Writer’s Block: 27 Techniques to Overcome It Forever (Plus Bonuses!)

Writer's Block: 27 Techniques to Overcome It Forever

Writer and procrastination champion Henneke Duistermaat shares her 27 best tips on how to beat writer’s block. Plus: 3 bonus tips from Smart Blogger’s Editor-in-Chief, Kevin J. Duncan.

Let me guess…

You’re staring at a blank page. Your brain is fried. And you can feel a headache coming on.

You know you should be writing, but…

You can’t do this anymore. Your muse is gone. Your well of inspiration is empty. Finished. Stone-dry.

You’re not just bored or tired. No, no. This is far worse:

Writer’s block.

You try to stop your mind wandering off. You try to stop being distracted by your long to-do-list. And you try to write, but you feel like everything you do manage to jot down is… well… terrible.

You know you have to keep going, but how? How do you overcome writer’s block and get back into your writing groove?

The truth:

You need to have some fun.

Not take a break, not go for walk, not get some sleep. All of that is fine and good for a simple case of boredom, but the real cause of writer’s block is you’re holding on too tight.

You need to loosen up and go a little crazy. You need to let the goofy side of you out for a little while and get your creative juices flowing again.

How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Here are 27 refreshingly original ways for overcoming writer’s block (plus 3 bonus tips provided by our editor).

Let’s dive in:

Technique #1. Talk to An Imaginary Friend


Whether you’ve just started a blog and have 10 readers or have been blogging a long while and have 10,000, thinking about them makes writing a post daunting.

So, forget about your readers. Instead, create an imaginary friend.

Your friend is a real fan. He (or she) loves everything you write. He supports everything you do.

Give your imaginary friend a name. Create a little drawing or find a picture of a lookalike. Pin this picture on the wall above your desk.

Instead of writing a blog post, start a conversation with your friend. Or write him a letter. Discuss his dreams and challenges. Help him with whatever he is struggling with.

Be a good friend.

Technique #2. Curse Like a Sailor


Feeling a little frustrated?

Well, let it out.

Before you start writing, curse like a sailor. Get angry. Be emotional.

Write something you’re passionate about. Have a good rant. Don’t worry about going too far.

Good writing isn’t about picking the right words. You need to make your audience feel something. Inspire them.

Writing is emotion.

Sure, you’ll have to edit your first draft. You might even decide to toss it.

It doesn’t matter, though, because the point is to overcome writer’s block, not write the perfect post.

Just remember: you can correct mistakes in a passionate piece of writing, but you can’t add emotions to a flat post. So, let it rip.

Technique #3. Use a Different Writing Tool


Stuck in a creative rut?

Try using a different writing tool.

Switch from Microsoft Word to Google Docs. Or type your post directly into WordPress.

Switch from a serif to a non-serif font. Or try a script font and change your font color to blue. Or my favorite option: Increase your font size.

It seems silly, but it’s amazing how those small changes can cure writer’s block and make writing interesting again.

Technique #4. Take a Short Trip to Overcome Writer’s Block


Missing your family? Got a friend you haven’t seen in a while?

Well, let’s go see them.

The key:

Don’t drive.

Instead, hop on a bus, a train, or a plane that takes you there. Then challenge yourself to write a short story before you arrive.

My advice: leave your iPad or laptop at home. Just bring your mobile phone or a pad of paper.

And don’t stop writing until you arrive.

Technique #5. Chug Some Caffeine


Okay. Okay. I know caffeine isn’t good for you. But sometimes you need something to keep going. Don’t waste your fantastic ideas just because you can’t keep awake.

Try this schedule: Set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes — or use the focus booster. After 25 minutes of concentrated writing, take a break. Stop even if you feel like finishing a paragraph.

Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee. Start your next 25 minutes and drink your cup of coffee.

Green tea fuels my blog posts. What fuels yours?

Technique #6. Stop Writing for Your Readers


To get over writer’s block, sometimes you just have to write something you want to write. It doesn’t matter whether it suits your blog or not.

Just get on with it. Get it off your chest. Why not?

Technique #7. Stop Planning Your Posts


Writing a post outline can speed up your writing project. It’s a proven technique.

But it can also suck the joy out of writing.

When you find yourself bored with a particular piece, stop planning. Write whatever comes into your mind. It may all be gibberish, but somewhere you’ll find a precious idea. A thought you can use to create a full post.

Technique #8. Clear Your Head of Noise


Give your mind time to wander. Get distracted. Embrace serendipity.

Don’t read only blogs about your topic. Don’t just follow industry peers on Twitter. And don’t just read the latest books of thought leaders in your niche.

Go to a random movie. Watch a random channel on TV. Go to a museum. Surprise yourself. Find unexpected metaphor examples.

The creative process is unpredictable, mysterious, and serendipitous. Fuel your creativity by reading outside your niche.

Technique #9. Write at a Different Time


We’re always told about the importance of forming habits and having a fixed writing schedule. Stephen King has a fixed schedule. So does Haruki Murakami. And John Grisham.

cure writer's block

Routine habits can be good for creativity and reducing writer’s block. But what if your writing practice gets associated with lack of inspiration, procrastination, and despair?

Break your habit.

Try writing at a different time. Experiment.

Technique #10. Write at a Different Place


Leaving your desk is a proven cure for creative blocks. If you can, take a break and go traveling. If you can’t travel, just drag yourself away from your desk.

Go to the park. Try your local Starbucks or go to the library. Go somewhere that’s not associated with work.

Day after day, you sit down to write at your desk. Mix things up. Take your iPad and write wherever your feet take you.

Technique #11. Go to a Bookstore


If you’re lucky, your bookstore sells coffee and tea. So, make yourself comfortable, find the shelf with books about your niche, and open up your notepad. (Thank you to Sean d’Souza for this idea.)

Look through the table of contents of each book to find blog post ideas. Write them down in your notepad.

Don’t leave the bookstore until you’ve written down 10 story ideas for new blog posts. And if you’re enjoying yourself, outline one or two posts in your notepad while finishing your cup of coffee.

Don’t read any further than the table of contents. You should write the content of your blog post yourself (of course).

Technique #12. Wash the Dishes to Get over Writer’s Block


Do you get your best ideas in the shower?

Your brain needs to relax before coming up with an insight. Staring at your computer screen might work counterproductive. Trying to force an insight might actually prevent the insight from appearing.

If you don’t want to waste water by showering three times a day, try other routine tasks: Vacuum your room. Fold the laundry. Or wash the dishes. Above all: Relax.

Technique #13. Create Your Own Merry-Go-Round


Done all your household chores? Or just don’t feel like cleaning again?

Try this alternative routine: walk around in circles. Or just pace up and down your room.

Seems silly, I know, but sometimes just the simple act of movement can help you overcome writer’s block. Give it shot.

Technique #14. Shut Down Your Computer


In his book Steal Like an Artist (affiliate link), Austin Kleon describes his digital and his analogue desk. The analogue desk is where his work is born. The digital desk is for editing and publishing.

Come on. Shut down your computer. Get a pen and paper. Or pencils, markers, and index cards. Try free writing. When you free write, you get the feeling that you’re making something. It will inspire you.

Technique #15. Browse Your Photo Albums


Sharing tidbits about yourself is a good way to build up a relationship with your readers.

Browse your photo album to find anecdotes to share, and link these stories to your topic. That’s how I came up with the idea of comparing cycling trips with surviving a content marketing journey.

Remind yourself of who you are. Think about the lessons you’ve learned. Who has inspired your career? How have your travels influenced your thinking?

Technique #16. Stop Worrying About Grammar to Deal with Writer’s Block


Perfectionism can discourage you from writing.

Stop trying to be perfect.

Accept your first draft may be crappy. Just write as fast as you can. Editing can come later.

Technique #17. Goof Around on Facebook, Linkedin, or Instagram


Social media can be a huge time suck. We all know that.

But if you feel stuck and don’t know what to write about, then social media is a rich mine full of precious ideas.

Give yourself half an hour. Interact and ask some questions. Enjoy yourself.  Above all, absorb what others are talking about. You’re bound to find a good idea.

Just be sure to set a timer. You don’t want to get lost out there while trying to get rid of writer’s block.

Technique #18. Start in the Middle


You know you need to draw a reader into your post with a fantastic introduction. That’s true. But trying to write the perfect opening can obstruct your writing process.

Leave your introduction for later. Just get going with your post.

Technique #19. Reread Your Glory Posts


Feeling down?

You’ve lost your mojo and doubting your writing skills. It happens to all bloggers at some stage.

Remember that post you’ve written a while back? Your best ever post?

Go back and read the post. Word by word. You see how good you are?

That talent didn’t go anywhere. It’s still inside you.

Sometimes we just need a little reminder.

Technique #20. Take a Cigarette Break to Get past Writer’s Block


Whoa. A smoke?

Well, you don’t have to light up. But a cigarette break takes about five minutes. And that’s the perfect time to recharge yourself.

The secret to creative productivity is to take breaks while you’re still in a flow. It helps you to get started again after your break.

If you don’t crave a cigarette every so often, good for you! Just set a timer to take a break.

Don’t spend your break tweeting, liking, and plussing. That’s not truly relaxing.

Spend five minutes staring out of the window. Stand outside on your porch or balcony and listen to the traffic. Or watch the clouds float by. As if you’re a lonely smoker.

Technique #21. Listen to the Rain


What’s the most relaxing sound?

When you take your “cigarette” break to stare out of the window, switch on the sound of rain.

Technique #22. Be a Misfit to Overcome Writer’s Block


Being a blogger isn’t about conforming to the norms.

Don’t feel the pressure to be like your hero bloggers. You have to stand out on the web. You have to be YOU.

Accept you’re a misfit. Just like me. And just like Jon. Just like all other bloggers.

Be yourself. Enjoy yourself. Because your enthusiasm is contagious.

Technique #23. Steal Ideas


Is your wish to be original causing your writer’s block?

Learn how to steal ideas and make them your own. Snatch post ideas from different writers, but don’t copy outright.

Read widely. Mix ideas from scientists and artists. Plunder quote books.

As Austin Kleon says: “All creative work builds on what came before.”

beat writer's block

Technique #24. Read Health Magazines to Cure Writer’s Block


I won’t lecture you about keeping fit. You know that.

But health magazines are one of the best sources for headline and blog post inspiration.

For instance, the idea to write 36 Quick Fixes to Jumpstart Lifeless Business Blogs came from the headline Food Fixes for Insomnia.

You don’t have to go out and spend money to buy a few magazines. Read covers of Men’s Health Magazine or Women’s Health Magazine online. Or check out the health section on Amazon (affiliate link).

Technique #25. Reread Your First Ever Blog Post


If you’ve been blogging for six months or more, you’ve written a lot. And you’ve learned a lot.

Don’t wait for inspiration to strike — go back to your first few blog posts.

Find one you can rewrite. Add power words, glean new insights, develop new arguments, and new examples.

Voila. You got a new post.

Technique #26. Create Weird Challenges


Is writing becoming a chore? Fed up with writing how-to posts?

Create new challenges to have some fun. For instance:

  • Introduce a new metaphor in your next post. Or set the bar higher by stipulating your metaphor has to some from sports, or movies, or cooking.
  • Estimate your average post length and challenge yourself to write a blog post in 20% fewer words.
  • Try alliteration. Or rhyming. Or onomatopoeias.
  • Start with an unnusual writing prompt.
  • Use the power of three. How often can you introduce three of something?

Tickle your brain to make writing fun.

Technique #27. Get Your Inner Critic on Your Side


The difference between good and great bloggers is your inner critic. As Mike Monday says:

“A good producer and a great producer have the same number of ideas — some good, some great. But a great producer will know the difference.”

Your inner critic can help you become a better blogger. So how do you get him on your side?

Start writing a few practice paragraphs. You’re just warming up. Listen to your inner critic to see how you can improve. Write and edit as you go.

writer's block cure

Your inner critic doesn’t need to be your enemy. He could be your cure for writer’s block. Make him your friend.

3 Bonus Tips for Getting Over Writer’s Block (from Smart Blogger’s Editor-in-Chief, Kevin J. Duncan)

Technique #28. Dance, Dance, Dance


Ask Alexa to play your favorite song. Get up and dance like no one’s watching.

And if someone is watching, ask them to join you.

Technique #29. Listen to a Writing Podcast


Anyone who has suffered from writer’s block knows it’s a lonely feeling. When words escape you, it can feel as though you’re the only writer on the planet who is struggling.

Writing podcasts offer a community of like-minded writers who can provide support, motivation, and writing strategies. They’re people just like you. People who have been where you are right now.

Find a favorite podcast and listen to an episode.

Here’s a good one to get you started: Break Through the Noise with Jon Morrow. Call me biased, but it’s awesome.

(And if you’d like to start your own podcast, but you don’t know how, check out How to Start a Podcast: No Fluff (Just the Essentials).)

Technique #30. Bribe Yourself


Working on a freelance writing gig or writing contest? Promise yourself a prize when you reach 500 words. An ice cream sandwich. A thirty-minute “Parks & Rec” or “The Office” break. A hot bath with lighted candles and Beethoven playing in the background.

A proverbial carrot (or literal carrot, if a carrot happens to be your prize) could be just the thing to get you back into the writing groove.

This post is part of Smart Blogger's

Freelance Writing Hub

From elevating your writing skills to getting paid to write, learn everything you need to know about freelancing.

The Truth About Writer’s Block

Writing is hard work. There’s no doubt about that.

But you can make it even harder by accepting writer’s block.

Don’t become a tortured genius.

Choose to get on with writing.

Experiment. Find out what works for you. Write where and when you like. Be as crazy as you like to be.

Come on. Have fun. Let’s try something wacky.

Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and business writing coach. She's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle. Get her free 16-Part Snackable Writing Course for Busy People and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.

188 thoughts on “Writer’s Block: 27 Techniques to Overcome It Forever (Plus Bonuses!)”

  1. Interesting how you always come up with some curious yet effective ways to get over obstacles. Writers block is a pain and although we’ve heard and tried stories of how to get over ’em they still come back. #27 is a real winner. But I’ll be using them all. Rest assured Jon, you’re place on the “useful blogger” board is secure.

    1. Trouble is I have a lot of ideas that I want to run with at the moment. The chore for me is to narrow it down and then do what this post says to do. Narrowing it down to only one is the problem as I like all my ideas!

  2. Coach Comeback

    HA! What an excellent list!

    I will NOT.. repeat.. NOT reread my first blog post! HAHAHAHA I shudder just thinking about it.

    I could say that about my entire first blog actually.

    I do love “start in the middle”. Using mindmaps and Scrivener religiously… I most always write my long posts in different, usually unrelated, sections. Works great.

      1. Jeffree Green Span

        A lot of guys, when they get to prison and start doing their time, take to writing as a way to pass the time. Some of the stuff they come up with is amazing and their stories get passed around for the other cons to read – another way to pass the time. I would like to see the warden at some prisons establish an experimental ‘writers block’ to help serious writers develop their craft. It would be perfect for some.

      2. Thank you for your creative ideas, Henneke. When I get distracted, or can’t write, I need to step away from my computer and use pen and paper. Looking at my favorite books also helps 😀

  3. I like to cook, yet still, I often cook a lot of something at once (because, as my sister once told me: “You never met a recipe you didn’t want to triple.”), and then I think, “Ha! I’ll never have to cook again!”

    And I do the same thing with writing. I spend time writing something and polishing it all up until I’m well-pleased, and then I think, “Ha! I’ve written! Now what?!”

    So what is this resistance I have to washing-rinsing-repeating?

    I like your list, Henneke, and will share it with my writer friends because these are great idea boosters and things to get the heart racing.

    But I confess that writer’s block for me is usually not a matter of being stuck or out of ideas; rather, it’s a matter of not starting. I simply have to start far more often so that I write far more.

    So the best thing about this post is that it just gets me to start.

    1. I’m on IPhone. Had the same issue. Just click the little minus sign on the top of the box and it will go away.

      Thanks for the article.

  4. Be a misfit! I love that one the best, and it fits in so well with not writing for your readers.

    As soon as you let go of the writing/blogging ‘rules’ the ol’ creative juices tend to start flowing I find…

  5. Read an article in Writer’s Digest 40 years ago about writer’s block. Its message never left me.

    The writer, whose name I’ve long forgotten claimed – and I agree – that writer’s block often results from our wanting to get it RIGHT the first time.

    The solution: do a dump. Don’t care about good grammar, structure, logic, sequence or any of the thousands of things you will ultimately sort out.

    No, instead, just write. Edit later. As Hemingway famously said “there are no good writers; only good rewriters.”

  6. Really interesting post and this came at just the right time since I’m preparing a guest post at the moment.

    Worst time to get writer’s block right? I guess its the pressure of writing on a bigger blog than mine that’s gotten me so frozen up.

    Going to try no.10 and 18. My room is too distracting to stay here and write.

    Thanks for the the really cool post =)

    1. If your room is dirty that’ll surely block your creative writing potential and possibly discourage you to the point of writing 2 or 3 sentence posts which will not benefit your long term SEO. However, if you write long form evergreen content, clean up your room, and build meaningful relationships with people on social networks and internet with them personally without trying to sell them a product or service, you’ll most likely improve your internet marketing and blogging potential.

  7. Hey Henneke,

    Thanks for a great post, sharing one of those scenarios we all dread experiencing as busy bloggers!

    I particularly loved the idea of hopping on a bus or train – I would use the journey itself as the catalyst for writing; perhaps through people watching or noticing the first billboard I see and focusing on the inspiration it provides.

    Today I’ve just gotten back in from taking a short walk – it’s a bracing wind out there and even though I’m super busy and there are many ‘oughts’ flying around my head, taking that break helps get the creative juices flowing.

    What I’m doing this month, that may help some of your readers staring at the blank screen, is participating in an ‘A to Z Challenge’ – each day I take a letter of the alphabet and create a post around it; it’s forcing me to think outside the box and expand my blogging horizons.

    I’ve tackled this topic myself with an ebook called ’33 ways to beat bloggers block’ which is available on my site – I’d love to send you a free copy if you’re interested; just let me know!

  8. Henneke, thanks for an encouraging post filled with great ideas. I work at home and until reading this I got “distracted” and my inner critic made me feel guilty about doing some housework, taking too many breaks or sometimes not taking any at all, when I ought to be working. You’ve given me permission so no more dirty dishes sitting too long in the sink!

  9. I did number 23 with an ancient Chinese tale and turned it into a children’s MG book.

    For number 17, if you use Pinterest you can get lost for the day.

    Great post; I shared it.

  10. I love that term “Analog Desk”. I had one of those as a kid… with a *gasp* typewriter on it! I’m going to have to reconnect with that old fashioned pencil-and-paper thing. Some of my best ideas come from actually writing something down.

    I’d like to add a #28: Spend time with your pets and/or young children. There’s something remarkable about their innocence and pure joy. It certainly makes whatever’s holding you back seem trivial and not worth straining your brain on!

    1. Good addition, Sherice.

      Unfortunately, I got only one desk so it’s a little difficult to create a separate analogue desk, but I do move my keyboard out of the way sometimes to scribble on a piece of paper. It’s magic how well that works.

  11. I love #10 write at a different place. I know this works for me, but I always forget to do it. Though that could also be related to the fact that I usually find my creative streak late at night when nothing is open and the park is super creepy haha.

    #11 go to a bookstore is a fantastic idea! I love going to bookstores just to relax but I never think to look for ideas there.

    #5 is great! I read somewhere (wish I could remember where) that caffeine actually stimulates creativity in the brain.

    But I tend to prefer wine. 😉

    (Also, so glad to see you guest posting on Jon’s blog, Henneke! :D)

  12. OK! I’ve been doing it from time to time.

    3 – There are times when I can’t write. I switch off the PC and use… the iPhone. Then, I can write a lot!

    10 – The smallest room of the house! When I’m here, with the iPhone of course, I’m comfortable and no writer’s block!

  13. Roberta Budvietas

    One great way that helps me is to talk to my husband about something that I saw in someone else’s blog and suddenly as if by magic, it is a topic for my blog. Now if I could just do that for guest blogging topics I would be really happy. I laughed at some of your suggestions especially the curse like a sailor – today they may no longer be the greatest cursors around.

  14. Thank you Jon for sharing all these ideas.

    I am in the process of writing my first book, and I was haunted by the enormous task. So I was not writing at all.
    I finally got to a point where I felt that my book was aching within me and I needed to let it out! So I am writing one hour a day, come hell or high water.

    Most of the time, I am not “feeling” it in the beginning, but after five minutes of rambling in the keyboard, the message starts to come out.

    The key for me is to never, ever stop typing (not even to re-read something that I liked, and never to correct while I’m doing my first draft).
    I just type along, as crazy, until the book starts showing up.

    Thank you for your awesome resources. I really enjoyed your post on Stephen King’s “On Writing”.
    I read that book lately and it was the best read of the year so far for me.
    Besos!
    Mercedes

  15. I love these suggestions. Regarding that “inner critic”…sometimes it’s best to tie up and gag the inner critic, just to let the creativity flow out of your right brain. We get great comments about our free topic generation exercise. It uses a sneaky time-based technique to silence the inner critique long enough to allow the creativity to flow. You can get 64 topics onto paper in 37 minutes. No kidding.

  16. Hi Henneke,
    Thanks for this post! It’s wacky and fresh and sort of makes you want to work your way down the list to actually start writing again… plus get the chance to do all these crazy things and have fun! Laura

  17. As an Idea Maniac I must say writer’s block in the way you pose it is not my problem. I currently have a list of 25 post ideas and growing. In fact, twieet me any day of the week if you want to brainstorm ideas!! I LOVE ideas…I think I said that already. My block comes more in the lines of resistance/fear. :/ however I still learned so much from this great post. Especially loved #1 whiled I’d rather get a real job that do #12! Lol! Thanks for fighting thru the writers block and making another great post!

  18. Some great ideas Henneke! Taking a break in one way or another (like you say, taking a walk, whatever) is the best thing for me. I don’t suffer much from a complete block on a rough draft; it’s the editing sometimes and whether I can really make this or that work and how.

    Sometimes getting some chores or must-do items off my list helps too because it gets clutter or worry out of my brain.

    But the best thing when I need ideas is taking some kind of a break, even for just 5 minutes–absolutely.

  19. Hi Henneke, and welcome to Jon’s blog 🙂

    What a wonderful topic of discussion because this surely is something most bloggers go through – writers block 🙂

    I liked the ways you shared here, and while I do follow most of them when I get blank sometimes, I really believe that if you enjoy blogging and it becomes your passion with time, you have less of these blocks. I guess those who put up daily posts or every alternate days might be facing this problem.

    The key according to me lies in the fact that you should write when you are focused in your work. I don’t think your mind would turn blank then, or you wouldn’t know what to write. But I guess it differs from person to person too.

    Speaking of myself, I guess being a professional freelance writer and blogger – my work is to write! And I write a lot, whether it’s my blog posts, project work, or even replying to the comments on my blog (which are mini posts in themselves!) – all of that is writing. I never really get into such blocks, or perhaps my mind is always floating around with creative ideas that are just waiting to be penned down. However, when these is work pressure and pending projects etc., and when there’s stress all around – I do experience writers block, though it’s rare.

    Thanks for sharing these ways with us. Have a productive week ahead, both of you . 🙂

  20. I like the Friend idea. Creating a friend. I can do this. one thing that you have taught me Jon is to be myself. Bring the me out in my writing. Great post and always love hearing your wisdom.
    Thanks Jon.

  21. Love this post, Henneke. I listen to opera. I find hearing the human voice in a language that I don’t understand unleashes my creativity. And the sublime music helps too. (Today, it’s “Theodora” by Handel.)

  22. Excellent list Henneke. Two more ways I’ve found help – one helps with the “blank page horror” which is to copy out the first page of a novel, or if writing a blog post, a blog post – soon, the ideas comes tumbling. My problem is reining them in.

    The second, running along similar lines to talking to your imaginary friend, is to talk to one of the characters in your novel. Or talking to your ideal reader. Wacky? Wait till you find yourself arguing with your imaginary friend over something you’re writing about!

  23. Henneke,

    Really cool ideas. #3 really resonates with me. As a songwriter, I write on the guitar. Been doing it for decades. There comes a point when you’ve used every chord you know in every imaginable way and you can’t stand to write one more song this way because you feel you’re just beating a dead horse.

    Then I discovered alternate tunings. That means you tune the strings differently. Now all the relationships between the strings have changed and all the chords you know just evaporated. So you end up relearning the instrument and every new chord you find has a totally different feel and color. Everything feels fresh again. Suddenly, new songs get written. Voila!

    I went for a couple of years before tuning my guitar to standard again. Then when I finally did, THAT felt fresh and new again.

    Great reminder to try with writing.

    Thanks.

  24. Ben Aitken (NTF)

    Superb post! I have 4 dogs, they don’t mind going on extra walks, if I feel like I’m getting jammed down I pick up a couple of leads and get walking. Fresh air and dogs is a wonderful way to free the brain. My best ideas often come when I’m half way round the walk, I then grab my smartphone and voice record my idea and BOOM! I’m itching to get back to get writing again. In short the getting away from the desk idea works best, for me anyway 🙂

    Brilliant post again

    Ben (NTF)

  25. Just excellent! I enjoyed it as well as took home lots of ‘learning’. Everything is valuable;however, I got inspired by–‘Read widely. Mix ideas from scientists and artists.’

    The effect is instant. I’m writing a new post now mixing science and art work.

    Whooh! I’m still smiling now. Thank you. I look forward to more of your pieces.

    Anthony

  26. I suffer from writers block often. Ideas come to me so quickly when I’m away from the computer screen. That’s why it’s so annoying that my creativity wanes when it’s time to get down to work.

    One of my hacks is to write important points down on index cards. One idea per card.

    Then I use speech recognition software as I just talk out whatever I know and feel about the topic.

    After that, it’s pretty much just editing and rearranging.

  27. What a great and thought provoking list. When notice of it came in I was practicing several of the suggestions I was off on a short break with my most insightful critic — my wife. The computer was off and remained off. We were on the Wind River Indian Reservation and among other things enjoying conversations with a resident Lakota friend whose perspective is refreshing and direct.

    Survival there is tenuous at best with abject poverty everywhere. Talk about clearing one’s mind! I’ll be carefully examining the list to see how I can apply it.
    Thanks

  28. Some really good pointers there, i live in the city so it can be quite noisy where i live so i like to take a break and have lunch at a hotel or take a trip, that way it gives me some time to write and definitely gets me in the mood. I think as long as your not sitting in front of a computer screen all day and getting out in the fresh air, it’s easy to come up with creative ideas to blog about, always have a notepad or your phone handy 🙂

  29. I find that if I’m frozen at the computer I just start typing gibberish — I hit all the keys as fast as I can, just nonsense, not even words. It’s relaxing and all of a sudden you start to form words. We all self-edit too much. I also subscribe to another of your pointers: I will occasionally write totally off topic because I want to get something off my chest — like the poor service I received at a department store and Delta’s signage on its premium economy seats called “Comfort economy.” I was on my way to my “uncomfortable” regular economy seats. I couldn’t believe a huge airline could make such a blunder. I had fun with that post!

  30. Really interesting post. I’m also a fan of Steal Like An Artist. These are some good suggestions. The bottom line is when you’re feeling stuck, you have to shake up your routine!

  31. OMG! I was totally cracking up. What a great post. I think part of the reason I was laughing is cuz I’ve tried a lot of those ideas and it actually works! I am totally sharing this with my team. Thanks!

  32. Great ideas. If I’m stuck or in a rut, I like to go somewhere quiet for awhile and just totally clear my mind. Taking a short walk to the park and getting on the swings (yes, swings!) like when I was a kid really helps me relax!

  33. #17 might be just waste time and #20 could be a health risk? I could add: Have a note book handy most of the time and jot down ideas that pop into your mind at times that you least expect it. I agree with you Henneke; forcing to write a post will make the situation worse. Great post by the way!

  34. Justin Westbrooks

    For me, I definitely find that turning off my computer and traveling somewhere new is the key. Especially if I’m able to find a place that’s comfortable and out of the norm, that’s the best. Oh, and caffeine does help a little 🙂 My team and I are constantly thinking of new ways to be creative and get past writing blocks. Thanks for sharing! I’m going to write these down!

  35. Nick Alexander, 8th Grade

    Well, I came here to beat my writer’s block…

    Enter the world of the stressed 13-year-old 8th Grader. He feels lost, mindless. He tries to write something. He feels like the world’s odds are against him. “Why are there so many distractions everywhere!?!?!? Oh man, I’m dead. It’s already 9:00 and I haven’t even started my essay! Arggh, I never have any good ideas when I need them!”
    The 8th Grader curses and sighes to himself. “I’ll figure this out. Ooh, I have and idea.” The 8th Grader opens a tab on his computer. He types on his computer: “I..have…writer’s…block.” He clicks on the first link that come up. “”27 Wacky Ways to Beat Writer’s Block”. Hm. Let me check it out…” And so, the saga concludes…

    Thanks, whoever wrote this! It helped me incredibly!!!!!!

  36. You’ve got some great ideas.
    The quickest ways to cure my writers block is (1) Shut down my computer – the minute it shuts down I think of something great to write and by the time it boots up I have forgotten what it was. Or (2) Be involved in a project I can’t stop – once I get to a point I can make notes, I may remember the idea but not the great sentences.

  37. Brilliant post. I agree that writing is the best way to cure Writer’s Block. It’s the only thing that works for me. I just put my head down and write until I stop thinking about it and the words just flow naturally!

    I wrote a similar post of Writer’s Block tips and tricks over on my blog ashleyjohn.co.uk

  38. Great advice! I think your advice was very creative and it would take very talented people to come up with that! Thank you so much!

    P.S. Please post ideas about kid books. 🙂

  39. These are great ways, thank you very much! Some surprising, which already get the creative juices going 🙂

    I have three more for myself:

    1. Finding a relieving thought, then one more, one more and one more. Some call it a Focus Wheel, I call it a Focus Delight. When I start feeling better, ideas start coming by themselves, and it’s compelling them to write them down, to share them. What I love in this method, is that writing is then much easier and much more fun.

    2. Words: instead of writing consecutively, I write “words that I would use on the subject.” For example, today’s words I wrote: model, self-coaching, feeling better, important, etc. Then the next step is taking each word and elaborating a bit. May be kind of free writing. By the way, free writing by itself is a great tool, too.

    3. A stack of Taro cards or some other inspirational cards, you know? I just pull one randomly, and it gives me an idea. 🙂 It can also be good to pull several and see what they have in common, what idea unites them. Pure guidance 🙂

  40. I like ‘quit writing for your readers.’ I have a weird blog that is just for me. Whatever-the-hell should be the name of it. If someone reads it and enjoys it, all the better but it is for me and for this purpose! Also, I find a soak in the tub with a who-done-it mystery clears the cobwebs from my brain! But thanks for the list!

  41. Although this article was written a while back, you have no idea how timely some of your advice is!

    For me, it’s designing things as well as writing about them that I get stuck on. I find plenty of sleep followed by caffeine, lots of physical movement and new scenery are usually winners for me!

    1. Henneke Duistermaat

      Yes, that sounds like a great combination (although I tend to do without caffeine).

      Do you find switching between designing and writing gets you unstuck? When I’m really stuck with writing, I sometimes get unstuck by drawing.

      1. Not really. If I’m stuck it’s usually both at the same time. Then I know I have to take a break. Unfortunately it’s not always possible with a deadline, so I have to try and plough through the creative troughs… 🙁

  42. Very informative article. You have asked – Do you get your best ideas in the shower? Yes i do get ideas, in shower, during dish washing, when lying in the bed etc. I write these ideas on my notebook with pen and utilizes them the next time.
    Thank you Once again.

    1. Henneke Duistermaat

      It sounds like you have a good system for generating and capturing ideas, Yogi. Happy writing!

      1. Henneke,

        Isn’t it beautiful how the internet inspires anyone to write and publish creative ideas with the positive intent on transforming it into a profitable business?

  43. The (one of many) brilliant things about this post is the “give yourself permission (with constraints)”. There’s a big difference between needing a jumpstart and actively choosing to change gears for set time versus procrastinating. Thanks Henneke! Brilliant advice as always!

    1. Henneke Duistermaat

      Yes, I like how you’ve put that, Kathy. When things don’t work, we have to give ourselves permission to try something else and pull ourselves out of a rut.

  44. Irina Bengtson

    Hi Henneke,
    I love this update. Great infografics, too. Will you use more videos from now on? Very creative.

    1. Henneke Duistermaat

      I’m not sure who picked the videos, it wasn’t me – it was an idea of the Smart Blogger Team 🙂

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it, Irina!

      1. Irina Bengtson

        Ah, then I would say some of the videos were too long for my taste but funny and entertaining. 🙂
        By the way, where do I have to have my photo to see it in comments?

      2. Henneke Duistermaat

        You have to set up your own Gravatar and then your picture will appear when you comment on any WordPress site. You can set up your Gravatar here: https://en.gravatar.com/ (Click the blue button “Create Your Own Gravatar” – it automatically asks you to set up a WordPress.com account if you haven’t done this yet).

  45. A great way to crush writer’s block is discussing it in a blog post and saying from a down to Earth point of view how things like this affect every writer.

    1. Henneke Duistermaat

      Yep, that’s a good suggestion. It’s a good way to get a lot of comments, too, as virtually every writer has suffered the problem of writer’s block.

  46. Henneke Duistermaat

    Thank you, Lyiola. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    I have a blog at EnchantingMarketing.com. Unfortunately, I don’t accept guest posts as I prefer to write the content myself.

  47. Wow. So glad Jon pulled this one up out of the past! Great post Henneke, and I can see a difference in your writing, today. 😉
    I like changing medium a lot—usually going to pencil, but I LOVE the idea of having two work stations, one for pencil and one for keyboard. That makes huge sense! I already have the space, and already did have a tiny spot for personal correspondence with cute stationary. It’s the same idea, just to get away. I’ve always done the pencil writing in a lounge chair but a separate desk is an enchanting idea! <3

    1. Lucky you! I wish I had space for two desks – I have one desk that I transform from digital into analogue from time to time.

      To me, it felt like this post was from pre-historic times, but it’s only 3 years old 😉

      Good to see you here, Katharine!

  48. The best piece of advice I ever heard with writing was actually about WHO writers are: writers are noticers.

    That means we notice things. (Simple, eh?) It’s actually harder than you think. Often when I get writer’s block, I find that I’m simply being lazy. WB is a symptom of not noticing the things that need noticing.

    I appreciated reading this article. In particular, I got a kick out of #21—Listen to the Rain. Amazingly, when it’s raining out, I seem to write better! Since my niche in particular deals with change and personal transformations, I think it’s not only relevant that the change in weather would elicit a change in my writing behavior.

    Thanks so much. Will be following your news from now on.

    Peace! – DDM

    1. I like that idea of writers as noticers! When you pay attention, there’s always something new to notice and comment on 🙂

      I love the sound of rain, too.

  49. I may never learn how to correctly pronounce your name, Henneke. But numerous points from your post resonate with me:

    – Using A Different Writing Tool: Switched from MSWord to Google Docs and haven’t looked back. Google Doc’s research and outlining tool, 30-day file versioning, and easy-saving and -sharing features are too good to pass up.

    – The Best Ideas Found During Shower: If only I’m as creative when sitting to write I am in the shower, brainstorming content topics and guest post ideas would be a breeze!

    What surprised me, however, is the 27th tip: writing while listening to your inner critic and editing as you go.

    If I only had a dollar for every blogger saying “write non-stop and edit later” or “don’t listen to your inner critic,” I’d be rich!

    Now, I feel bad whenever I stop to edit yet I edit as I go anyway (because it’s a habit). It creates this internal conflict! Will you kindly elaborate on the 27th tip? When should one listen to his inner critic? When should one tune it out?

    Looking forward to your response Henneke. 🙂

    1. Hi Jabe

      It’s useful to experiment to see what works for you.

      While writing, I often make minor corrections as long as they don’t interrupt the flow of writing too much. So I allow my inner critic to have some input in the writing process. When I see a mistake that irritates me too much, I want to put it right. I’m also relatively slow in formulating my thoughts, so sometimes I realize I should clarify something first – I go back to add or change something.

      However, the inner critic who tells me my writing sucks or that the topic is stupid or that people might think I’m crazy or that I’m never going to turn this idea I’m working on into something useful – that inner critic must stay out of the room when writing my first draft. She can turn up when I’m evaluating the content and editing.

      You may find this article by Mark Mark McGuinness useful: http://99u.com/articles/6971/why-your-inner-critic-is-your-best-friend

      In my experience, the quickest way to write is outline, write a first draft as fast as possible, then edit. But the process doesn’t always work this way. Sometimes an idea isn’t fully formed yet and writing brings clarity. In this case freewriting can help. When freewriting, I recommend reverse-outline (checking the order of the ideas after you’ve written a draft) before editing content. Some of my best posts have been freewritten rather than outlined as most gurus would recommend.

      Creativity is a capricious beast 😉

      1. Henneke,

        I read Mark’s article, and he perfectly captured how my daily writing tasks go:

        “When I’m writing, I’m reading, evaluating, and tweaking as I go. I’ll write a few sentences then pause and go back to read them through. Sometimes it’s immediately obvious I haven’t quite captured the thought or image, so I’ll make a few changes before I go on. If I get stuck, I’ll stop and read through the whole piece, trying to pick up the thread of inspiration where I lost it. Once I see where I got tangled up, it’s a relief to untangle it and get going again.”

        Maybe it’s time for me to accept that this is how people write; that creativity and criticism aren’t mutually exclusive; and the inner critic is an ally. I’ll give his recommendations – and yours too – a try.

        Thank you Henneke! 🙂

  50. I recently read some articles on re-purposing old blog content. Since I was in the middle of a bout of writer’s block at the time, I thought “why not try it”. My blog is small, yet some posts were a couple of years old and times have changed. I took the time to rewrite outdated posts and stage them for later publication. That helped me get through the writer’s block. One post happened to be on writer’s block and that one I published just today: http://shyflower.com/writers-block.html

  51. Such a wonderful article! I get really frustrated when I go through writer’s block, nothing unique comes to the mind, just blank…but changing the place is undoubtedly a good way to overcome writer’s block.

    Thank you for the share!

  52. This was a very fun article. I wasn’t expecting it to be so relaxed and comical.

    Having writer’s block can be incredibly frustrating and what I really have learned is to take a break and not force it.

    I agree caffeine is a writer’s best friend. I try to write all my blog posts in the morning when I first wake up. I find that it helps me get in a good writing rhythm.

  53. Great article i found some very useful points within this post.

    I particularly like :

    ” Sometimes you just have to write something you want to write. It doesn’t matter whether it suits your blog or not. Just get on with it. Get it off your chest. Why not? ”

    I’ve started a few new blogs in the past just because i was bored of a topic. I would buy a domain and hosting and set up WP and write for a different niche then when i got bored of that id go back to my original website.

    I still currently have 4 blogs i write for, all about different stuff just so i don’t get bored. This is the extreme version of your statement of not writing for your readers.

    I don’t really want to give my readers something they wouldn’t expect so i go about it my own way by posting on my other blogs, not sure this would work for all – but it does for me.

  54. Hey Henneke,

    You have some suprising tips here. Yes, I have cursed a little and I have talked to an “imaginary friend” which are great ideas as odd as it seems. They do get the creative juices going when you feel stuck.

    I’ve also gotten into the habit of going back to those glory posts. I look for what was in the posts that my commenters responded the most too and I try to repeat what I did. Plus it’s a real confidence builder when you feel like you’re no good at writing.

    Thanks for the share Henneke! Have a good one!

  55. Hey, Henneke Duistermaat. You know what? I thought I’m a pro thus writer’s blog ain’t a problem for me, but it was, sometime. I sat down with empty brain and forced myself to put down my words, but I can’t.

    The most favorite way which I will do first is what wrote in here (a few minutes with cigarette, but also my favorite music). I back again to my notebook, however the writer’s block is still there–I cannot continue my topic.

    You know? What I will do next is to go to a coffee shop and enjoy some music again. Sometime, I record my with my phone whenever I think that I got some ideas related to the topic I write. then I listen to the audio recording after back from the coffee shop.

    I love kid. Thus, I the last way that I use to break out writer’s block is to go to my friend house and enjoy with their kids.

    Thanks for sharing yours.

  56. That’s a good point, Coco.

    Sometimes I tell myself I only have to start writing and write a few minutes. If only I write one sentence… and then somehow the rest usually follows.

    Thanks for sharing!

  57. This is lovely.
    You need to write what you audience will love to read.
    and if you are writing from experience you will know what to write. i mean if you chose the niche you love and that you can write about very well. you will always write the best for your audience

      1. Hello Katharine ~
        When you start to write, don’t be hard on yourself. Just write. And then write some more. Especially at the beginning, let those horses run wild. You can always rewrite, you can always hit ‘delete.’ Just start painting with words and see what happens. You may find your story, or blog, in the middle of your writing. You can go back and craft it then. No worries!

  58. Henneke,

    this is amazing.

    For me the 2 best techniques that work are:

    1. Using different tool. It just helps me to flow.

    And

    2. Talking in my head. The conversation just follows.

    Thank you for the advice…Take care.

  59. #1 Talking to an imaginary friend is my favourite. When ever I am stuck and fails to pen-down a sentence I try to enter into a conversation. It helps me to see thinks from a different perspective. When comes to blogging certain time I feel to inundated that what ever I am going to right seems to be present out there, where is the novelty in it.
    I also try listening music or hit the play station.

  60. Hii Henneke,
    The information given in this article is very important to us. I can use this information to create many other strategies for my future. Heartily thanks for giving such important information

  61. Thank you for sharing a blog
    Sometimes I tell myself I sorely need to begin writing and write some minutes. If solely I write one sentence… and so somehow the remainder typically follows.

  62. For me
    I know how to start my story, end my story, what the big events that
    will happen in my story but I don’t know how to fill in the holes to get
    to that point.

  63. Andy, I agree. I’m just starting a new project, and I’m not concerned with my audience, will they buy, who are they, etc. (Which is fine for diet books, etc., but not for fiction.) I’m writing something I want to read, and it probably will be crazy.

  64. The techniques you have posted have blown my mind it seems,the way you analyzed is awesome and no words to describe this simply awesome mostly the tactic you mentioned to gain the interaction with the reader is superb and i do follow that
    thank you all the best
    have a nice day 🙂

  65. I totally agree with all these that you shared here for techniques! esp #2,6,7,11 and 14! Awesome share indeed here! I do my best and also practice the same in our business!

  66. Hello! This is my first visit to your blog! This is my first comment here, so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your articles. Your blog provided us useful information. You have done an outstanding job.

  67. I’d love to be a part of group where I can get advice from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you gave any recommendations, please let me know. Thank you.

  68. Woah! I’m enjoying the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that “ perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal. I must say you’ve done a very good job with this.

  69. I have this problem also. When writing for my blog or school essay I tend to just draw a blank. Even if I have my main idea and points I still sometime just draw a blank. I find my best success when I step back and take a mental break(this could be getting up and walking around for 3 minutes). Thanks for the tips

  70. I think one of the biggest reason we get writer’s block is that we tend to want to create the most awesome content even before it has been written…

    Just shitting oof your brain and get everything out is one of the best ways I find to work best for me.

    also, I used to try to write without an outline but ever since I started using outline my writing quality and speed has increased a lot…

    if an outline doesn’t work for you try to write out main points of your content in questions and then try to answer the question you will be surprised how much you will be able to get on the blank page.

    1. Working with different bloggers, I’ve found that some people love outlining and others just absolutely hate it. It sounds like you’ve found the process that works for you. Happy writing, Floyd!

  71. Hey Henneke,
    This is absolutely amazing. I’m no writer. Just a beginner with a small blog, but, sometimes, I even feel my writing mind is blocked. So, thank you very much for sharing these tricks.
    I tried some and Caffeine definitely works for me, but the best trick is, stop writing for my readers (honestly, nobody reads my blog 😂😂). I write anything I want because it is my blog and wanna free my mind.
    And, I love reading your blog.
    Thanks again.

  72. Writing is a great way to free our minds 🙂

    And you’re a writer, too, no matter how small your blog is!

  73. Hello Henneke,

    Writer’s block or creative block is possibly as old as the art of writing itself. One of the most common blocks for writers and creative of all walks is perfectionism.
    It’s normal to want to do our very best, to get everything just right before we even start our first sentence.

    Mostly, what I prefer to overcome – I work from a different environment like a coffee shop or park; it helps me to reboot my brain framework and gives some inspiration.

    These tips are really powerful and going to help people in adding some more option. Thanks for revealing a light on this topic.

    With best wishes,

    Amar Kumar

    1. Thank you, Amar, for sharing your experience. It sounds like you have a good system for overcoming writer’s block already. Happy writing!

  74. The best guide I have ever read. I was just randomly browsing the site and saw your post here. As an EnchantingMarketing Blog reader, I never had anything to complain about.

    I have just saved the post to Pocket and am going to print it out later for reading at least 5 times.

    We will be waiting for more posts from you. Thank you, Henneke.

  75. The best guide I have ever read. I was just randomly browsing the site and saw your post here. As an EnchantingMarketing Blog reader, I never had anything to complain about.

    I have just saved the post to Pocket and am going to print it out later for reading at least 5 times.

    We will be waiting for more posts from you. Thank you, Henneke.

  76. Hi Henneke, Thank you for explaining the writer’s block in such a beautiful blog, and I indeed enjoy reading it and I really value the insights and guidance you provide. Thank you for this blog.

  77. Trouble is I have a lot of ideas that I want to run with at the moment. The chore for me is to narrow it down and then do what this post says to do. Narrowing it down to only one is the problem as I like all my ideas!

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