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Inspiring Ideas and Ways to Overcome Writer's Block

Updated on November 7, 2011

What is Writer's Block?

This is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a career or profession, in which the author loses the ability to produce new work.

The intensity can vary, being trivial and temporarily difficult, or in extreme cases writers become so "blocked" they have been unable to work for years on end, and even abandoned their careers.

American poet William Stafford states:

"There is no such thing as writer's block for writers whose standards are low enough."

Basically this means not to take yourself or your subject too seriously, every idea is worth a little consideration.

Sometimes we think that a poem, article or story will be the BEST one ever written, and that we are going to formulate some of the most intelligent statements in history.

But often times the best ideas come when we aren't actively over-thinking.

All of our ideas and thoughts should be considered worthy of writing, even if it stays written in a small notepad and nothing becomes of it.

Writers tend to get too focused on the content of their work, and not the overall benefits and entertainment it can provide.



There are quite a few reasons a writer can get blocked in the middle of a project.

They can run out of inspiration, lose creativity, and in some cases completely lose direction.

They can get distracted or feel disjointed from their work, causing them to lose focus.

Many events in life can cause a writer to lose focus, such as physical or mental illness, financial pressures, the end of a relationship, or other life stresses.

Sit down and examine the reasons WHY you might have writer's block.

Talk to another author or writer, making it a point to hear of times when they overcame their mental blocks.

Try starting in the middle of your project, instead of sitting and waiting on how to begin, just jump in and worry about the beginning and ending later. It will come to you.

Working on more than one project at a time will give your brain a much needed break. Don't be so hard on yourself, now is the time to just write all your ideas and thoughts out. There will be a time to be critical of your work later - it's called editing!


Every writer has a different way of dealing with creative blocks, but here are some basic ideas to overcome it.

  • Look

Pay attention and look at what people around you are interested in. What are some of the activities or hobbies that are most popular? It's easy to get ideas from just watching people, the mannerisms they display, and the way they interact with others. Open your eyes and look around. What do you see? It might be anything big or small, that can spark a memory or a thought process.

  • Listen

Listen to the conversations people are having, and the opinions they are sharing. Are they angry or upset about a certain subject? Maybe something is happening nationally, or regionally that causes a lot of discussions. Just open your ears, and you will hear many different topics.

  • Interact

Interact with others by asking questions, and investigate what they are thinking. Talk about your ideas and thoughts with a friend or family member, or get a recorder (even better) and play back to yourself. Jot down any ideas, subject matters and creative thoughts while you are receiving feedback.

  • Remember

Remember experiences you have had, how they made you feel, how they can make others feel. Childhood experiences are some of the moments when you used your imagination the most. Think back on any summer camp trips you took, learning how to fish, or trying to ride a bike, getting your license for the first time. All those funny and weird things we experience while growing up, make great topics.


1. As ideas come to you, write them down. This is the digital age, and almost everyone carries some sort of electronic device with them at all times.

Pick up your phone or PDA and scribble down an idea or thought you just had.

Or carry a small notepad and pen around in your purse or pocket, so you can jot down a quote, a word or phrase anytime. It can be anything, even if it seems small and useless at the time.

2. Give it a few days to "simmer" and you might see the flood gates open about the topic. Take a few days off, especially if you just finished a big project.

Give your mind some time to rest and recoup after concentrating so hard.

3. Take time to sit down and write down anything and everything that's on your mind, no matter how disorganized. This will clear your mind of the "clutter", leaving it free for new and creative ideas.

Things like your TO-DO list, your meeting schedules, or other work you need to finish, are no longer in your mind weighing it down.

4. Never dismiss an idea just because you think it might not measure up. There is no limit to what will inspire you.

Remember to pay attention, and interact with the world around you, it's full of possibilities.


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    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Fabulous hub on solving writer's block. Love the face-the-problem-square-on start! No whining allowed--just address the problem. Great perspective. :)

      Voted up and useful and interesting!

    • applecsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie Smith 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I appreciate your comments, thank you!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for a helpful hub with useful suggestions and ideas, applecsmith.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Excellent tips!!! Thanks for sharing!! UP/AWESOME/TWEET

    • applecsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie Smith 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you Simone, I'm happy to share any tips that are useful. :)

    • applecsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie Smith 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I'm happy to offer any tips and advice that's helpful. Thanks for the comment rex michaels.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      These things work for me! Thanks for sharing the helpful tips, applecsmith!

    • rex michaels profile image

      rex michaels 

      7 years ago

      Excellent, talk it out then write it out. Very good tips, tips I needed. Thanks for sharing!

    • applecsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie Smith 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Very glad to be of help. Good Luck in your future works! Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is not only awesome but very helpful to me as I am a fiction writer in the throws of writer's block. Thank you applecsmith, thank you.

    • applecsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie Smith 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you for the comment Phil. I agree with you, in that I don't get writer's block much at all. I tend to have too many ideas floating around at once. But hopefully this hub helps others who do get blocked at times.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      All sound advice. I am fortunate in that I do not suffer writer's block with any regularity or frequency. You get a vote-up and useful from me for those who could really benefit from reading this.


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