cure writer's block

Table of Contents

What is Writer’s Block?

Many, if not most, writers have experienced the dreaded phenomenon called writer’s block. You sit down, ready to write that amazing story you’ve been thinking about, but the words seem to disappear from your mind. You feel completely uninspired and the creativity and motivation you once counted on seem to be slipping through your fingers. 

Writer’s block is characterized by the inability to write in a consistent manner. You might type a few sentences here and there, but you are incapable of getting into a state of flow.

Within the field of positive psychology, a state of flow is defined as being completely immersed/absorbed in a particular activity and taking pleasure in said activity. A flow state is characterized by the absence of mind wandering and detachment. When you are incapable of entering this state, the process of writing can feel choppy, less enjoyable, or even painful.

It can be extremely discouraging to have the desire to write but experience the inability to do so. In order to learn how to cure writer’s block, it’s important to understand why such a phenomenon happens in the first place.

Discover What is Causing your Creative Block and 10 tips to Cure Writer’s Block

So, what is causing your writer’s block? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer here. Writer’s block can be experienced in many different ways, and it can be caused by a plethora of things. Every writer’s situation is different.

One thing is certain, writing is cognitively tasking. It requires creativity, hard work, discipline, and even vulnerability. Many things can hamper your writing process and make you feel inadequate and powerless. However, the last thing you want to do is give up because the only way to truly get over writer’s block is to KEEP WRITING, regardless of how hard that feels.

The reasons behind your writer’s block will usually consist of a complex mixture of different things. Below, I have written down a list of the most common reasons writer’s block can occur and tips on how to cure writer’s block.

1. Lack of ideas/creativity

One of the more obvious causes of writer’s block is simply not knowing what to write about. You might feel stuck and uninspired. Every idea you have may seem dull and unoriginal to you.

Although this is a very common experience, many writers will still feel inadequate when their stream of amazing ideas runs out. I mean, I get it. How can you possibly write when it feels like all of your creativity has run dry? When this happens, the first thing you need to remember is that not every idea you have will be profound and beautiful. Some of them will be mundane and that’s okay.

Tip #1 to Cure Writer’s Block

Writing shit stories is very much at the core of the writing process. So, when it feels like all of your “good” ideas have run out, instead of calling it quits for the day, I want you to grab a pen and paper and start purposefully writing all of your bad ideas down.

Don’t think about it too hard and simply write 15 – 30 bad/boring story ideas. Then I want you to choose one of those ideas and develop it further and keep changing little details until you feel somewhat satisfied with it. The goal here isn’t perfection or to create a life-changing story. You must train yourself to continue writing even when inspiration is lacking because that is how you become a good writer.

2. Too many ideas/indecisive

Sometimes lacking inspiration is far from being the problem. In fact, you may have too many ideas and have difficulty choosing which one to write about. You might feel conflicted and indecisive because you don’t know where to start. You don’t want to write about just any old story. You want your story to set your soul on fire and capture your readers’ hearts.

Tip #2 to Cure Writer’s Block

So, how do you fix this problem? I want you to sit down somewhere quiet without any distractions and write down all of your potential story ideas. Then I want you to organize these ideas into a list from “worst” to best. Really think about which ideas are the most urgent and compelling and which ones can wait. I want you to start your list with your least favorite ideas because it’s easier to eliminate those first and it takes the pressure off of deciding which one of your story ideas is the “best” one.

3. Lack of motivation

For some of you, lack of motivation may be what is causing your writer’s block. You have the ideas in your head, but you can’t seem to translate them onto paper. Something is blocking you from writing the stories you’ve been thinking about for ages. If this is the case for you, you need to understand that it is completely normal to lack motivation from time to time. Motivation is fleeting and if you are to become a skilled, consistent writer, you cannot rely on it to guide your writing process.

If you do, you might engage in something called “binge writing” which is when you avoid writing for long periods of time (often weeks on end) and then suddenly do a lot of writing in a very short period of time (when the motivation you’ve been lacking finally makes an appearance). Binge-writing is neither an effective nor desirable way to write stories (trust me I know, I’ve been there).

Tip #3 to Cure Writer’s Block

So, what should you do instead? You need to train yourself to write consistently whether it be on a daily or weekly basis. Stop depending on motivation because it is unreliable. Choose a place (ex: in your room), a time, and a frequency (ex: 4 times/week) where you dedicate yourself to writing. You need to do this over and over again until it becomes a habit. This will train your brain to associate a particular place and time with writing. Remember the more you do this, the easier it will become to write.

4. Burnout/fatigue

Writer’s block can be a result of you being burnt out. Burnout can arise when you’ve pushed your brain or body to maximum capacity. When going through burnout, you might feel exhausted and overwhelmed by even the simplest of tasks.

Tip #4 to Cure Writer’s Block

So, if you’ve been going through a lot lately, take the time to actually rest for a few days and do nothing. Avoid thinking too much about your novel/story for a while. I want you to watch movies, go for a walk, have a drink, and just chill for a while until you feel energized again. Rest actually allows for creativity to flourish, and chances are while you are giving yourself some time off,  ideas will come easier to you and you’ll find yourself actually wanting to write again.

5. Frustration/anger

I think all writers go through moments where finishing or even starting their projects causes them a great deal of irritation. However, for some of you, this frustration can be overwhelming and cause you to completely stop writing, which is exactly what you should avoid doing. I know it is way easier said than done but you mustn’t avoid writing simply because you are frustrated.

Tip #5 to Cure Writer’s Block

Not only is frustration a normal part of the creative process, but it is an integral component. In fact, this emotion is simply there to tell you that there is a component of your story that needs refining or changing. The sooner you accept this as a fact, the easier it will be for you to continue writing even when you feel irritated or dissatisfied with your work. Here

6. You’re easily distracted

Imagine this: You sit down at your desk, coffee in hand, ready to tackle the story you’ve been imagining for ages. You open your word page and start typing. Everything is going smoothly until you receive a text. You quickly answer it and then immediately go back to writing. But then you wonder if you’ve received that email you were waiting for. Then you receive another text and pretty soon 2 hours have passed, and your word page remains blank.

Sometimes the cause of your writer’s block is something as simple as being too distracted. Being distracted is truly the antithesis of a successful writing session. In order to thrive as a writer, you need to be focused and persistent on a consistent basis. Deep down, we all know this. However, sometimes we tend to believe that we are exceptions to the rule and that one text won’t hurt.

Tip #6 to Cure Writer’s Block

So, what are some strategies that you can use to avoid being distracted during your writing process? I have listed a few helpful tips below that should limit the number of interruptions you experience as you’re writing.

  • Turn off all your notifications because simply hearing those sounds can distract you. Even if you don’t actually respond or check the email; you’ll still be wondering in the back of your mind who texted you.
  • Clean out your desk, and make sure there are no distracting items on it that you might be tempted to reach for (this includes snacks).
  • Before you start writing, make sure you have everything you need so that you can limit the number of times you get up from your desk.
  • You can use minimalist apps that help you avoid being distracted.

Here are some other resources to help you avoid distractions

How to Increase Your Focus and Not Get Distracted

Easily Distracted? 11 Tips on How to Not Get Distracted

7. You’ve strayed from your initial narrative

Sometimes your story takes an unexpected turn, and you find yourself with a narrative that is completely different from what you had initially envisioned. When this happens, it can be hard to know where to go from there because none of this was planned.

Tip #7 to Cure Writer’s Block

If this is your situation, instead of getting frustrated and panicking, I want you to take a step back and simply rethink your story for a couple of days. Straying from your initial narrative isn’t actually a bad thing. This process can actually help you create an unexpected and intriguing story that might even be better than what you had initially planned.

Whilst you are rethinking your story, I want you to identify the things that may be causing you to block. Have your characters developed in an unexpected way and you’re unsure where to go from there? Has your narrative strayed from what you had originally planned and you’re unsure how to finish your story? Whatever the problem is, I want you to write them down on a piece of paper and think about how you can adjust your initial plan to fit with the new changes you’ve made.

You can even take inspiration from other writers with similar characters, and plotlines to aid you in rewriting the rest of your story. Sometimes even going back a couple of pages and making a few adjustments here and there can really make everything come together. Take all the time you need to replan, rewrite, and reset.

8. Perfectionism

I believe perfectionism is very common for a lot of writers and artists. When you are creating something, whether it be a story or a painting, you want it to reflect everything you had envisioned in your head. But, as we all know, the process of creation is rarely predictable and can take many different routes.

Writer’s block can commonly arise from perfectionism because instead of advancing in your story, you remain stuck constantly revising what you’ve previously written. You might have a burning desire to rewrite a paragraph until it satisfies you completely. Lingering in this revision state means that you never finish your work and may even become discouraged and give up entirely.

Tip #8 to Cure Writer’s Block

If you can relate to this scenario, what I want you to do is set specific times when you write and others where all you do is revise. Preferably, you would do these on separate days to give yourself time away from your story so you can gain a fresh new perspective on it. During your writing sessions, unless you come up with an idea that changes your story for the better, avoid revising little sentences/words. At the end of the day, perfectionism stems from a fear of not being good enough and causes you to never finish what you start. I want you to practice finishing your work and worrying about revisions later.

9. Self-doubt/criticism

Sometimes the problem is simply that you don’t believe in yourself. Every creative has experienced doubts and moments where they don’t feel as confident in their craft. A little doubt and anxiety here and there are completely normal but if you experience these emotions to the extent where they paralyze you, then it’s time to change your way of thinking.

Tip #9 to Cure Writer’s Block

I want you to write down the negative beliefs you have about yourself that concern your writing and change them into positive ones. For example, if you often think “ My writing is awful”, I want you to replace that with “My Writing can be improved”. Every time you catch yourself thinking these negative thoughts during your writing process, replace them with more constructive ones. Although this will not fix all of your problems, it will drastically improve the relationship you have with yourself and your craft.

10. Comparison

I think most of us have already heard the expression that comparison is the thief of joy. Well, this is no different for us writers. Comparing your craft to that of others and believing that you’ll never be as good as them is a surefire way to enter writer’s block territory.

Tip #10 to Cure Writer’s Block

Although it is extremely hard, you need to avoid comparing yourself to others. If you define your own success by whether or not you’re better than your neighbor, you will never be satisfied, and you’d be depriving the world of your uniqueness. Instead of comparing yourself to other writers, ask yourself “does my story align with my vision?” or “Is my story serving the purpose I had set?”.

When you don’t know what is causing your writer’s block

For some of you, even if you have read this entire article, you will still be unable to identify what is causing your writer’s block. Writer’s block is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon and there’s often no easy answer as to what’s causing it. If this is the case for you, I have a couple more tips that will hopefully help you overcome this issue.   

Try Journaling

The easiest way to understand how to get past writer’s block is to actually uncover what is causing it in the first place. There is a specific journaling technique that can help you do just that. I want you to grab a notebook or a piece of paper and write down the following prompt “ I have difficulty writing because…”. Then I want you to come up with as many reasons that you resonate with. I don’t want you to think too hard about each reason. Just write what comes to your mind and complete the prompt.

Once you’ve done that, go over all the reasons you’ve stated and try to see if you notice any clear patterns. For example, if you’ve written down “I’m scared of what people might think” and “I’m not as good at writing stories as I would like to be”, self-doubt and/or perfectionism might be the reasons behind your writer’s block.

Once you’ve identified, the possible reasons that could be causing your creative block, I want you to engage in an exercise called “self-dialogue”. On a separate page, I want you to jot down the following questions: Could this be the reason for my writer’s block? Why do I believe this is a potential cause of my writer’s block? What are other related reasons that could potentially be dampening my creativity/motivation?

I want you to answer these questions for each potential factor that you identified in the first exercise you completed. Doing this will help you navigate your own emotions and thoughts about why you believe you’re experiencing writer’s block. Once you’ve identified the reasons that seem the most plausible to you, you can refer to the previous sections of this article to find tips on overcoming the specific issue you’re struggling with.  

Experiment/ Develop a writing habit

If you’ve tried the journaling exercise and you are still unable to identify the potential cause of your writer’s block, then I have a couple more tips and one more exercise I want you to try. In order to overcome your creative block, I want you to try experimenting with your writing habits. Sometimes simply doing something differently can unlock your creativity in unforeseen ways.

Hence, I want you to try writing in different places and at different moments during the day. Experiment with different habits until you find something that works. If you always write alone in your room, try going to a coffee shop instead. If you always write in the morning, try writing in the afternoon instead. Experiment with different ways and methods to uncover which one works best for you. If you feel alone and unmotivated in your endeavor to find new ways to enrich your writing process, you can try joining a writing community.

Once you’ve experimented with your writing and have developed a process that works best for you, I want you to try the following exercise: Gather three jars (or bowls, whatever you can find). One jar will be titled characters, the second one, setting and the last one will be titled plot. Fill each of these jars with character settings, and plots ideas that you will write on small pieces of paper.

When you feel uninspired or unable to write, randomly pick a piece of paper from each jar, and try to write a story with the items you’ve chosen. For example, let’s say the character you’ve chosen is a 35-year-old alcoholic man, your setting is a castle and your chosen plot is a love triangle. I want you to attempt to write a short story with these items. Don’t worry too much about your story making sense. The goal here isn’t to create a perfect story but to explore new ideas and unleash your creativity.

I hope you guys found these tips helpful and feel free to comment any additional tips and tricks that have worked for you down below!

Related Articles


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *