Have you ever decided to write, only to stare at a blank screen because you can’t type the words? You might have writer’s block. Unfortunately, it can be very common, but we’ve got the best tips for how to overcome writer’s block that will make all the difference, so keep reading!
Table of contents
- What is writer’s block?
- What causes writer’s block?
- 15 Tips for how to overcome writer’s block quickly
- Expert tip: Ask for help if you are struggling to write
- What is the quickest way to cure writer’s block?
- How do famous writers overcome writer’s block?
- What are the most common causes of writer’s block?
- Articles related to writing well
- Use these tips for how to overcome writer’s block, and remember to just keep writing!
If sitting down and writing is easier said than done, don’t worry. In this article, you’ll learn what causes writer’s block and just how to overcome it.
What is writer’s block?
Writer’s block happens when you are in a creative slump and can’t seem to write anything. You might feel like you have a lot to write, but nothing makes sense, or you may feel like you’ve completely lost the ability to form sentences.
The moment you start to write, your fingers freeze, and your brain gets distracted. It can affect any writer at any time in their writing career.
In fact, many famous writers have been afflicted with writer’s block, including John Steinbeck and Maya Angelou.
What causes writer’s block?
A few factors can create roadblocks, including external and internal factors.
Perhaps you were rejected when figuring out how to get a book published, or you don’t have enough time, or have other stressful events happening in your life. Or it could be that you are feeling anxious about the writing process.
Often, writer’s block is caused by something internal. You might have self-doubt about your writing ability, have perfectionism, or just be unmotivated to write.
One key to discovering how to deal with writer’s block is to work through any psychological barriers you may have.
15 Tips for how to overcome writer’s block quickly
No writer likes having writer’s block, but it does happen. Fortunately, there are ideas you can use to try to fix this problem. Here’s how to overcome writer’s block:
1. Keep writing
If you are struggling with how to deal with writer’s block, one of the best tips is to just keep writing. For perfectionists, this is particularly true, as you may want your work to be flawless.
Instead, remember that you can always come back and edit an article later.
Sometimes, to get to the really good stuff, you have to work through the messy and badly written parts first. Get anything written, even if it’s “I don’t know what to write.” It can help with your creativity.
2. Try a writing prompt
If you sit down to write and suddenly face writer’s block, you might want to try a writing prompt. You can even make it more of a challenge by giving yourself a set time to write, such as 20 or 45 minutes.
Forcing yourself to write at a specific time can put enough pressure on you to start writing. If you’re looking for a list of writing prompts, you can check out sites like Writer’s Digest.
Another tip for how to overcome writer’s block is to set your writing aside and read. Reading your favorite writers can spark inspiration for your own work.
Read a few passages from your favorite book, some poetry, or a short essay. Reading good writing can help you get in the right mindset before picking up your pen.
4. Write something else
If you’re struggling with your current project, you might want to write something else. Sometimes, your brain needs time away from a writing project, especially if you’ve been at it for a long time. Work on short story submissions, work on an outline of a book or write in your journal.
5. Go for a walk
Another way to figure out how to get over writer’s block is to go for a walk and give your writing brain a complete break.
Walking is very meditative and can give you the creative push you need to come up with ideas. By the time you’re back, your brain will be bursting with ideas, and you’ll be ready to sit down and start writing.
6. Switch up your workspace
One tip for finding out how to deal with writer’s block is to switch up your workspace. You might find that working in a new environment can help you stay focused.
Try to find the best places to write free from distraction, whether that’s a coffee shop, your office, or the kitchen table.
7. Work on another part of the story
One of the tips for how to overcome writer’s block includes working on another part of the story. If you are stuck with one chapter, try writing from another angle. Start writing the conclusion or the middle.
You can also try to plan out your story to get a better picture of where your writing is going. There’s no rule that says you have to stick with writing your novel chronologically!
8. Use the Pomodoro technique
A lot of writers like to use the Pomodoro technique. Francesco Cirillo developed this strategy as a time management tool.
The idea is to set a timer for 25 minutes and work on one thing for that length of time before taking a five-minute break.
9. Write at the same time every day
One of my favorite tips for how to overcome writer’s block is to write at the same time every day. If you’re content to sit around waiting for inspiration to strike, it never will.
Instead, plan out when you are going to write.
If you work full-time, that might mean waking up early to write before you go to work or writing during your lunch break. Whenever it is, make sure to be consistent and stick with it every day.
10. Experiment with your writing schedule
Writing schedules are really important, but they can also become mundane and repetitive if you’re doing the same thing every day.
It’s time to shake things up a bit.
Let’s say you usually write in the mornings in your home office. Instead, get outside for some fresh air first thing, then find another location, such as a cafe or comfortable outside space for your writing session.
A change of location or time of day can work wonders for sparking new ideas and improving motivation. Experiment with what works for you, and remember to change it up every so often so you don’t get stuck in the same routine again.
11. Talk to a friend
In most cases, what causes writer’s block is unknown until you start talking to someone about your thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
Meet up with a friend who is good at listening. Grab a drink and start talking about your current writing project. You may be surprised just how easy you find it compared to staring at a blank screen.
Record your conversation or ask your pal to take notes so you don’t forget any valuable points you made. Who knows, what you said may even be good enough for the start of your first draft!
Additionally, how you feel can be a big part of what causes writer’s block.
For example, if you’re feeling stressed because you have too much going on and can’t find the time to focus on your writing, a pal can help you prioritize and put things into perspective. This may also help with writers burnout.
12. Try a different writing tool
If you feel like you’re in a rut with your writing, it could be time to check out your writers toolkit and make some changes.
So, if you usually type on a laptop, switch to good old-fashioned pen and paper instead. Writing by hand lets you completely switch off from a screen, which can often be distracting, and focus on your words instead.
If you want to stick with typing, changing your font can sometimes be enough to get the words flowing again.
Whichever method you choose, the important thing is to try something different.
13. Get rid of distractions
If you’re a procrastinator (and let’s face it, most of us are), distractions are a huge hurdle to overcome if you want productive writing sessions.
When you have writer’s block, getting distracted by things around you can be even easier.
These tips for writers block can help you remain focused:
- Clear your desk of papers and rubbish
- Turn off your phone and internet
- Keep pets in a separate room
- Maintain a quiet environment by turning TVs and other background noises off
14. Leverage mind mapping
Mind mapping is another effective way to learn how to deal with writer’s block. To create a mind map, choose a main topic and write it in the center of your paper. Then, create subtopics around it.
Chances are you have already completed a few during the planning stages. You can either go back to old mind maps and expand those or start a new one with a particular theme or topic you’re struggling to write about.
Mind maps have been proven to boost creativity, so see what direction your brain takes you and go with it! The more developed your ideas become, the better your chance of learning how to get over writer’s block.
15. Forget about writer’s block
One of the ways to learn how to get over writer’s block is to just forget about it.
Some even think that writers block is simply a myth.
While writing is hard, sometimes all you need to do is work through the difficulty. And that can be as simple as deciding you don’t have writer’s block.
Expert tip: Ask for help if you are struggling to writeAs a freelance writer, I’m personally no stranger to writer’s block. When I started writing professionally, I put so much pressure on myself to get it right the first time that I didn’t feel that I could ask for help when I didn’t know what to write.
However, I soon learnt that by asking questions or seeking an opinion, my final piece of work was of a much higher quality. Sometimes, all it takes is a different point of view or some helpful suggestions to get the words flowing again.
Fellow writers are ideal people to reach out to when you are stuck in a writing rut. They can motivate and inspire you, as well as boost your confidence.
Use your writing community for what it is designed for, support and ideas.
So, don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it. Your future self will thank you for it and you may even repay the favor to somebody else facing writer’s block one day!
What is the quickest way to cure writer’s block?
Writer’s block can be frustrating. You want to get rid of it as quickly as possible so you can make progress on your piece, right?
Thankfully, there are things you can do to get writing again in no time.
Take care of yourself
Ok, so this tip for how to overcome writer’s block can actually help prevent it.
Simply giving yourself a break can give your mind enough time to heal so your next writing session is productive. Take a bath, listen to your favorite music, or watch a film. Do whatever you enjoy.
Upgrade your workspace
Make your writing environment a place that you want to be. Whether that’s adding some flowers to your desk or adding some color and inspirational quotes to the wall, ensure your workspace is calm and welcoming.
Still blocked? A quick workout, swim, walk in the park, or any form of exercise can do wonders for your productivity levels. Even a 15-minute physical activity can clear your mind and re-focus your thoughts on the task at hand.
How do famous writers overcome writer’s block?
Famous writers seem to overcome writer’s block by just continuing to write and having a plan for the next day’s writing, based on these quotes:
“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page”. Jodi Picoult
“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.” Ernest Hemingway
“If I waited for perfection…I would never write a word.” Margaret Atwood
Additionally, if you’re stuck on describing a particular location in your novel, learning more about it can help inspire your writing. Or, if it’s a real destination, there’s nothing better than visiting it to inspire your work.
Another way is to work on a different section. You don’t have to write an introduction first if you find it hard. Sometimes, the best beginnings are written once other parts of your piece have been created so you have a better idea of the structure and what’s happening.
What are the most common causes of writer’s block?
In most cases, writer’s block happens when a writer has a negative state of mind caused by particular challenges they are facing.
These are things that all authors will deal with at some point in their writing journey. The important thing is acknowledging them and learning how to overcome hurdles.
But first, let’s figure out the main reasons why writers get creative blocks.
A lack of motivation
Not knowing what to write can be hugely de-motivating. And if you don’t feel like writing, chances are you will find any excuse not to do it.
Setting goals, being kind to yourself, and reaching out to a writing community for help can help you stay motivated.
Staying inspired can be difficult sometimes, but it’s important to seek inspiration to overcome writer’s block. People get inspired by different things, so do what works for you.
Try reading something different, speaking to other writers, or simply having a change of scene.
A fear of failure
Are you worried about what others will think of your writing? If so, it’s probably preventing you from making progress.
Allow yourself to write freely and develop ideas without telling yourself they are no good. You can always return to your work later to edit and refine it or decide you don’t want to use particular sections.
Too high of expectations
Unrealistic expectations can be a writer’s downfall and really stunt your creative juices. Breaking your writing goals into manageable chunks is a much more effective way of achieving them than trying to do everything at once.
If you’re doing too much, at some point, you will burn out.
Take some time out, sleep, and consider what you can give up to find a balance with your commitments that allows you to write and overcome writer’s burnout.
Articles related to writing well
If you feel more inspired after reading about overcoming writer’s block, check out these posts next!
- A Step By Step Guide On How To Become An Author
- What Does A Writing Coach Do? Do You Need One?
- 18 Best Books On Writing For New Authors
- How To Create Writing Goals When Writing A Book
Use these tips for how to overcome writer’s block, and remember to just keep writing!
Regardless of which tips for writers block you decide to apply, a lot of them have the same principle. Just start writing.
The real trick is to devise a different technique or give your brain a break to get inspired and then get back to writing. If you apply these ten tips to your writing toolbox, you’ll be back to writing in no time!
Now that you know about writer’s block, take it one step further by reading our article, good questions to ask an author.