How to break through writer’s block



You’ve carved out the time. Got your snazziest creative cap on. Coffee is still hot. All the stars and planets have aligned for this moment and yet - the words are not coming. Not even a little bit.


It happens to the best of us. Writer’s block can come on suddenly, without warning, whether you write for a living (like me) or are penning a novella in your spare time for fun.


I’ve found that instead of sitting in front of a blank screen with only my inner, obnoxious critic for company (“wow, you call yourself a professional and you can’t even write a sentence - you FOOL!”) there is a way to crawl out of the depths of despair.


So, if you’re reading this after a frantic google search, I got you boo.


6 ways to overcome writer’s block


1. Write your way out of it


It seems counter-intuitive, but the sound of tapping keys will get your creativity flowing again. You know like how if you’re sad and you start fake laughing you can trick your brain into thinking you’re actually happy. Yeah, that - but for writing.


Stop mulling over the words that are not coming to you and have a go at writing something else.


Anything else. You don’t even have to write full sentences, start with bullet points.


Like a shopping list. Or the plot of your favourite novel. Or the lyrics from a song.


Do this for about 15 minutes and then try to go back to the thing you really want to write and you may have tricked your fingers into typing a bunch of useful words.


2. Go outside


Take a screen break and get some fresh air.


Contrary to #inspo posts, you don’t need to go for a hike and fully immerse yourself in nature for this to work. Think convenience, so even if it is a short power walk up the road and back, it will do the trick.


Use the time away to really think about the topic you’re trying to write about. Pick it apart. Put it back together again. Is there a reason why you’re tripping over your words? Maybe you haven’t done enough research, or you need input from someone else?


A change of scene and a flood of exercise-induced endorphins may be the antidote you need.


3. Turn off all distractions


Look you’re complaining about having writer’s block, yet you’re here reading this. Which can only mean that you are procrastinating my friend.


Turn your phone on flight mode. Turn off the background-noise Netflix show. Close those day-old tabs that are haunting you like a bad hangover.


Maybe it’s not writer's block you’re battling with, it’s a lack of focus.


4. Create a word cloud


If you’re struggling to piece together sentences, then strip it back further. Start with keywords. Synonym the shit out of them. And build yourself a word cloud.


I find this works best if you’re scribbling on paper (old school style) because you can create connections between the words and before you know it… you’ve discovered anchors to those trapped sentences.


Let’s do a practice run. I’m writing about a product that’s just hit my virtual shelves. It’s a scented candle.


My word cloud might be something like:


Lavender, botanical, flame, flickering, zen, peaceful, tranquil, self-care, me-time.


Now I’ve gone from attempting to write about an uninspiring product to writing about a mood - a much better starting point.


5. Do your chores, no really


Albert Einstein had a menial job so that he could give himself the headspace to you know, be all super smart and stuff. So, this is a tip I owe to him (and Big Bang Theory for teaching me more about physics/life hacks than educational institutions).


If you’re stuck, go do the washing up. Or a bit of dusting. Or dig out the shredder and go to town on a pile of old bank statements.


Do something small to take your brain away from the task at hand and you may find that that said task is all you can think about.


6. Start in the middle


We would never tell the punchline of the joke first. Or start a story without the ‘once upon a time’ lead-up. But, that innate desire to write in chronological order may be the cause of your writer’s block. Because you’re searching for that perfect opening line.


I get it, you want to set the scene before you throw all your characters onto the stage.


Even though it doesn’t feel natural, skip the beginning and try writing the middle or the end. Or write a random fact that might not even make it to the final cut. If the intro is your blocker, then skip it. Simple.



Did any of my tips work for you? Drop me a DM @words.by.elena


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