How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 25 Proven Tips That Work

overcoming writer's block

Key Takeaways:

  • Taking short breaks and getting away from your writing can refresh your mind and enhance creativity.
  • Establishing a consistent writing schedule and setting small, achievable goals can maintain momentum and discipline in your writing practice.
  • Exploring new experiences, like watching movies in your genre or joining writer’s groups, can inspire fresh ideas and provide valuable feedback.

Do you ever get stuck when you’re trying to write? You have a fantastic idea for a short story, novel, screenplay, short film script, or even a blog post, but for some reason, you just can’t seem to get started? Or you’re in the middle of a project and feel lost? Or you’re rewriting your first draft with little success?

Welcome to writer’s block, a feeling that affects thousands of people worldwide (including me at times while I was writing my Gothic horror-western novel, Iron Dogs)!

As a writer and filmmaker, it’s a feeling I know all too well, and I don’t know a single other writer who hasn’t experienced it before. It’s such a negative feeling, it can be crippling the first time it occurs, making you feeling as though you will never finish the story you so lovingly started.

The good news is there are ways to overcome writer’s block. Some of these I learned from others and some I figured out on my own. Experience and patience are key, and the more you have of both, the easier dealing with this creative block becomes.

In this article, we will discuss 25 proven tips that have helped me and can also help you overcome writer’s block, find your voice, and start getting excited to write again!

How to Overcome Writer’s Block

infographic on 9 tips for getting over writer's block

1. Take a Break

One of the most frustrating things that can happen to a writer is hitting a wall – that moment when the words just won’t come. It’s tempting to take an extended break at this point, but that can actually make things worse, as it may take you away from your project completely.

According to experts, the best way to overcome writer’s block is to take a short break – no more than 20 minutes. During this time, doing something completely unrelated to writing is essential.

Take a walk, listen to music, or talk to a friend. This will help clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective when you write again!

2. Create a Writing Schedule

One of the best ways to cure writer’s block is to create a writing schedule for yourself. By setting aside specific times for writing, you can train your brain to be more creative when it’s time to sit down and write.

In addition, a solid schedule can help to keep you accountable and on track. If you struggle to stick to your schedule, try setting smaller goals, such as writing for 15 minutes each day or finishing at least one page.

Also, set specific deadlines for a single scene, chapter, or even the entire story. Setting deadlines can be the creative kick in the pants you need to keep you on track.

And remember to give yourself some flexibility; if you’re having a particularly tough day, it’s okay to take a break or move your writing session to another time. Most importantly, keep moving forward and persevere with your writing.

a man sitting at a desk writing in a book with a pen

3. Try a Brainstorming Session

Brainstorming can be a helpful way to get over a creative block. Just let the ideas flow freely, and see where they take you! The goal is to develop as many ideas as possible without judging or editing them.

You might start by brainstorming a list of potential topics, characters, or plotlines. Or, if you’re already working on a project, try brainstorming new scene ideas or ways to approach an obstacle. The key is to keep the ideas flowing and not get too caught up in perfectionism.

Once you have a list of potential ideas, you can start to narrow them down and choose the best one for your needs. But even if none of the ideas seem quite right, brainstorming can help jumpstart your creativity and get the wheels turning again.

watch tv

4. Watch a Movie in Your Genre

One way to overcome writer’s block is to immerse yourself in the same genre you are writing. Genres in writing include (among many others): romance, thriller, horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.

By watching a movie or TV show, you can better understand the conventions of your chosen genre and how to use them (or not use them!) in your own work.

Alternatively, you can read a book or comic in the same genre or play a video game. This will help you understand the tropes and clichés often used in the genre and how to avoid them in your own writing.

By becoming familiar with the genre, you can learn how to write within its boundaries and still create something original and engaging.

5. Find a Writer’s Group

A surefire way to beat writer’s block is to find a group of other writers with which to connect. Whether you join an in-person group or an online community, being surrounded by others who understand your struggles can be incredibly beneficial.

In a group setting, you can share your work, get feedback, and hear about what others are working on. You might also find it helpful to chat with other writers about your challenges or ask for advice.

Most writers have been in the same boat as you at one point or another, so why not find out what worked for them when they lost sight of their creativity? You’ll learn about the causes of their writer’s block and what they did to dig deep and bring out their best ideas.

And when you are feeling creative constipation, hearing about the progress that others are making can be a great source of motivation!

A great place to look for writer’s groups is Facebook!

6. Skip Ahead!

Sometimes, when you’re feeling stuck, the best thing to do is to skip ahead of the spot that’s causing your block.

Whether it’s a scene you can’t seem to get right or an entire chapter giving you trouble, and sometimes it’s best to move on and return later.

This can be especially helpful if you’re feeling creatively blocked. By skipping ahead, you can get a fresh start and approach the material with fresh eyes. And if you can’t return to the omitted material later, don’t worry – you can always come up with a new scene or chapter that better suits the story.

7. Experiment with AI

Sometimes, the blank page seems like a daunting prospect. If you’ve ever been stuck for ideas, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. Writer’s block is a common problem, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. In fact, there are plenty of ways to overcome it.

One such method is experimenting with AI novel writing programs like Sudowrite and Jasper. These programs can help you to generate new ideas and give your writing a fresh perspective or much-needed writing prompt. And who knows? You might even find that you enjoy working with AI!

AI writing programs are constantly learning, evolving, and improving over time. Whether you need assistance creating characters, story settings, or plot points, AI story generators can help you create a fantastic novel, short story, or screenplay!

8. Use Distraction-Proof Software

Almost every writer needs peace and quiet to write, so when writer’s block happens, it might be from too many distractions, such as emails, the news, and social media. However, you can do a few simple things to overcome this and get back to work.

One effective method is distraction-free software programs like Freedom or Ommwriter. These programs help clear your mind by blocking distractions like email notifications, social media, and the internet.

With nothing to distract you, you’ll be surprised how quickly the ideas start flowing again!

9. Take a Writing Class

One of the best ways to overcome writer’s block is to take a writing class. Through a structured course, you can learn new techniques and approaches that will help you find new inspiration.

And with the support of a group of fellow writers, you can push yourself to reach new levels of productivity. Whether you take an online or in-person class, choose a course taught by a qualified instructor who can provide you with the tools you need to succeed.

A Masterclass is an excellent option because it provides access to some of the world’s best writers who share tips, tricks, and secrets. The beauty of a writing class is that you can find one to fit any writer, whether you’re a beginner who needs to learn the basics or a more experienced writer who wants to hone your craft.

10. Find a Writing Buddy

Finding a writing buddy (or two) can be helpful when you feel the overwhelming weight of writer’s block.

This is someone you can rely on to help you bounce around ideas and give feedback. Just the act of saying your ideas out loud to another person can also make them more concrete in your head.

Having somebody to talk to about your writing can help you feel less alone in the process and more motivated to keep going.

11. Use the Pomodoro Technique

Sometimes, the most challenging part of writing is getting started. The prospect of starting can be paralyzing whether you’re facing an empty page or a looming deadline.

However, a simple technique can help you get past writer’s block and get those great ideas flowing again. The Pomodoro technique involves working for short, defined periods of time, followed by a short break.

For example, you might set a timer for 25 minutes and then write until the timer goes off. Once the timer goes off, you take a five-minute break before resetting the timer and starting again. The key is to keep the periods of writing focused and concise; if your mind starts to wander, refocus and keep going.

This technique can help to prevent burnout and keep your ideas fresh.

12. Use Creative Writing Prompts

One effective strategy for overcoming writer’s block is to use creative writing prompts or exercises. These can help to jumpstart your creativity and get the wheels turning again.

You can find many prompts and exercises online on sites like Etsy, Pinterest, and YouTube. Take some time to explore and see what works for you.

RELATED: Click to check out my fantasy story prompts and horror story prompts!

13. Experiment with Writing Software

One way that many writers use to overcome a creative block is to experiment with new book writing software programs. There are many options available, each with its own unique features.

Sassbook, for example, is an excellent program for organizing ideas and brainstorming new projects. WordTune can help you hone your writing skills, while Scrivener is a powerful tool for managing long-term projects. ProWritingAid is an excellent all-in-one solution for editing and proofreading your work.

Whatever program you choose, explore all the features and find the one that works best for you!

write a different topic

14. Writing Something Else

One of the best ways to remove writer’s block is to try and write the first draft or outline of something else. Sometimes, when you’re stuck on one topic, it can help to take a break and explore another idea. Taking breaks can be especially helpful if you’re feeling creatively stifled.

By working on something new, you can bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the table. And who knows? The new topic might end up being more interesting than the original!

15. Use a Mind-Mapping Program

Mind mapping is a way of visually organizing information. You can use it to brainstorm ideas, make plans, or track projects.

The mind map begins with a central idea, around which you add related concepts and supporting details. The result is a web-like diagram showing how your topic’s various elements are connected.

Mind mapping can be helpful for writers who are struggling with writer’s block. By providing a visual overview of the topic, mind maps can help to jumpstart the creative process. Additionally, mind maps can help you see the big picture and ensure that your writing is well-organized.

If you’re feeling stuck, try using a mind-mapping program (I use and love MindMeister!) or pen and paper to get your writing project moving again.

16. Critique Other Fiction Stories

When it comes to fighting writer’s block, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, one helpful approach is to examine a story in the same genre and identify the elements that you find most appealing. Try finding at least five things about the story that you love!

For example, if you are struggling to write a mystery novel, try reading one of Agatha Christie’s classic whodunnits.

  • What is it about Christie’s writing that keeps you turning the page?
  • Is it the suspenseful plot?
  • The colorful cast of characters?

By identifying the key ingredients of a successful mystery novel, you can apply them to your work-in-progress and get your writing process going once again.

17. Watch Inspirational Videos On YouTube

Trying to find inspiration when you’re feeling blocked can be challenging.

One way to motivate yourself is to watch videos on other writers’ processes. This can give you a sense of how they approach their work and what techniques they use to stay creative.

You can also look for posts by writers you admire. Many authors are open about their struggles with writer’s block and offer advice on how they overcame it. By listening to their experiences, you might be able to find some new ideas for tackling your own block.

18. Build a Writing Routine

Developing a writing routine is one of the best ways to overcome writer’s block. Just as athletes must practice regularly to keep their bodies in peak condition, writers must exercise their craft regularly. By setting aside a specific time of day to write, you can train your mind to be ready and willing to tackle creative tasks.

And even if you don’t write anything during your designated writing time, simply sitting at your desk and thinking about your project can help get the creative juices flowing!

19. Give Yourself Permission to Write Badly!

One of the best ways to remove writer’s block is to permit yourself to write badly at first. This may seem counterintuitive, but often, the most challenging part of writing is getting started.

Once you’ve broken the ice and gotten a few words on the page, it becomes much easier to keep going. And even if your first draft is full of errors and choppy sentences, that’s okay! You can always go back and revise it later. Don’t be afraid to start, even if your initial efforts are far from perfect.

20. Read a Book on Writing

One way to combat writer’s block is to read a book on writing. This can help to give you some structure and direction, as well as provide inspiration and motivation.

Stephen King’s “On Writing” is an excellent choice for professional writers looking to improve their writing skills. In addition to offering advice on writing, King also shares his own journey as a writer. This makes for an engaging and motivating read that is sure to leave you feeling inspired.

21. Get Outside!

A great way to remove writer’s block is to go outside. Fresh air and sunlight help to clear the mind and boost creativity. Walking also helps increase blood flow and release endorphins, which can improve mental clarity.

In addition, nature provides a wealth of inspiration for writers. The sights and sounds of the world can offer new ideas and help spark our imaginations.

22. Record Yourself Pitching Ideas

One of the best ways to remove writer’s block is to record yourself brainstorming or pitching ideas. This way, you can watch or listen to the recording and see if your words make sense. If it doesn’t, don’t worry! Just try again.

This method is especially useful for people who tend to get lost in their own thoughts. By hearing yourself out loud, you can catch yourself getting off track and start working on getting back on track.

Additionally, this technique can help you better assess your ideas’ quality. If an idea doesn’t sound good when you say it out loud, it’s probably not worth pursuing.

Person Writing On A Notebook Beside Macbook

23. Experiment With Other Writing Methods

One of the best ways to remove writer’s block is to experiment with other writing methods. For instance, try writing in a different genre than you usually write in. If you typically write fiction, try writing a poem or a personal essay.

Or, if you typically write non-fiction, try writing a short story or a script. By expanding your repertoire, you’ll not only remove writer’s block, but you’ll also become a more well-rounded and creative writer.

Additionally, try different mediums; if you typically write on a computer, try handwriting your work or typing it on a mobile device. You may find that the change in scenery and format helps to jumpstart your creativity.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different formats and structures; if you typically write in a linear fashion, try writing non-linearly or vice versa.

By breaking out of your comfort zone and experimenting with new methods, you’ll remove writer’s block and discover new and exciting ways to write.

24. Exercise

If you’re stuck in a writing rut, it might be time to hit the gym. When you work out, your body releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. That’s right – exercise can actually help to break through writer’s block.

Exercise also helps improve blood flow and increase oxygen levels in the brain, which can improve cognitive function. I do some of my best thinking in the gym! So next time you’re struggling to write, try taking a break to go for a run or lift some weights. It’s a fantastic way to get your ideas flowing again.

assorted gym equipment inside the gym

25. Analyze the Causes of Your Block

Few things are as frustrating as sitting down to write only to find that the words won’t come. If you’re struggling with writer’s block, it can be helpful to take a step back and consider the root causes of your problem.

  • Are you feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand?
  • Are you second-guessing your ideas?
  • Are you striving for too much perfection?
  • Do other outside factors stress you?
  • Or are you simply having trouble getting started?

Once you’ve identified the source of your difficulty, you can begin to take steps to overcome it.

For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try breaking the project down into smaller tasks. If you’re second-guessing yourself, remind yourself that all writers have doubts but that it’s essential to keep pushing through them.

And if you’re having trouble getting started, try setting a timer for five minutes and just forcing yourself to write without stopping.

Dedication and perseverance are essential!

woman in black long sleeve shirt covering her face with her hands

What is Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is that feeling of being stuck, of not knowing what to say or how to say it. It can be frustrating and discouraging, making it hard to get any writing done at all.

For a writer, the blank page is both a challenge and an opportunity. It’s a chance to create something new, tell a story, or capture an experience. But it can also be daunting, especially when the pressure is on to produce something good. That’s when writer’s block is sometimes experienced.

Some people may find that they can still produce work, but it is of lower quality than usual. Others may even feel like their creativity has dried up completely.

The good news is that writer’s block is usually only temporary. By trying out some of the strategies listed here, most people can overcome it and get back to writing.

How to Overcome Writer's Block

Final Thoughts

As an emerging or professional writer, you know that sometimes the words don’t flow.

The good news is that there are plenty of techniques to help you beat writer’s block and get your ideas down on paper. By using some or all of these methods, you’ll be able to get your creative juices flowing and write great stories again!

If you have a method I didn’t include here in this article, please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll add it to the list!

Common Questions (FAQs)

How long does writer’s block usually last?

There’s no telling how long a bout of writer’s block will last. For some, it may only last a few hours or days. For others, it may stretch on for weeks or even months. The critical thing to remember is that writer’s block is normal and happens to everyone at some point. The best way to deal with it is to keep writing, even if your work isn’t your best.

What causes writer’s block?

One primary cause of writer’s block is mental fatigue, which stems from continuous writing or overwork. Another significant factor is the fear of criticism – the looming dread of negative feedback or the pressure to meet your own high standards. Additionally, a lack of inspiration or feeling disconnected from the subject matter can lead writers into a rut. These can lead to struggling to find a fresh perspective or new ideas.

How do I unblock my writing?

One effective method is to set a timer for a specific time and start writing. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling – just let the words flow onto the page. Another helpful strategy is to change up your routine. If you typically write in the morning, try writing at night. Or, if you usually write at your desk, try writing in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea. Sometimes, all it takes is a slight change to jumpstart your creativity. Finally, don’t be afraid to take breaks. Go for a walk, read a book, or watch a movie. Give your mind a chance to rest and refuel so that when you write again, you’ll be fresh and ready to go.

What does writer’s block feel like?

Writer’s block is the inability to generate ideas in the creative process. It can cause a mental block, making it challenging to put thoughts into words. This experience is marked by frustration, perceived inability to produce content, and self-doubt. Writer’s block is common among professionals and is usually temporary.

How do you help someone with writer’s block?

The first step is understanding that writer’s block is a natural phenomenon. It’s not simply a case of being lazy or undisciplined. Once you realize that, it’s much easier to be sympathetic and supportive. The next step is to brainstorm possible solutions together. This can include taking breaks, changing the setting, trying different prompts or exercises, or even working on a different project altogether. The most important thing is to find what works for the individual and to be patient. It may take some trial and error, but eventually, the words will flow again.

How do you overcome severe writer’s block?

One approach is to take a break from writing and focus on another creative activity, such as painting or gardening. This can help to refresh your mind and give you a new perspective on your project. Another strategy is to set some structure for your writing session, such as setting a timer for 20 minutes and working on a small task at a time. This can help break the project into manageable chunks and make it less daunting. Talking to other writers about their experiences with writer’s block can be helpful.

Love writing? Check out these fantastic articles:

The Best Gifts for Writers (Thoughtful and Appreciated!)

The Best Writing Tools for Fiction Writers (Reviewed!)

Best Laptop for Writers: The Future of Writing Technology

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