All writers have this vague hope that the elves will come in the night and finish any stories. ~Neil Gaiman
Scary, isn’t it?
Behind which all your great words are waiting. Waiting to be released, to fly away, to change the world.
Scary because that wall appeared from nowhere.
One minute you were on such a flow. Ideas flew out of your head faster than your fingers could turn them into words.
And then suddenly …nothing.
Nothing except that blank wall.
And the scary thought: How long is this block going to last? Half an hour? A day? A week? Or could it be that you’ve used up all your ideas? That the well has run dry? That, you’re finished as a writer?
Take heart. Most writers, amateur or professional, face this scary blank wall to their creativity at some time.
Thomas Mann said “A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
It’s precisely because you are a writer that you are creating walls instead of words, blocks instead of books.
And as a writer, your creative block may have some common ground with others, but how you get over it is as unique to you as your writing style.
So here are 46 inspirational tips from great novelists, poets, screenwriters, bloggers and genius wordsmiths all of who faced the wall and found their own unique way over, under or around it.
Within them is the answer to your own creative breakthrough. Read them all and then find your own unique answer.
46 Tips To Beat Writer’s Block & Unleash Your Creativity
Stop waiting around.
“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” ~Jack London
Get hot under the collar.
“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.”~Henry David Thoreau
Use your discontent positively.
“Creativity is discontent translated into arts.” ~Eric Hoffer, social philosopher
or try to…
- Cool down.
“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.” ~ William Wordsworth.
Maybe you need to…
“The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.” ~Junot Diaz
- Go full Steam ahead
“The faster I write the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled.” ~Raymond Chandler.
Over thinking everything? Then..
- Take your thinking cap off.
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things, you simply must do things” – Ray Bradbury
- Open up your mind.
“We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous…we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent.” ~John Cleese
- Think outside the box.
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.” ~Dr. Seuss
“The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.” ~Anthony Jay
Maybe it’s counter-intuitive, but…
- Stop looking for direction.
“The reason that art…is valuable is precisely why I can’t tell you how to do it. If there were a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map.” ~Seth Godin
- Allow yourself to be distracted.
“All profound distraction opens certain doors. You have to allow yourself to be distracted when you are unable to concentrate.” ~Julio Cortazar
- All work makes Jack a dull boy.
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play” ~ Chateaubriand
- Stop trying to save the world.
“You’re writing things that will benefit the world. To hell with that! I don’t write things to benefit the world. If it happens that they do, swell. I didn’t set out to do that. I set out to have a hell of a lot of fun.” ~Ray BradburyInstead.
15. Find what makes you come alive.
“Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman
“Dance first, think later.” ~Samuel Beckett
- Stop being so fussy.
“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien
- Work with what you’ve got.
“Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.” ~ James Russell Lowell.
Or take a leaf from the greats…
- Beg, borrow and steal.
“Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.” ~ Voltaire
“Everything’s already been said, but since nobody was listening, we have to start again.” ~André Gide.
Concentrating on saying it differently…
- Inject some personality.
“Personality is everything in art and poetry.” ~Goethe
You have a unique perspective…
- Stop being like everyone else.
“Find something only you can say” ~James Dickey
But to break down that wall you need to…
- Become a believer.
Everything in life is writeable about if you have the guts to do it….the worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt . ~ Sylvia Plath
Stop doubting yourself. Stop playing it safe…
- Live dangerously.
“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” ~Oscar Wilde.
- Close your eyes and leap.
“We have to be continually jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” ~Kurt Vonnegut
Maybe you’re still playing it too safe? The answer…
- Make more mistakes.
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~Scott Adams.
- Fail more often.
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~Samuel Beckett
To do this, you need to…
- Get out of your rut.
“I doubt I would have written a line … unless some minor tragedy had sort of twisted my mind out of the normal rut” ~- Roald Dahl
- Get Curious.
“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” ~Leo Burnett
Even if it leads to unexpected places…
- Explore the dark side.
“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” ~Erica Jong
But then turn it around and..
- Find the light.
“What seems nasty, painful, or evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” ~Henry Miller
Or you could learn to…
- Be a know-it-all.
“The creative person wants to be a know-it-all…..because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen.” ~ Carl Ally
Whatever you do…
- Take a chance.
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” ~William Faulkner
And stop procrastinating…
- Publish and be damned.
“Nobody knows anything… Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.” ~William Goldman
Or to be precise…
- “Nobody knows anything … except the audience.” ~Brian Clark
It’s time to…
“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.” ~ Neil Gaiman.
- Embrace eccentricity.
“That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time.” ~ John Stuart Mill.
- Hang out with the wrong crowd.
“Have your adventures, make your mistakes, and choose your friends poorly — all these make for great stories.” ~Chuck Palahniuk
Even if you have to…
- Embarrass yourself.
“The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.” ~Arthur Miller
Or it might be time for radical action…
“When you have made a thorough and reasonably long effort, to understand a thing, and still feel puzzled by it, stop, you will only hurt yourself by going on.” ~Lewis Carroll
Take a long break and come back refreshed. Or it’s possible you need a completely different approach…
- Stop waiting for the ideal time.
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” ~E.B. White
After all, it’s better to…
- Write down anything.
“I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank page.” ~Nora Roberts.
- Stop relying on talent.
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” ~Stephen King
In other words…
- Stop waiting for the mood to strike you
“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work” ~Pearl S. Buck
- Just show up.
“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.” ~ Isabel Allende
- Get your head down.
“My belief of book writing is much the same as my belief as to shoemaking. The man who will work the hardest at it, and will work with the most honest purpose, will work the best.” ~ Anthony Trollope
- Just do it!
Don’t get it right, just get it written. ~James Thurber
Stop Hiding Behind That Wall
Whether it’s real or not doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you get back to writing.
Imagine no longer agonizing over the acres of wordless, white in front of you.
Imagine being confident that your ideas will flow, your creative genius will show up.
A writer writes.
So pick one of the tips above and find your own unique way over, under or around that wall.
And get writing.
The world needs your words.