8 Little-Known Ways to Smash Through Writer’s Block

    smash through writer's block - fist through glass

    Writing has always come easily for me. I remember back in first grade when I learned how to write. I had a small notebook where I would write stories about a teddy bear that always killed his other animal friends. I know, I know, I was a twisted child, what can you do?

    Letting your writing flow is not always easy. A slow flow is something that plagues a lot of people. It most likely stops you from creating more content and progressing at a much higher rate. What if you could write just one more article per day? You could start another blog. You could send it in as a guest post. Imagine the extra exposure.

    4 Restrictive Reasons for Writer’s Block

    There are many reasons we sit and stare at a blank sheet of virtual paper. In my own life the biggest reasons are:

    1. Perfectionism. We all have to start somewhere. One of my biggest obstacles is perfectionism, which haunts me all the time. It’s constantly in the back of my mind. I see it as a friend who needs a couch to sleep on. Keep on writing and make mistakes with confidence, there’s nothing more to be done.

    2. Fear. This is a huge topic, because it covers so many fears. Fear of rejection. Fear of the unknown. Fear of fear. The list goes on. The thoughts running through your mind have their place, but you do not have to listen to them all the time. Allow them to move on and release your fears.

    3. Trust. Do you think you can provide value? Do you trust yourself? When youíre writing about something youíre passionate about and you know you can provide value, trust usually comes naturally. If not, write enough and trust will follow.

    4. State. Your emotional state is more important than you think. If you’re tense and anxious, you are essentially blocking the flow of energy in your body. This will have a significant impact on your writing.

    Being Aware

    Just taking a deep breath, looking around and thinking about the things you are grateful for can dramatically alter your emotional state. It’s easy to get bogged down on what is bothering us, so we have to remind ourselves about the good things in life.

    I have noticed that when I go through or even write down a list of things I am grateful for, my energy shifts, things start to flow and everything comes together. If you have a lot going on in your head, write things down, clarify your goals and release them all by taking a few deep breaths.

    8 Ways to Destroy Writer’s Block

    Completely eliminating writer’s block can be done in many ways, but I’ve come up with a few tricks of my own. I’ve written close to one million words this year. I’m an article marketer, so I’ve written several thousand articles. Here are a few of my own personal ways to eliminate writer’s block from the inside out:

    1. Gratitude. As I said above, gratitude is a powerful tool to raise your state and get your ideas flowing again. When we are in a positive mental state, we get more done, we have a greater impact on others and our writing kicks ass.

    2. Meditation. Many are afraid of meditation. It is nothing more than focusing on one thing at a time. You can meditate while doing the dishes. You can also meditate while sitting down and focusing on your breath. It allows you to reset your brain. It is also a great tool for inspiration and healing.

    3. Walking. If you haven’t tried walking when you’re stuck, you have to! Walking in nature grounds you and brings you back to your roots. Just walk, breathe and relax. It’s a kind of walking meditation. Let your mind rest and focus on your body as you walk. When you come back, you will be refreshed and you most likely will have one or several ideas waiting to come out.

    4. Kindness. Do something nice to someone. Hug your mother. Tell your loved ones that you love them. Be with your pet. Help an old person. Give a homeless person food. Smile at everyone you meet. Say hi to everyone. Kindness opens your heart and unleashes your creativity.

    5. Video. Youtube has thousands upon thousands of inspirational and funny videos that will lift your spirit and give you inspiration for new ideas. Sometimes looking at something that has already been done will allow you to fill in the gaps.

    6. Reading. Do you have a favorite book that always seems to improve your mood? Or just something that inspires you? One of my favorites is the Power of Now. It has had a profound impact on my life and how I write.

    7. Being present. Being in the now, breathing and enjoying what is will improve and energize your writing. It is as if you’ve put lightning into your prose. It jumps out of the page and comes to life. It energizes the souls reading it and enlightens those that least expect it.

    8. Being you. In the end, it all comes down to being you. It takes a lot of energy to try and emulate someone else, even in your writing. Write from your heart and just let your fingers flow across your keyboard. You’ll be surprised at the results if you keep at it.

    About the author

      Henri Junttila

      Henri writes at Wake Up Cloud, where you can get his free course: Find Your Passion in 5 Days or Less. And if you liked this article, you will enjoy one of his top articles: 11 Ways to Eliminate Writer's Block When Nothing Else Works.

    • Shaun Judy says:

      This post is awesome. I will be using this as a resource to help me when I am stuck on what to post on my blog. Thanks for all the help…

    • Eric says:

      All great ideas, Henri!

      I especially like Kindness. What does anyone really get from being hurtful or mean? In the end, aren’t we all here to serve a purpose and help each other out with the gifts we’ve been given by higher powers?

      That’s my take on it. Being nice even if you’re saying no to someone and not compromising with them is still better than being totally rude and mean about things even if you say he or do compromise.

      Even when someone is completely hurtful to you, be nice and get out of their way and move on if anything.

      Lastly, being yourself is ultimate when it comes to anything in life. I love how just being you greatly helps improve yourself in more ways than you can imagine. No one can be you so someone has to – you.

      Great guest post, Henri!

    • Marco says:

      Isn’t it funny that the thinks we can do to write better, are also quite the same that we can practise, to live better (and with more humanity)?

      Another reason to love the activity of writing, for me.

      Good post, thanks 😉

    • @ ZZ – I agree, they do not really help when you want to create and express yourself. That quote is excellent, thanks for sharing! We have to keep writing and realize that this is a long-run game, you will not be able to produce gold with every word, so accept it.

      @ Kian Ann – I’ve had a long break from reading a lot, but I am getting into it again and I’ve realized that you’re completely right. Reading great books is inspiring and also teaches you a thing or two about writing if you’re observant.

      @ Walton – Sounds like you’ve got it handled. We all have to follow our own path and find what works for us. I’ve found that I have to have variety. Go outside, have fun, converse with others, watch a movie and write.

    • I tend to think that what is commonly meant by “writer’s block” is what Jerry Ulseman called “his excuses.” Whether it’s writing, playing the flute, painting, dancing, or acting, it’s our excuses that keep us away.

      Giving those excuses a name, like “writer’s block,” only enables our excuses and our demons to win, after all I have writer’s block. (I haven’t heard of dancer’s block, or violinist’s block, but excuses . . . yes, those I know intimately.)

      And the cure . . . that’s as different as there are people with excuses. I would suggest, however, when you have a day that just isn’t a writing day, write one sentence and then do research and editing.

      Don’t let your demons win.

    • Kian Ann says:

      Great post! I personally tend to just “stop writing, start reading” (your point 6) for 10 minutes and then the block will cleared!

    • zz says:

      Great post! I think fear and perfectionism can be the greatest thieves of creative productivity. There’s a quote I heard somewhere that I think is great: “Do what you fear continually and the death of fear is certain” – or something along those lines.

      I think to beat writers block (and the fear) you need to keep writing and embracing the rubbish along with the celestially inspired work that comes out of you. Ten pages of the most awful writing you have ever laid eyes on sure feels better than the same blank page you started with.

    • Hey Charlotte!

      I don’t like knitting, sewing, weeding or mowing the lawn but I hear you on the repetitive motion thing and especially the couch thing. Sometimes I get great ideas by just going to bed and lying down for awhile. It’s awesome. Thanks for sharing your tips! 🙂

    • Great advice. I’d also add that any kind of repetitive motion activity helps jar things lose for me. Try knitting, or sewing, or weeding, or mowing the lawn. Actually, sometimes just getting up from the computer and going to sit on the couch works, too!

    • @Henri. Agreed 100%. I love it: napping as work.

    • @ Seth – Napping is not being lazy! It’s work, because you’re getting inspired and refreshing your brain. Wouldn’t you agree? 😉

    • @Henri, I used to nap all the time. I forgot how nice that is. As if I needed another excuse to be ‘lazy’ 😉

    • @ Dave – Awesome points! Sometimes it’s easier to just give in and “indulge” in your distractions. Some days I seem to be in the flow and other times I just sit there staring and feeling the resistance. We all have to come up with our own solutions in the end. It certainly sounds like you’ve found yours. Keep rocking, Dave!

      @ Seth – You are completely right, Seth. Walking is also one of my favorites. Another good one that you may want to try is getting a 15-20 minute nap. The additional points you mentioned are awesome. I use them from time to time, especially freewriting. Writing something really bad should work well, because I do it in a different way. I don’t actually write something bad, I just say to myself “Who cares, write whatever you want” and suddenly the flood gates open. Thanks for stopping by, Seth! 🙂

      @ Hilary – Writing definitely gets easier when you do it every day. It’s like a muscle that you have to keep working on and giving nutrition (don’t get the brain foods, such as fruits and vegetables!). Inspiration can strike anywhere. It’s awesome that you found it in Christmas Carols!

      @ Darni – I have the same fears. I’m always a bit afraid when I submit a guest post. Will the editor/blogger like it? Will the readers like it? But fear is a part of life. Without fear everything would be pretty boring, so treat it as your friend and allow it to be there!

    • Darni says:

      Fear,this is the biggest obstacle for me.I’m not so conficent before I write a guest post because I’m not sure whether the readers will like it.But you are right,Henri,everyone make mistakes.So I just need to be confident of myself and keep writing.

    • Hilary says:

      Hi Henri .. thanks – it’s always useful to have ideas and thoughts – writing can get easier if we do it everyday (even a little), plan and prepare, we can all write something and now save it. Getting a structure first and then settling and writing to that structure ..the plot’s all there etc.

      When I was in Church singing Carols – I was struck by the wonderful adjectives and descriptive phrasing used in the tales told via the singing of those verses – a few words can lead one out to other paths.

      Thanks enjoy your festive season –
      Hilary Melton-Butcher
      Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

    • Great advice! For me, walking is the best cure for writers block. I would like to add a couple more things to your already thorough list:

      9. Freewriting and mind mapping. If writer’s block comes from trying to climb a huge wall, these techniques allow people to go around the wall instead of over it.

      10. Write something really, really bad. When I temporarily lower my standards, I find it much easier to come up with solid material. I suppose this relates to the reason number 1 for writer’s block.

      Also, as other commenters have noted, writing begets more writing. It’s easier to keep writing just a little bit than to take a long break then hop back on the train.

      Thanks for the wonderful post.

    • For me, I’ve come to realize I don’t actually suffer “writer’s block” so much as “creative distraction and preoccupation.” (I just made that up.)

      I’m a composer, and I dabble a bit in writing and dabble even less in art. Sometimes, I find that I can’t write the music I need to because I keep thinking about something I need to write, or draw, or in the strange case, build, and I let the distractions get in the way of the work I “want” or “need” to be doing. I’ve found that if I just DO what i’m being distracted with, I can get back to what I should be doing.

      For example, one weekend I had a major deadline coming up (I had to have it in the director’s hands by midnight Sunday/Monday). I’d spent most of Friday working on it, and made great progress, but when Saturday came, I couldn’t get anything done. One pm rolled around, and I almost gave up; I’d spent all day working on 30 seconds of music.

      So, I left my house, grabbed some food, and while I was out I swung by Home Depot.

      6 hours later, I’d built three bass traps and typed up two pages of a cheezy vampire story I’d been kicking around for weeks. And, when I was sufficiently done with those projects, I returned to what I should have been doing, and was able to just flow right through the rest of the music. I was able to get all the music to the director that night, and do the final changes the next day, which actually put me a week ahead of schedule.

      I still think that, had I not done what was distracting me, I may still be plodding away at that same 30 seconds.

    • Try a 5 minute exercise that comes from the world of New Code NLP. Head over to http://www.resetyourbrain.com.

      It’s easy, free, and non fattening. 😉

      Enjoy.

    • @ Jessica – That’s an extremely interesting perspective. I’m going to write it down and try it the next time I run into trouble. ‘Being You’ is a big one for me. Whenever I run into writer’s block I can almost always get out of it by just thinking or saying to myself “Be you, Do your best” because that is all we can do. Thanks for your comment, Jessica!

      @ Yo – Thanks a lot! I’m glad you found value in this post and I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts 🙂

      @ Eric – It definitely comes up a lot. Writing regularly is something I hear many writers suggest and I agree with them. I write every day and I get inspired on a regular basis, although my inspiration usually happens when I’m doing other stuff.
      @ Larry – Fiction. That’s interesting. I haven’t written fiction in years and have never thought about that. It’s akin to something I wrote a few days ago about getting rid of procrastination by being passionate. By loving your story and being excited about it all obstacles fall away. Awesome stuff, Larry 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      I think many people have the fear that their creativity will disappear just when they need it, even if it hasn’t yet. They may think of their creativity as a random and elusive force that does as it pleases and cannot be predicted or controlled. I’ve found viewing my Creativity as a person I can interact with and turn to for help has done wonders for my fear. Instead of being some elusive force, she’s become a friend.

      I especially liked point 8 about ‘Being You.’ It’s easy to spend too much time trying to imitate other people’s style of success and not enough developing your own voice. Dealing with the fear can bring the confidence to be yourself. And as you say, the results are pleasantly surprising.

      Thanks for the tips! They obviously come from experience.

    • Yo Le says:

      Hey Henri,

      This is Great advice! I plan on referring back to this post often when I get stuck and don’t know what to write about. I think the biggest thing that holds me back is being a perfectionist. Thanks again for this valuable post! 🙂

      – Yo

    • Eric says:

      This is a topic that comes up a lot. I always want that magic bullet to cure my writer’s block. Nice practical points to get the creativity flowing. I also appreciated Larry’s comments too.

      I find perfectionism haunts me the most and probably has the most to do with my writing downtime. Just write. Inspiration comes.

    • Larry says:

      Seems like this topic — how to beat down writers block — is among the most commonly addressed issues that relate to writing. This is a good post, too, I agree with the four reasons behind writers block quoted here. Nicely done.

      With fiction, though, there’s a deeper reason for writers block, one that is actually a precursor to those four reasons. It is often not recognized and too often ignored, and yet, in the final analysis, it’s why you’re blocked: you’ve falled out of love with your story.

      The reasons behind that go wide and deep. Mainly, though, it’s because it’s not working as well as it should, or as well as you thought it would, or both. And so you fear, you hide behind prefectionism, you lose trust in your own vision for the story and you find yourself in the wrong state to write it.

      Within this context, the best cure for writers block — in addition to Henri’s 8 solutions — is to fix your story. Most of those 8 strategies, when applied to that specific goal, can get you there.

      It’s like a relationship that suddenly goes cold. You can say it’s blocked because you’ve stopped talking, you resent, you’re bored, whatever. But the real reason behind each of those is that you’re falling out of love. Fix that, and everything else suddenly cures itself.


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