How to Fix Writer’s Block – The Unrivalled Guide on Keeping Your Wits

Writer’s block is the bane of every author’s existence. You can be cranking out content and rocking deadlines one minute and then staring at a blank screen the next. Desperately trying to remember why you chose such an exhausting career in the first place. It is a horrible occurrence; one that writers go through far too often— I included; which is what inspired me to create this quick guide! I wish I could promise that reading this post will cure writer’s block forever, but that would be false advertising. Writer’s block is a form of burn-out. And unless you are some type of self-aware robot, you will experience burn-out again. It is part of being human. But just because I can’t eliminate writer’s block, doesn’t mean I can’t be of any assistance at all. The strategies I am about to share with you have helped me get through writer’s block time and time again. And I’m certain that they will help you as well! So, “how do you fix writer’s block,” you ask? The answer lies in these five simple steps.

Permit Yourself to Feel Frustrated

When we fail to accomplish a goal, it is natural to feel frustrated and even a little angry with ourselves.  But just because this feeling is natural, doesn’t mean we immediately recognize it to be so. In truth, the reason why we get so upset is that we think there is something wrong with that. This usually occurs when we set our expectations too high, and we feel that we should never experience set-backs in our daily lives. This might be a hard thing to admit to you, I know it was for me, but whether we like it or not we are human. And being human means that we are going to make mistakes and experience the occasional bout of frustration. So don’t try to fight it. Just take a deep breath and allow the emotions to pass through you. Try lying back in a chair, and wrapping your arms around you. This is called self-love. Sometimes the only person, who can understand exactly what you are going through, is you.

Therefore, you need to treat yourself with respect and give yourself some love and understanding. When you are feeling more relaxed you can focus on giving yourself some validation. Acknowledge that you are feeling frustrated or angry, and remind yourself that this is okay. Of course, you are feeling angry! You have your heart set on accomplishing a goal and writer’s block (or burn-out if you prefer) is preventing you from accomplishing this goal. But it’s alright. What you are feeling is natural and it will pass.

Write Down What You Are Feeling in the Moment

Now that you have acknowledged your feelings, start writing them down; you can use a digital note app, Microsoft Word, or even a physical journal. You don’t have to write long sentences, it isn’t a book-writing exercise. Your thoughts can be simple point-form notes that clearly describe your emotions. If you want, you can also jot-down the reasons why you are feeling the way you are. Don’t worry about “sounding” judgemental or petty. No one is going to be seeing these notes except you. They are for your eyes only.  Writing down what you feel is a great way to flush negative thoughts out of your system. Not very many people do this exercise anymore because they think it is childish, but in reality, it is a very normal and healthy way to deal with your frustrations. And if this exercise is making you feel childish — that is something to write down! I bet acknowledging that feeling will help make it disappear.

Am I sounding annoying yet? 😉

Take a Shower

Long hot showers may not help with your hydro (or electric) bill, but they can do wonders for your mental health! The combination of warm water and steam is the perfect remedy for easing most stresses — including writer’s block! For example,  after I sit down in my shower stall (yes, I have a stall) I let small amounts of hot water flow down my back and I lean against the sturdy wall and close my eyes. After a few moments of completely letting go and forgetting about the outside world, creative thoughts often start coming to me. Sometimes all at once; this may sound a tad overwhelming but my soothing surroundings keep the anxiety at bay. And I’m able to just acknowledge and enjoy my new-found creative energy. If I am being completely honest with myself, and with you, some of the best writing ideas I have ever had come to me in the shower. You might think that this is a frustrating event because the ideas could just slip away as soon as I get out of the shower right? Well, this used to be true until I discovered waterproof journals and pens by Rite in the Rain.

These journals, and their writing utensils, were specifically designed to survive all weather conditions. Professional journalists use them and now — so do I! I keep my waterproof pad and pen on my shower ledge so it is right beside me throughout my entire showering experience. If a creative thought starts coming to me while I relax, I just take a moment to write it down and then go right back relaxing. It’s heaven! The best part about this whole arrangement is you don’t have to look at the ideas until you are ready to start writing again. The journal can just stay hidden in the bathroom out of sight until you feel the urge to type!

Try Creative Visualization

This exercise is tons of fun. Especially if you are a cartoon-buff; usually, creative visualization is done through guided meditation, but I like to do it a bit differently. Try lying down with your head resting comfortably on a pillow, close your eyes, and visualize your favourite cartoon character. It doesn’t matter if the character is from a film, TV show, or comic book, the only thing that matters is their appearance. If you know the character well, you will be able to see them clearly in your mind. Once they are fixed in your memory, start adding to the image. Add your colours, patterns, clothes, accessories or whatever else you like! Just dress them up! This fun activity can help you see a story from a different angle.

Experiment with “Fun” Writing

More often than not, writer’s block occurs because you have done nothing but concentrate on writing for work. Writing may be what you love to do, but it can be exhausting when you are consistently writing for other people and not for yourself. When you write for other people there are rules you have to follow, and deadlines you have to meet. This can put a real damper on your creativity, which is why it is very important to take some time to just write for you! It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular either. Just forget about rules and targeting a specific audience. None of that matters now.

Let your imagination run wild: Use big, hard to understand words; mix your tenses just because you can, or create characters that are completely unrealistic. Letting go in this way can really help get the creative juices flowing. However, I only recommend doing this exercise once you have given all the others a try. If you are too tense, ideas will not come to you. Not even crazy ones!


Did you find this article helpful? If so, feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to hear about your progress.

30 thoughts on “How to Fix Writer’s Block – The Unrivalled Guide on Keeping Your Wits”

  1. This is an absolutely awesome post Darcy. I have been writing about food and health for more than 10 years now. The block happens to me like all the time and I have never ever found such perfect solution to it as I have read in this article. I will definitely give every One of the 5 steps a try. 

    1. Your kind words mean a lot to me, Juliet. Congratulations for ten years of successful writing! Rest assured that writer’s block happens to us all and there are many different ways of overcoming it. I battled with finding solutions to this type of burn-out for years until I stopped doing research and gave my own methods a try. I am thrilled you found these tips helpful!

      I look forward to hearing more about your writing journey.

  2. Those are some good points for helping with writer’s block. I had never considered taking a shower, but that might be the next one I try!

    I do use the other suggestions on those occasions that writer’s block challenges me. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often but when it does, it can be quite discouraging. After all, we only have so much time to write and if that time is not used, it’s lost.

    Thanks for the great suggestions!

    1. Hi Diane,

      I am happy to hear that writer’s block isn’t a common occurrence  for you. When I get writer’s block, I try not to think of my time as lost, for that can increase feelings of discouragement. I find it helpful to think of it as a period of reflection and regeneration. Taking care of your mind and body is equally as important as accomplishing your goals. 🙂

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Please let me know how taking a shower works for you!

  3. Thank you for this piece of content. Writer’s block is something i myself have encountered while trying to put out content. Taking a shower to feel relaxed has never been put into practice but i think i may have to work on that, hoping it works though. Eliminating this tough issue takes time and patience, but it definitely will pay off along the line.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Wilfred. When we are experiencing burn-out, it is important to focus on what we have accomplished in the past and how much more we will accomplish once we have overcome the struggle. I look forward to hearing how the shower technique works for you.

  4. As a writer, I have experienced writer’s block far too many times, and I can tell you it is not a fun feeling. You can’t get anything done yet you have tons of work to be completed. What works for me is taking short relaxing walks and forgetting about work for a minute. Writing fun stuff as you have suggested sounds good so I will surely try it out the next time I’m feeling low. Thanks for sharing

    1. I completely understand where you are coming from, Martin. Any form of burn-out can be debilitating. You are taking great strides in overcoming your struggles by taking relaxing walks. That’s awesome. Fresh air can really help clear the mind. It is important not to get to down on ourselves when we are experiencing writer’s block. It is something that is beyond our control. But we can control how to cope with it when it happens. 🙂

      I look forward to hearing how fun writing works for you!

  5. Great article Darcy. I am a beginner myself in blogging. I often encounter dead ends. I did not know that one can better himself with easy methods like taking a long hot shower and being an over thinker I like t set too high expectations. I should ease on such also and take it easy. Thanks for the article it surely helped me. 

    1. You are more than welcome, Ezra. I personally have a tendency to be hard on myself when thoughts are not coming to mind. It is easy to get worked-up thinking about deadlines and things. It is important to remember that writer’s block is normal, and more often than not, beyond our control. And that’s okay. Taking time for ourselves can really do wonders for our creativity. Even if you only got 100 words down before you needed to take a long break. The fact that you got any amount of words down at all is progress!

      Let me know how taking a shower works for you. It is my favorite strategy to use. 🙂

  6. I absolutely loved this article as I’ve been a songwriter for over 40 years and have run into this situation so many times, especially now! The part about self-love and understanding that it’s okay to feel defeated was amazing. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and many emotions that have unknowingly been locked inside are now free from my mind and body! Thank you so much, I so glad I came across this. 

    1. Your comment brought tears to my eyes, Nick. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. Emotions, and unwanted thoughts, can build up gradually overtime without us even realizing it. When this happens we have a tenancy to be very hard on ourselves when we can’t accomplish a goal, which makes the stress we are experiencing even worse and we forget to be kind to ourselves. But the moment we start offering ourselves comfort and understanding, our who perspective on life can change!

      I am thrilled that my article has helped you find peace of mind.

      I look forward to hearing more about your writing journey. 🙂

      Yours,

      Darcy

  7. Your article ‘How To Fix Writer’s Block – The Unrivalled Guide on Keeping Your Wits’ was a really intriguing and insightful piece of writing. I thoroughly enjoyed going through it. Writer’s bock has been a serious impediment to many content creators most times leaving them dejected and downtrodden. Your article will definitely help prevent this. 

    1. Thank you, Sean. As a professional writer I have had many encounters with writer’s block. And over time I learned to think of it like a troublesome co-worker who won’t leave me alone. This allowed me to look deep inside myself and come up with ways to help solve the issue. I’m glad you found the article helpful! That is the ultimate goal. 

  8. Hello,

    I really enjoyed reading this timely article. I have been going crazy with writer’s block lately while writing my latest YA novel and finding it extremely difficult to overcome. I’m glad to learn that this is not because of a lack of imagination on my part, but simply ‘burn out’. This makes so much sense, I have been working really hard to keep up with my deadlines and I think the pressure of it is getting to me. 

    I also like the idea about keeping a journal in the bathroom for ideas that may come while in the shower, that has happened to me for sure. It’s true that ideas seem to show up when you are in a relaxing environment. For me, most of my ideas seem to come while I’m taking nice long nature walks, so I think I know what I’m doing this weekend… a lot of walking. 

    Thanks again for a great article, it was very helpful. 

    Michelle

    1. Hi, Michelle!

      I am thrilled that my article was able to put your mind at ease. Writer’s block can be debilitating and even cause depression. I’ve been there! But once I learned that writer’s block is just another form of burn-out, I was able to take the necessary measures to get myself through it.

      Also, please allow me to congratulate you on taking the time to research and understand where your difficulties are coming from. That is the sign of a determined writer and overall healthy individual. Taking nature walks is a wonderful idea, and I just might try that tip myself!

      If you find yourself struggling with writer’s block in the future, feel free to take advantage of the free guide I have listed here. It can help you remember what you need to do during a writer’s block crisis without having to worry about flipping back and forth to this blog post.

      Sincerely yours,

      Darcy

  9. You make some good suggestions here. Taking a shower often works for me as it freshens me up and enables me to return revitalized.

    I also like finding something else that needs doing that isn’t writing. This way I am still being productive.

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. That is a very healthy method for getting through bouts of burn-out/writer’s block, Catherine! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. I look forward to hearing more from you about your writing journey. 🙂

      All the best,
      Darcy

    2. Hello Darcy,

      Great post and very useful advice for the Writer’s Block.
      As a blogger I face this rather frequently and undoubtedly with your advice I will manage better ahead.
      Thank you so much and I will share this post.
      Pablo

      1. Hello Pablo,
        I am so thrilled to hear that my post was of help to you. Writer’s block is always a concern (and struggle) for full-time writers like you and me, and I strive to do everything in my power to help others get through it!

        I hope to hear from you again regarding your success with overcoming this form of burn-out. 🙂

        Yours,
        Darcy

  10. This article was very interesting. It was fun to read about how everyone deals with writer’s block.

    If I am in my office, I ususally lean back in my chair and close my eyes. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I may listen to something related to my niche (I have a sports blog), like an interview. I had an idea for a feature a few weeks ago come to me from how a coach answered a question during an interview.

    Here’s a snapshot into my writing cycle. My sports blog is a little different than most. I’m a pretty deliberate person. Once I get an idea, it takes me a few hours to develop an outline and at least another day to a day and half to research it. The fun really begins when I start writing the piece. I’m always revising it to make it flows like a conversation. And I spend a lot of time looking for the right images. I typically end up posting once a week, but I do stay connected to my readers on a daily basis through my group Facebook page.

    After I publish the feature, I have this feeling of exhilaration. Then about three or four hours later, the process starts all over again.

    Besides having completed a story, my most favorite feeling is when I think I’ve come up with the right angle for a post that will have the most impact. That’s usually enough motivation to keep pushing forward.

    But I don’t mind saying I can’t wait until we can safely put this pandemic behind us. It’s challenging to have a college sports blog when there aren’t any college sports being played right now. Thanks for the information!

    1. Wow, Karl — you are truly a born-writer! I can hear your passion and excitement as you share your thought process with everyone here. Good on you for keeping in touch with your audience in between posts. Once a week is an excellent schedule, especially during these times. Do you have a link to your blog? I would truly love to see the articles you work so hard to publish.

  11. Hi Darcy,

    As already mentioned, it’s inevitable that as a writer you’re going to experience writer’s block at some stage.

    I especially like that you’ve mentioned “fun” writing, and you’re perfectly correct in that writer’s block will typically appear when you’ve spent many days in work mode.

    I guess it makes perfect sense to let your hair down and just write for enjoyment, nothing more.

    Personally, I enjoy journaling a couple of times a day, and this can often spark some inspiration.

    Additonally, I always have a pen and pad to hand throughout the day and tend to jot down anything that comes to mind. So, there’s always ideas at hand.

    Anyway, thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable read and keep up the great work.
    Partha

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Partha. Writing in a journal every day is definitely an excellent way to keep your creativity active. I enjoy doing the same. Especially in the shower. 😉

  12. A very interesting post.
    Prior to starting my own blog, I thought I was an ‘amazing’ writer (yeah right), however since starting I realise how tough it can be. Sometimes, I look at other blog posts and say to myself “wow how did they write all that?” I honestly get lost sometimes 🙁
    Glad to read that it is a common issue and you have provided useful tips I can implement. I am doing a lot of learning as well to try and get my writing in order.
    Thanks for this.

    1. Hello, A ekufaa. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. I am so sorry to hear that you don’t always feel like your writing is good enough. Please know, that this is a common feeling among most artists, and it is a belief that is not at all true. It is,however, human nature to compare ourselves to others. And when we do this, our inner critic comes out and tries to convince us that we are not talented enough to be successful. The trick to overcome this is to train our brains to not constantly compare ourselves to other people. This is easier said than done of course, but still accomplish-able all the same. I found that guided meditation helped me a lot with this particular struggle. Every once in a while the thought bubbles to the service again, but when it does I like to think of this lyric:

      “The flowers reaching for the sun are all uniquely blessed
      But though each is special not a one is better than the rest.”

      I am sure your writing is fabulous. It’s not bad, just different. There is never anything wrong with that! Being original will get you far. And you are already taking huge strides in your writing career by striving to learn and improve yourself. That in itself is amazing.

      Thanks again for your comment — I’m glad my article was able to help you. 🙂

      Sincerely yours,
      Darcy

  13. It happens to every writer / blogger. It’s inevitable. You feel as if there is no creative bone left in your body, and you want to throw in the towel. As you rightly it is important to acknowledge the feelings…when I experience this I simply shut my laptop and go for a walk. I read some inspiring quotes…I do everything to get in the momentum as I believe you do not overcome writer’s block by refusing to write until you feel “inspired.”

    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this subject, Satz. Going for a walk and reading inspiring quotes is a very healthy way of coping/getting through any sort of burn-out. Good on you for taking action to overcome such an issue rather than just waiting for it to subside.

      Hope to hear from you again.

      Regards,
      Darcy

  14. Thank you so much for this highly informative article, Darcy! As someone who occasionally suffers from writer’s block myself (usually when I’m really tired or overwhelmed), I find that taking a long shower, taking a nap, eating a healthy snack (usually a fruit and vegetable bowl), and just breathing helps me to get my creative juices flowing again (call me the Niagara Falls of writing! Haha). You have presented some excellent tips here, and I will definitely take them to heart! Great read! God bless you!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, C.N.
      I can definitely relate to you about suffering from writer’s block when feeling overwhelmed by something. Anxiety can interfere with all aspects of life and it is nice to hear that you are keeping both your mind and body healthy…

      “the Niagara Falls of writing!” I love that! 🙂

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