Tips and Tricks to Defeat Writer’s Block

By Cait Kimball

As writers, we all share one thing in common- one dreadful, debilitating phenomenon that plagues us all: writer’s block. It’s unavoidable. One day, words will flow from your keystrokes as gracefully as an Olympic figure skater on ice. The next, it’ll be as if your ice skates got stuck in the mud and suddenly you forgot what typing sounds like. It’s rough, but we’ve all been there. So here are some tips to combat writer’s block and get writing!

1. Take a Break

I’m a firm believer in taking breaks. If you have been staring at the computer screen for the past hour and are still stuck, odds are you are going to spend the next fifteen minutes doing the same. So instead of wasting another fifteen minutes, take that break. Change your surroundings. Go outside. There’s a plethora of inspiration out there, you just have to find it- which brings me to my next tip:

2. Always Carry a Journal

If that’s too archaic or unpractical for you- I get it, its 2018- have a notepad on your phone. I have a notepad on my phone that’s titled “LOLs” and it’s full of funny or interesting things either my friends have said or that I’ve overheard strangers say. People are funny. Take advantage. When you’re out in public, or taking that break, jot down notes on your surroundings. Write down what you hear, see, or smell. It doesn’t even have to be coherent. But later, when you’re looking through your notes, you’ll find a conversation you overheard, such as, “I’m not used to living in Florida yet, it’s so flat here. It’s weird, I miss Colorado. I guess the mountains make me feel safe,” and now you have a character.

3. Lists

People uses lists everyday: grocery lists, to-do lists, the list goes on. Sorry, I had to. A great way to start getting into the mindset to write or finding inspiration for that next story, is to create lists. List out your earliest childhood memories, the times you’ve fallen in love, the times you’ve had your heart broken, etc. Be descriptive. Where were you? Who were you with? What time of year did this occur? The more vivid the better. Were there flowers on the trees? Did the air smell like sunscreen? Was it cold? You can use these moments, these detailed descriptions, for your next story.

4. Read

Everyone knows that if you want to become a better writer, you have to be a good reader. Recently I was reading the work of a poet I admire, so I decided to write an imitation poem. I analyzed her poetic choices and themes, and selected which elements I’d like to honor. Paired with my own experiences and metaphors, I actually ended up with a poem I’m happy with.

5. Writing Prompts

They’re everywhere. They’re even on Pinterest. Some websites even post new ones every day. Find a prompt you like and roll with it. Don’t worry if it’ll be a masterpiece, no one has to see it. Just write. This will get your creativity flowing and you might even come up with a new story idea.