problems with your writing if you can hear what your text sounds like out loud.

[Edit]Taking a Break

  1. Do a little physical exercise to minimize stress and focus your mind. If you get stuck, take 10-15 minutes off to go take a jog, lift some weights, do some pushups, or get some yoga in. Doing something physical gets your whole body moving and helps you clear your mind by focusing on your body. When you go back to writing, you’ll find it easier to “reset” yourself and start over like you were never struggling in the first place.[12]
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    • Taking a break is mandatory when you’re writing for a long period of time to begin with, but you may need to take a break if you can’t shake the writer’s block at all. If you find yourself struggling to get started or get past the first page, it’s time to take a break.
  2. Paint, draw, or engage in another creative activity to reset. It takes different creative approaches to paint, draw, sing, dance, and write. If it’s hard to find the right words or you’re struggling to come up with a great idea, do some other creative exercise for a while. Draw something, dance to some music, or pull out some modelling clay. This will help you realign your creative energy and it will make writing much easier.[13]
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    • If you don’t think you’re a particularly artistic person, don’t worry about that. Just draw something—even if it’s not great! The mere act of doing it is what’s important here and nobody is judging your art.
  3. Go outside and take a walk to get some fresh air. Throw your shoes on, grab a coat if you need one, and just go for a walk. Take a solid 15-30 minutes to just stroll around your block, pass through a nearby park, or do some people-watching on a major street nearby. When you return, you may find it much easier to get some writing done.[14]
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    • This is a great excuse to take the dog for a walk or pick up a snack at your local corner store.
  4. Clean your home or office to improve the energy in your writing space. If your space is messy, it may be interfering with your focus. Take a few minutes to throw any trash out, rearrange your desk space, and pick any clothes up off of the ground. A clean desk makes for a clear mind![15]
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    • If your desk space is clean, do some laundry, clean the dishes, or sweep the floor. Do something to cleanse your home and you’ll feel much better about getting some writing done.

[Edit]Developing a Routine

  1. Spend at least 30 minutes writing every day to make it a habit. You’ll discover that it’s a lot harder to get stuck when you’re writing if you do it every day. Like anything else, writing gets easier with practice. Set a goal for yourself to write for at least 30 minutes every day to get into the habit of putting words on the page.[16]
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    • If you’re one of those writers that writes like 10 pages in one sitting and then doesn’t write for a few weeks, stop! Binge-writing is hard to maintain and you’re taking long breaks because you keep burning out. If you can develop a consistent writing routine, your output will improve dramatically.
  2. Write at the same time every day, even if you’re unmotivated. Writing at the same time every day makes it easier to get into the headspace to write. If you know you’re going to write at 8:00 PM every day, you’ll be subconsciously prepared when it comes time to sit down and do it. This may be hard to do at first, but just force yourself to do it. If you stick with it, it’ll eventually become easier to get your thoughts down on paper.[17]
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    • The general consensus is that it’s much easier to write early in the morning. However, if you find a different time works better for you or you have a schedule that doesn’t make it easy to write in the morning, pick another time.
  3. Don’t be hard on yourself if you end up skipping a day. Things happen. Feel free to take a day off if you have something really important to do, you get held up at work, or someone needs your help. Try not to be too hard on yourself. If you put too much pressure on yourself to write every day, you’re not going to look forward to actually doing it.[18]
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    • Just don’t get in the habit of taking multiple days off in a row. The more consistent your writing schedule is, the less likely you’ll be to run into writer’s block.
  4. Create a reward for meeting your routine every 7 days or so. Set a short-term goal to write every day for 7-14 days. If you meet this goal, buy yourself something nice, treat yourself to an ice cream, or take a night off to play video games longer than you normally do. Whatever you choose, give yourself something small to look forward to in order to stay motivated and focused on your goal.[19]
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[Edit]Tips

  • Allow yourself to write bad first drafts. The writing process takes some time and you can always go back and fix anything you aren’t happy with.[20]
  • Get a comfortable chair! If your back gets sore or you aren’t comfortable when you’re writing, you aren’t going to stick with it.

[Edit]References

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prime-your-gray-cells/201510/five-reasons-youre-experiencing-writer-s-block
  2. https://writers.uclaextension.edu/2017/07/11/seven-ways-to-shake-up-your-writing-routine/
  3. https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/psychology-writers-block-overcome/
  4. https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/psychology-writers-block-overcome/
  5. https://www.writingroutines.com/overcome-writers-block/
  6. https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1957&context=etd
  7. http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/writersblock/
  8. http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/writersblock/
  9. https://www.artic.edu/visit-us-virtually/get-creative-at-home/creative-writing-prompts
  10. https://www.writingroutines.com/overcome-writers-block/
  11. https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/grammarpunct/proofreading/
  12. https://www.writingroutines.com/overcome-writers-block/
  13. https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/psychology-writers-block-overcome/
  14. https://writersworkshop.illinois.edu/resources-2/writer-resources/long-term-writing-projects/recommitting-to-a-regular-writing-routine/
  15. https://www.hr.pitt.edu/news/covid-19-pandemic-supervisor-tips-tools-motivating-remote-staff-stay-engaged-and-productive
  16. https://www.writingroutines.com/overcome-writers-block/
  17. https://writers.uclaextension.edu/2017/07/11/seven-ways-to-shake-up-your-writing-routine/
  18. https://writersworkshop.illinois.edu/resources-2/writer-resources/long-term-writing-projects/recommitting-to-a-regular-writing-routine/
  19. https://writersworkshop.illinois.edu/resources-2/writer-resources/long-term-writing-projects/recommitting-to-a-regular-writing-routine/
  20. http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/writersblock/

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