47 Killer Tips All Writers Need When Their Creativity Goes AWOL

    quotes for writers

    All writers have this vague hope that the elves will come in the night and finish any stories. ~Neil Gaiman

    Scary, isn’t it?

    That wall.

    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

    First off…

    1. Stop waiting around.

    “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” ~Jack London

    Here’s how…

    1. 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


    1. Use your discontent positively.

    “Creativity is discontent translated into arts.” ~Eric Hoffer, social philosopher

    or try to…

    1. 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…

    Quotes for writers

    “The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.” ~Junot Diaz


    1. 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..

    1. 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


    1. 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

    Try to..

    1. 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

    And to…

    Quotes for writers 3

    “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…

    1. 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


    1. 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


    1. 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


    1. 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 Bradbury

    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


    1. Dance!

    “Dance first, think later.” ~Samuel Beckett

    You could…

    1. 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


    1. 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…

    1. Beg, borrow and steal.

    “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.” ~ Voltaire

    Which means…


    “Everything’s already been said, but since nobody was listening, we have to start again.” ~André Gide.

    Concentrating on saying it differently…

    1. Inject some personality.

    “Personality is everything in art and poetry.” ~Goethe

    You have a unique perspective…

    1. Stop being like everyone else.

    Find something only you can say” ~James Dickey

    But to break down that wall you need to…

    1. 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…

    1. Live dangerously.

    “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” ~Oscar Wilde.

    Have faith…

    quotes for writers 5

    1. 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…

    1. Make more mistakes.

    “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~Scott Adams.


    1. Fail more often.

    “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~Samuel Beckett

    To do this, you need to…

    1. 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


    1. 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…

    quotes for writers


    1. 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..

    1. 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…

    1. 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…

    1. 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…

    1. 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…

    1. “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.


    1. Embrace eccentricity.

    “That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time.” ~ John Stuart Mill.


    1. 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…

    1. 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…

    1. Quit!

    “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…

    1. 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…

    quotes for writers

    1. Write down anything.

    “I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank page.” ~Nora Roberts.


    1. 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…

    1. 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


    1. Just show up.

    “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”  ~ Isabel Allende

    1. 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


    1. 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.

    About the author

      Laura Tong

      Laura Tong is the Editor here at Write To Done and her writing regularly features on such top blogs as HuffPost, Tiny Buddha and of course Write To Done. She’s a published author (traditional and indie) and has written books as diverse as luxury travel, surreal fiction, autobiographical and personal development.

    • For a wonderful creation they must have a good knowledge. There are so many people still waiting for someone’s guidance. They have the skills to manage everything by own. But they were not ready to experiment it.

    • joe franko says:

      Thanks Mark and Laura!
      By reading this article i have decided to write article on my own you can check the result on ladiesbagsandpurses.com

    • Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

    • Content was very useful and informative. Thank you for sharing.

    • Excellent post! Inspiring!

      I’m sharing it and linking to it from my next post on Wording Well, which will be published on Monday.

      It’s titled: 5 Freelance Mistakes That Are Killing Your Creativity.

      Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    • Lucky Emokpae says:

      Once in a long while , a great article shows up and this special feeling follows . Call it elation, intoxication, cloud nine or ecstasy ….;…. must be the surge in release of serotonin. you just made my day! Thank you very much. My heart is still singing…

      • Laura says:

        Hey Lucky – you just made my day!

    • Jay says:

      What a wonderful take on the quote-list format. I’ve probably read all of these quotes before in different instances, but I’ve never seen them stringed together in such a flowing warm way. It felt like a song or dance. Thanks Mark and Laura!

      • Laura says:

        So glad you enjoyed it and got value from it Jay

    • maru says:

      Very nice article as always.I like all points in your article.You described all thing in a good
      manner.The insights are very good the explanation about 7 barriers to writing you can leap over today.


    • Thought as much. #bookmarked

      • Laura says:

        Thanks for thinking it worth bookmarking Vishnu – I often bookmark useful posts to come back to later.

    • Amar kumar says:

      Hey Laura,

      Glad to read your wonderful post,

      Oh! Its really great 46 inspirational tips which you have taken from novelist, poets, bloggers and genius wordsmiths etc. this will really highly influenced me and helpful to tracked me in positive direction.

      “Open up your mind” is really amazing, surprisingly we are on basically two contrasting modes it should be open or closed. Open mode offers us more relaxed, receptive, exploratory, democratic and humors. We have to always follow to open mode for most aware, receptive and absolutely most intelligent. These all tips are great in own and provides key to achieve success.

      Eventually, thanks for sharing your worthy post.

      With best regards,

      Amar Kumar

      • Laura says:

        Glad it proved so inspirational Amar – writing it really helped me as well.

    • Meka says:

      I have only one problem, I do think out of box but sometimes i just get blank and stuck, i don’t know what to do then, because of this i need to take long break. Any suggestion ?

      • Laura says:

        Hi Meka

        You could try the suggestions at the end of the post


        “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

      • Laura says:

        Hi Meeka

        Try points 40 – 41:)

    • Meiji says:

      Thank you so so much for all these tips! I guess I’m not alone in this. I know that all these quotes will be really helpful for me now. Some really speak out to me because it was so true for me, now I really feel inspired and I hope that I can be able to write more now. Thanks so much again!

      • Hi Meiji, it’s great to meet you. It’s a real pleasure to share these wide-ranging tips from such diverse creative success stories. Enjoy your inspiration and happy writing.

    • Whoaaa…!
      Great article, I was looking for something like this to improve my writing. These tips are really awesome to improve all writers need.
      Thank you for this info. 🙂

      • Thank you for making time to share your positive thoughts on this post Hemant. Here’s hoping these strategies will continue to inspire you in your writing. Enjoy all your creative days.

    • Yvonne says:

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks for this post where each tip is very inspiring! E.B. White’s tip on not waiting for the ideal time and James Thurber’s tip Just Do It, really hit home for me! I started a blog and need to keep myself encouraged while I continue learning “how to blog” along the way.

      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

      Just do it!
      Don’t get it right, just get it written. ~James Thurber

      • Hi Yvonne, it’s great that two of the ‘expert’ strategies in this post resonate with you. I think that’s what I love most about the creative process, not only am I never quite sure what my fingers are actually going to type 🙂 but each of us are so individual that the process can be so different for each of us, and thus our tools to smash through that wall are different too. I devoured each of the quotes in this post as I researched and have already or soon will use some element of each pearl of wisdom. And I love Chuck Palahnuk’s advice for remembering that we can use everything that happens in life in our creative writing: “Have your adventures, make your mistakes, and choose your friends poorly — all these make for great stories.” Happy Writing.

    • Bella says:

      Hi Laura how are you ? Hope you are doing well .
      The post which you have shared with us is just awesome , the best part of the post is that you have stated in 43 points which gave the clear view of the and got a ideas in this valuable points , and the points which you have stated are just simple and easy understandable .

      • Thank you so much Bella, I’m super pleased that this post spoke to you. I really hope that one, two or several of the strategies are exactly what you need to call upon whenever your creative flow seems to dry up temporarily. Enjoy all your creative days.

    • Oooh, I love this post! I’ve been feeling a bit stuck lately and I haven’t written anything. Time to change. Time to be bold, vulnerable and raw. Thanks a lot for this post!

      • Thank you to you Maria – here’s to breaking through that wall you say you’ve hit lately. And what wonderful words you’ve included ‘bold, vulnerable and raw’ – gosh, where couldn’t we go with our writing if we were to commit to those three elements?
        Have a super creative week 🙂

    • Tayde Rodríguez Gabarrón says:

      Realmente me parece interesante. Gracias por compartir sigo al pendiente.

      • Gracias por unirse a esta discusión que Tayde. Estoy encantado este post es interesante y espero que útil para usted. Espero su creatividad fluye mucho mejor que mi español 🙂
        Escritura feliz.

    • Camilla Hallstrom says:

      Wonderful post, Laura! It’s not always easy to get “out of the box” and write mindblowing and remarkable content, but this post works as inspiration 🙂

      • Thank you for your positive thoughts Camilla. I know that ‘out of the box’ thinking takes practice and creativity, which, on a day when your creativity is hiding under the duvet can be tricky! Here’s to enjoyable days of translating your wonderful thoughts into powerful words 🙂

    • Dean says:

      I love this post, for two reasons.

      1) it confirms, once again, why E.B. White is my all-time favorite writer. I’m constantly guilty of that.

      2) This post seems to contradict itself at every turn. Which I think is the point. Most of us wannabe writers are constantly looking for the magic wand that will instantly remove all doubts and fears and launch us into that perfect book, post, article, poem, or whatever it is we want to create. To me, this post says, more than anything else, to try everything. There is no one solution for everyone. There are as many different answers as there are people looking for them. What works for you will not work for someone else. And if you try something that doesn’t work, maybe try the exact opposite.

      Thanks for this. I might finally just say the hell with it and write anyway. Worse comes to worse, I’m exactly where I started, but at least I got some words out of my system along the way.


      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts so honestly Dean. And absolutely yes, this post has such a range of strategies because as individuals we are so diverse in what will work bets for us in unlocking our creativity. I’d say it’s definitely time for you to say ‘to hell with it’ and pour your ideas, thoughts, opinions,and experiences into words. I love the inspiration from William Faulkner: “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” ~William Faulkner and also William Goldman: “Nobody knows anything… Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.”. The oh-so polished experts are still learning, experimenting, writing brilliance, writing not-such-brilliance – it’s all part of the excitement and effort of the creative process. You know, to miss out on that experience, to forever wonder ‘what if I had written, what might have been’, well, that’s a wonderful opportunity missed in my book.
        We’d really love to hear that you’ve started writing Dean. Wishing you inspired creativity.

    • Lee Allen says:

      Terrific posts from ALL who took the time and made the effort. BRAVO BRAVISSIMO! Working on two novels right now, one a “fictionalized” account of personal experiences, the other pure imagination, of which I have enough to serve a small crowd! Everything here is usable, and it all comes back to BE YOUR CREATIVE SELF. That’s the best bottom line for all writers, even those who do nothing but non-fiction. After all, the most famous Book of all time was written by about 40 people, from all walks of life and unrelated to each other, yet its harmony and power live on millennia after the “secretaries” deceased!
      We all should be so blessed with success! ! !
      Thank you all for your help and encouragement.

      • Thank you for your immense enthusiasm and positivity Lee. And you make such a great point about the power of collaboration and sharing, which is why we’re all so grateful to Mary for providing this invaluable platform and supportive community for writers in all genres. We can learn as much from each other as from the ‘experts’. Happy creativity to you and good luck with both of your novels.

    • Varina Suellen says:

      Great post, great choice of quotes! I’m gonna save this one to refer back to.

      Let me add another suggestion: Do something else. You’re stuck on this story? Work on a different one. Get your mind off your “stuckness” and be someone else. Maybe choose another character in what you’re working on and write about something she did, something unrelated to the story. Tell us about her – and tell yourself, too. You may find that episode tells you something *you* needed to know, but you weren’t listening before.

      Here’s another, under the heading of ‘distraction’: go on the ‘net and “cast” your story. Find pictures of your characters. Go wild – choose actors, alive or dead, however improbable. You may find one of your minor characters suddenly becomes MUCH more important, and writes you out of that corner you’ve painted yourself into. It happened to me!

      • Thank you for adding two great additions to this post Varina. I love your idea of exploring a different direction when the wall appears, whether that’s a different story or delving deeper into a smaller character – superb! And what a perfect description that we can ‘paint ourselves into a writing corner’. Have a productive and enjoyable writing week.

    • Anika says:

      Fantastic post you have created here. Thank you and keep the great work up.

      • Thank you for your kind words Anika. I’m delighted this post is useful to you. Here’s to free flowing words and ideas.

      • Thank you for your wonderfully positive comment Anika. I’m delighted this post is helpful to you. Here’s to your creative flow flowing.

    • Thank you for adding your great interpretations of Bradbury and Gide to this discussion Michelle. We both love the Bradbury quotes particularly and do remind each other that saving the world is a collective task, that’s something we’ll do individually by writing our best ideas and having the courage to put them out. There is something special in each of these quotes however and I hope there’s a positive strategy or two for you in here, should that dreaded wall start to loom. Happy creative flow to you.

    • Michelle S Gale says:

      The quotes that most captured my imagination were the two Ray Bradbury quotes and the one from Andre Gide. Bradbury is saying the same thing two different ways: release self-consciousness. Be the author, not the one looking over the author’s shoulder. And he wrote such great stuff.

      Gide’s quote is wryly humorous because it’s so true. Say it again because no one heard it the first time. I realize that Gide was talking about a different place in time, but today that most resonates for me around the information overload of which I’m so aware and the rush I’m always in, making it difficult to contemplate anything for very long.

      Really enjoyed your selection of quotes, Mark.

    • I guess trying to write in an area that is definitely not your field of expertise is rather daunting, when you have strong convictions about underlying misconceptions in that area, . Do you go to the ‘experts’, who will brush aside the ‘unseen matter’ you conceive, to replace it with their ‘dark matter?’ Or forge ahead anyway?

      • Thanks for bringing a great question to this discussion Warwick. I’d have to say you don’t need to be an expert to have valuable ideas you can put into your own inimitable words. A fresh, less ‘expert’ opinion can really shake up any field and reignite readers’ interest and passion for a topic. If you can make people think or ask question – you’ve absolutely got their attention and contributed to their day. Enjoy exploring the field you’re in, delight in cementing your knowledge and expertise – you have a huge amount to share right now. I go to ‘creative experts’ for inspiration on the process of writing when my own strategies hit a bit of a blank – hence this post. Happy writing.

    • Rajat says:

      Bombastic, mind blasting and earth shaking…..

      • Thanks for adding your thoughts here Rajat. I’m guessing that means something in the post spoke to you? Hope this helps unleash even more of your interesting and intriguing words.

    • Mahendra Daxini says:

      Thanks, Excellent thoughts.

      • Thank you for adding your wonderfully positive thought on this Mahendra. If you find one or two of the strategies work particularly well, we’d love you to come back and let us know, or perhaps if you adapt any with super creative results. Enjoy the joy of writing.

    • Jamie Wyatt says:

      I am SO saving this! And sharing it!

      • Thanks Jamie. It’s great that you feel some strategies here can help. If you have any to add, do let us all in on them. Happy writing.

    • Cylon says:

      Wow! What an epic post! I’ve bookmarked it so I can return when I need inspiration! Thank you Laura 🙂

      • Hi Cylon, thanks so much for your kind words. Here’s hoping that this will help with any writer’s block you might encounter, especially during your 5.30 creative flow time. Enjoy writing all the magic that you do so well.

    • Gloria says:

      Thanks, just what I needed today!

      • Thank you for adding your positive thoughts Gloria – I’m so pleased this came at the right time for you. Enjoy your creative flow.

    • Anh Nguyen says:

      Laura, loving the inspiration!

      I was feeling a little down with my blog, and your post really helps. First of all, it make me realise that I am not all alone with this struggle.

      “Find your own unique way over, under or around that wall”, I can relate to this sentence very much, sometimes it feels like each “walls” I face are different and they need different ways to overcome. 😛

      Thanks for sharing!


      • Thank you Anh, I’m delighted this post has helped you. And oh boy, are you far from being alone in finding that some days your creative spark is hiding. I’ve found that having a few different strategies really helps me smash through that wall. Happy writing.

        • This si very usuful for me and i really amazed to be here and to gather this delightful stuff which i need to know more.

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