ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Commercial & Creative Writing

15 Tips To Cure Writer's Block And Get Your Creativity Flowing Again

Updated on November 24, 2015
Inspiration can be elusive, but you can still find it when you least expect it - hopefully with these tips!
Inspiration can be elusive, but you can still find it when you least expect it - hopefully with these tips! | Source

Great Methods For Curing Writer's Block

15. Go for a walk. It sounds simple, but it definitely works. Firstly, you're not overworking your brain thinking of the same activity, and secondly; Stanford researchers found that walking increases your creativity. Not hard to believe, when you think about it. The fresh air helps clear your mind, and walking will increase your blood-flow, which can only help the flow to your brain!

14. Do something else creative, unrelated to your writing. This keeps you in the creative mindset, but also means you're doing something different. Focusing on the same task for too long can lead to burnout, and this won't just hamper your efforts, it will also lead to stunted writing. Try knitting something, making a cake, hammering up some shelves, or even just doodling. Keep the fire burning, but give it some fresh logs.

13. Try 'Stream of Conscious' writing. This is a good method to use if you're anywhere from part-way to half-way through your novel - or even at the editing stage - and you get stuck on how to set the scene realistically. This can work for descriptions set anywhere, provided you base those places on somewhere you know personally. For this tip, you'll need a pen and paper (or a tablet and a program to take notes on), and travel to wherever you need. Is the scene you're stuck on set in a shop? A hospital? A quiet place in the woods near your house when it's raining? Go to that place, preferably when it matches how you want to describe it (evening, raining, hot, morning, etc.). Now, just look around, smell the air, listen to every sound. Write down whatever comes to mind. Even if it sounds like nonsense. Literally the first word or phrase that pops into your head while listening to a sound or looking at something. You might be surprised at how elegant your descriptions of a place, people or objects come out when you're not thinking too hard!

A long walk can clear the mind and leave inspiration in its path.
A long walk can clear the mind and leave inspiration in its path. | Source

Unusual But Effective Ways Of Finding Creativity

12. Listen to music. Blending the arts together in this way can create something wonderful, and this is a popular method among all writers. Think about how different music makes you feel certain emotions, or makes you remember particular events. Now think about what you want a particular scene in your book to portray, or how you want it to come across. What music could be used to help with it? Classical music can be romantic or war-like, depending on what you choose. Use metal or heavy rock for an angry character, or jazz for a novel set in the Roaring 20's. Don't use music with lyrics! Having lyrics in the music will distract you more than you think, and you might miss how often you use the words you're listening to in your novel.

11. Talk to yourself! I did say some of these methods might be a little mad. But this really can help get a stilted conversation between two characters going again. The problem with writing a conversation is that you want to get the information across to the reader, but you might forget all the tiny movements and facial expressions that we use in everyday chatter - or worse, over-do these things. Stand in the middle of a large space, say the centre of your living room, and probably do this when you're alone! I've found saying 'I was finding inspiration' won't do much to stop someone sniggering if they find you talking aloud to yourself. But what you're going to do is closer to a play, albeit one without a script - yet. Imagine yourself as one of your characters, and begin your conversation. Remember that going straight into the action is best, so maybe pose a question, or accuse another character of something. What gestures would the character make? What facial expressions? Take note of how you play out your character, and use this in your writing. Consider the response from the next character. How would they respond? Coldly? Angrily? Happily? Do they get up and walk around as they think about it? Play out the conversation, and see if it can help to make your dialogue more realistic and spontaneous.

10. Give yourself some prompts. Take a five-minute break and pen down a few prompts. These can be for new stories, something that comes to mind, or an event that could happen in your novel. Don't be bound by the way your novel is already going (a surprise or two can help to keep the action going), and let your pen flow! Write about an emotion you've felt before, a festival or country you would like to visit, a family photograph. Look up some random images online and try to work out a story from them. This exercise works much like number 14 on this list, in that it encourages the creative juices, but by making you focus on something new.

Prompts can be a useful tool in combating writer's block.
Prompts can be a useful tool in combating writer's block. | Source

Extra Help With Your Writing!

Trying to find the right words for your book synopsis? Take a look at my guide to writing a comprehensive one here - http://hubpages.com/literature/A-How-To-Guide-For-Creating-The-Perfect-Book-Synopsis

Go Back To Your Story

9. Try writing a backstory for a character. If you're unsure how to develop a character, or what to do next with them in your novel, try writing down a little of their backstory. What were their childhood dreams? What are their interests? Have they had a troubled past? Taking a step back and looking at your character (or characters) in a new light can help you refresh their actions and dialogue, and help you create their development through the novel with more depth.

8. Read a book. Yes, it's really that simple. Without gaining knowledge, you can't improve anything, and the same goes for writing. In order to understand your craft, you have to gain an idea of what your favourite authors are doing. Don't read just anything, but read something that will force you to challenge your writing, a book that you want to aspire to. Even a writing magazine can be full of more good tips and ideas to get you going on your manuscript again. Try reading a book in a different genre from your own, and see what ideas come to mind.

7. Give yourself (and your writing!) a break. It's okay to write however it comes out the first time around - that's what editing is for. Just pen down what you need to, and move on. Even put a note at the point you get stuck, and move onto the next chapter or part of your novel, then come back to your note later. The important part is getting your story down on paper or computer screen, and then filling in or polishing details later. Don't be tempted to leave your writing until later when you get writer's block, simply push on and allow yourself to write badly. Some of the best novels in the world will have started out as drafts needing heavy editing!

Meditation Can Be A Great Creativity Booster

Get Away From It All To Clear Writer's Block

6. As the video above suggests, try meditation. Much like taking a walk, meditation will allow your mind to wind down and de-stress. If you're worrying about work, children, deadlines, redecorating, housework, and a million other tasks, you'll never be able to concentrate on creating a fictional world as well. Meditation can help you de-stress other things weighing on your mind, as well as organising them, leaving you to get on with the important things - such as writing!

5. Go on retreat. This is easily the most expensive of all the ideas on this list, but a break away from your usual location and life can make a real difference in your writing. It's relaxing, gives you a new point of view on things, and depending on where you go, will allow you to experience a new culture - and experiences are all valuable for writing a book. Take a look at discount hotel websites such as www.secretescapes.com, to find luxury get-aways for a heavily discounted price that might include extras such as dinner. If you've got a good friend or relative who lives at the other end of the country - or world! - ask if you can come and stay for a few days to revitalise your creative flow.

4. Write a blog or article. If you're feeling frustrated about your writing, giving yourself a change of venue for your output can make a big change. Writing for a blog or article is different to novel writing, and can let you think of something different while still letting you practice your craft and your writer's voice.

Getting away from it all can really help to clear your mind and gain new experiences, all of which helps clear writer's block!
Getting away from it all can really help to clear your mind and gain new experiences, all of which helps clear writer's block! | Source

Make Your Writing Flow With These Tips

3. Do some exercise. Authors such as Dan Brown and Lionel Shriver like to exercise to help their creativity, so there's no reason you can't also give it a go. If you're having a moment of blockage, do a few minutes of jogging on the spot, or a few Jumping Jacks. Even if you haven't got writer's block, set yourself a timer, and stop every few hours to do some stretches.

2. Get comfortable! Sometimes there's a cold breeze. Or your chair is too hard. Or you're thirsty. If anything is niggling you at the back of your mind, it will become all you can think about. Get yourself comfortable, get a hot or cold drink, even get yourself some (possibly healthy) snacks. Put relaxing music on, switch your phone off, do whatever you need to get into that 'cosy' place, and make your writing easier.

1. Stop worrying about it. This is the best tip for writer's block - don't think about it! The more you think about and worry about not getting any writing done, the more of a self-fulfilling prophecy it becomes. Follow the tips on this list, but above all, let yourself have writer's block. Don't blame yourself for getting stuck. If all else fails, you can always go back and rework parts of your novel. Writing should always be enjoyable, so bear that in mind!


Do you have any tips for beating writer's block? What are your favourite methods for getting the words flowing again? Share it in the comments below so others can try them too.

Would You Try Any Of The Tips On This List?

See results

© 2015 Miranda Stork

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 21 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      About writing new dialogue to a movie, that is how Woody Allen made his 1966 comedy What's Up, Tiger Lily, for which he changed a Japanese spy thriller into a hunt for the world's best egg salad recipe.

    • MirandaStork profile image
      Author

      Miranda Stork 21 months ago from England

      Thanks for the comment, B. Leekley! And you're right; #13 pretty is much 'freewriting', just maybe with some added prompts that focus it on a scene or people. (Then again, that happens too with freewriting, haha).

      And I love your extra ideas for #12 and #14, especially the idea of writing new words to an old song. Or even trying to use the same words to a song with a different kind of tune (classical made more rock, rock made jazzy, etc.) And equally, the idea of making up new dialogue for an opera or film - although I'd probably be tempted to make it funny. Not sure if that would be a bad thing or not, I suppose it's still creative!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 21 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Some of these tips are new to me, and I'll be applying them.

      #13 is similar to "freewriting" or what Julia Cameron calls "morning pages" and what Natalie Goldberg calls "writing practice".

      Re #'s 14 and 12, try jotting ideas for a movie scene as you listen to classical or instrumental music or writing a poem while gazing at a favorite painting or turning the sound off of a movie or opera and writing your own dialogue or writing new words to an old song.

    • MirandaStork profile image
      Author

      Miranda Stork 21 months ago from England

      Thank you for your comment, sasanka7! You're right, you have to keep pushing through, and have the determination to finish sometimes - I guarantee lots of books would never be completed if we didn't. :)

    • sasanka7 profile image

      sasanka7 21 months ago from Calcutta, India

      Stop worrying is the best tips of all. I liked this hub.Strong determination to write something is the prime factor. Sometimes how to start becomes a problem, sometimes lack of strong wish prevents a writer. Thanks for your useful tips and if anyone could follow the above, surely he could shine in the field of literature.