There is no such thing as writer’s block!

My students hear me say all the time that, “There is no such thing as writer’s block!”  There is no excuse for not having something written after a period of freewriting or when a writing assignment is due.  It may not be your best work, you may not want to share it, you may not love it or even like it at all, but if you let yourself freeze when you try to write, then you let yourself become an old car that no one drives anymore, or an athlete that forgets to stretch before a big game. The best way to get good at something is to practice and keep yourself in shape, and writing is no exception.  If you don’t get into the habit of writing something down, you won’t give yourself the chance to revise it into a brilliant piece later on.

This post was originally posted on the blog I started last year to use with my students, The link to the blog is in my blogroll on this page now too.  If you are interested, please feel free to visit that blog and see the original post as well as some of their comments.  I posted this advice, and as a homework assignment, and my students’ job was to respond with a way that they get around “writer’s block” both as a reminder that they already have at least one good trick of their own, and as a way to share strategies with each other.  I have actually incorporated some of their ideas into this post.  

Tips that will help you get “unstuck” when writing:


Be organic!

– Your best writing is what comes most naturally to you…if you are stuck for a topic or don’t like what you are writing…change it. You may come back to your original idea anyway.

– If you don’t know what to write at all…then write that! It is okay to get started with a list, or other brainstorming activities. Sometimes those things turn in to the best pieces.

– Draw or doodle for a few minutes – you can always write about your drawing if you still can’t think of anything else.


Use your resources:

– “Interview” friends and family about your topic – react in your writing to what they said or run with the new ideas and see where they take you.

– Search your subject, genre, or idea online – see what others have already written about it.

– Look up words you have already written in the dictionary and discuss their meanings.

– Pick up the novel you are currently reading, listen your iPod, and if you positively, absolutely think that you must, turn on the TV for inspiration (just don’t watch for too long).


Go back to previous writing-

-Use your seed entries in your writer’s notebook or other pieces that you wrote, finished or not.

-Re-examine lists and topics that you have worked on before and see if they inspire new ideas.

-Revise something – you may change it so radically that it becomes an entirely new piece.

-Change your angle – write about a subject you have written on before and look at it a different way.

– Lift a line from what you just wrote and make it the first line on a new page and see where it takes you!

– Don’t get rid of anything. If you don’t like something you have written, just put a line through it and move on. You may change your mind later and find it useful.


Change your state or your scenery.

-Been sitting a while?  Stand up!

-Inside all day?  Go out for a walk!

-In front of a blank computer screen?  Pick up your pencil and notebook…

-Tired?  Take a nap.


Any other ideas? Please share a comment!  ~Melissa 🙂

4 thoughts on “There is no such thing as writer’s block!

  1. Thank you so much, I’ve been trying to get rid of “writer’s block”, and your list of ways to get “unstuck” really helps! I’m working on a new story now, and I sure will try these methods. Thank you Melissa! By the way, when we’re out, like in a train or something, we can always find new ideas by feeling the environment! Like the person beside you…he may inspire something. I always heard about this and I decided to try it out this afternoon. Did a lot of freewriting inspired by the environment and people.


  2. Umbrellawhite,
    I am so glad that you find the ideas helpful. I like the way that you phrased “feeling the environment” and I agree that it is a great strategy for finding new ideas. I would probably categorize that under the “using your resources” section, because traveling to new places, meeting new people, and just plain old people watching can certainly be inspiring. Best of luck with your story! ~Melissa 🙂


  3. I used to write on a very regular basis when I was in college, going on six years ago now, and when I look back on my writing from that time, I sometimes want to cry- it came so easily to me then! I found something to write about at every turn. There was inspiration everywhere. Everything around me was a poem. The most everyday occurrence or object brought words to mind, strung together in seemingly perfect phrasing to capture exactly that which I wanted to preserve of the moment. Years have passed since I wrote on such a regular basis. Last year, during my first year of teaching, I hardly ever put pen to paper- it was all I could do just to make it through each exhausting day, wake up and do it all over again the next! The concept of leisure time became foreign to me. I was pretty convinced that my days as a writer of any kind were over. Then, one morning, I was driving to work when I found myself stopped at a light on Joyce Kilmer Ave. where I’d stopped on many other mornings. But something was different. It had just stopped raining and the sun had broken through and was shining against the side of this sand-colored, brick building on the corner, making it look golden. Raindrops that had fallen and gathered near the edge of the street flowed against the curb and glinted like diamonds. I quickly made a mental note of the scene before me and promised myself I would jot down some words to describe it as soon as I got my hands on some paper. In that instant, I felt my old self come back again, and I realized that the writer inside of us never goes away completely, but if we do not keep her active, as you say, and just write SOMEthing down on a regular basis, the writer in each of us can shrink away and it will be that much more challenging (but also that much more pleasantly surprising…) when we decide to summon her again.


  4. Lisa,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I am sure that others can relate to your experience, and if not yet – hopefully they will be inspired by it!
    ~Melissa 🙂


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