Writer’s block hits the best of us. Me, you, and your favorites too. But when writer’s block hits, those who face it don’t let it wreak havoc and shut them down. They grow instead.

Some days, thoughts, ideas, sentences, and words flood my brain. There’s a sense of urgency to sit down and type. NOW. It’s like a fountain turned on, full force, and I can scarcely take it all in.

Unfortunately, many of those times are when I’m cleaning, cooking, or taking a relaxing bath. Not the most ideal moments for sure.

Ideally, I capture these ideas through voice recording, electronic idea collection (like Trello or Evernote), or via my catch-all notebook.

When I have the space, and intentionality, to put thoughts down cohesively, I can’t. If the faucet was running full blast only moments before, it turns to a trickle as soon as I sit. Then it’s shut off altogether.

No matter how much I try to think, and think, and think. Nada.

Writer’s block.

Nothing seems important, heartfelt, or funny. Instead, fogginess fills my brain with no results.

I want writer’s block removed. The faucet turned back on. I long to get something written, that means something. And, I want to do it well.

What to do?

What can any of us do when it’s hard to write? How can you push pass the resistance that keeps you from moving forward?

I hope these 10 things encourage you to pick up and start where you are.

Starting matters. Choose what works for you.

10 Things You Can Do When Writer's Block Hits


1. Pray

It seems obvious I suppose, but I forget this one simple thing. Instead of starting with God-reliance, I plunge ahead with all my self-reliant plans. I forget how much I need God to show up through all the work I do.

When I’m solely focused on my ideas, I’m not open to spiritual nudges along the way. If the work we do as Rise Up Writers doesn’t include receiving, what we give won’t serve others well. We miss out on the blessings of God working through us.

So do those we reach.

Praying before writing reminds our hearts who’s in charge. We do our work and trust the outcome to Him. This also reduces the pressure we put on ourselves to make it happen. To get it all right.

Our job is to be faithful and show up where He calls us. If that means writing, move forward and write.

2. Make Stress Work For You

There’s a healthy component to stress, and that’s when stress prompts us to take needed action.

When it keeps us stuck, because words aren’t flowing and we feel pressure to get them out, step back. Let stress make you aware of the need to pause, take deep breaths, and notice what’s happening. In your body. In your mind. In your heart.

What’s prompting the stress? It could be fears of rejection, of being prideful (or seen as prideful), of being attacked, of getting it right, of getting it wrong, and a host of other things. As we step forward, using our words the way only WE can, we face our fears and trust God’s grace as we go.

Rather than letting the enemy keep you in a position of ineffectiveness, step back and ask God to speak to your heart. Let His voice impact yours.

Try it now. Ask Him about the project you’ve been putting off or the words that won’t come. What does He want to say about it?

This short exercise could relieve enough crippling stress so the pressure works to move you ahead instead of keeping you where you are.

3. Journal 

In a journal, you can write random thoughts and it doesn’t matter one iota if it makes sense. Or, if anyone would care to read it. It’s just for you. Yet, the process of writing can turn the faucet nozel of your brain from stuck tight to just right.

If what you’re writing about has a lot of emotion tied to it, journal writing can help you explore those feelings and face them. It may not be time to share with the world, but the work you do will benefit other writing you create.

If a project looms and the words won’t come, write in a journal instead. You never know when the words that come out there might prompt what you need elsewhere.

Besides getting words out, journals help me capture words when they’re available.

I keep a catch-all journal with me everywhere I go. Even in the kitchen. Mine includes random phrases and sentences, writing ideas, and content for blog posts. I also write quotes from sermons, podcasts, etc. Every new concept has a new color because it helps me separate concepts when reviewing later.

Use a mini-notebook, something special, or whatever works for you. Have something you can, and want to, take with you.

A journal plays an important part in idea collection, emotional processing, and writing practice.

4. Play Worship, Upbeat, or Soothing Music

Worship music ministers to my heart in a special way. Where I’ve focused on circumstances, other people, distractions, or my own overworked mind, worship centers my spirit to a more restful place. Writer’s block feels far removed when music speaks to my soul.

Music affects the body physically. Various forms affect me in different ways. I’m sure there is something scientific about this, but I can’t prove it.  Have you experienced a physiological shift yourself? What helps you get moving, or slows your mind to a work-ready pace?

I keep a variety of playlists available for different activities. When my brain feels sluggish, I might play upbeat songs through my headset. Before long, I’m dancing in my chair with a half-grin just for me. Other times, I need the quiet calm of songs without lyrics to keep thoughts running at a steady pace.

What kind of music energizes you? What helps you focus? Is it classical, worship, piano, instrumental, jazz, or something else?

Amazon Music Playlists:

5. Listen and Learn

How many of us read a book and highlight like crazy? We might even take notes in the margins.

Ideas spark ideas. I find this to be true with podcasts and books too, even when they’re fiction.

Notice what type of resources spark ideas for you. Return to them when you need a boost to creativity.

Keep a notebook handy while you’re listening or reading. Write your thoughts as they come to you. What if those thoughts turn into your next project?

Make this list your own. Download this FREE Printable – 10 Things I Can Do When Writer’s Block Hits. Use the blank space to put your own plan together.
 

6. Get Intentional

Writing requires effort and time. It’s a craft that needs development. It’s all too easy for writers, me included, to get lazy with their writing work. Without practice and learning new things, and without experiencing life, our idea well will run dry.

Intentionality as a writer includes growth. Get out and do something new in some area of life. Consider activities related to writing as well as other hobbies and challenges.

Learn about the craft of writing. Practice different forms of writing. Practice editing by learning grammar tips and reviewing your own work. Review the work of others too. What can you learn from them?

Writer’s also need to be intentional about sitting down to write without distractions.

Set a timer. Turn off notifications and internet service if possible. Gosh, this is hard, but essential for training the brain to write when it’s time to write.

Consider when are you most creative. Set aside the same time regularly and write.

7. Get Moving

Sometimes, I’ve been sitting too long or engaged in monotonous work and my body needs a pick-me-up.  Besides music, I get up and stretch. I’ll do a few exercises I’ve learned from my 8Fit app or other programs.

I’ve also started walking regularly to boost oxygen to my brain and improve my health overall.

Fresh air and movement will help your body get better circulation which impacts your ability to think and create.

When you’re in the middle of a project and words won’t come, stand up, stretch, and take a few deep breaths to get the blood pumping.

8. Change Your Perspective

A simple change in perspective can fuel new creative juices. This could be a physical change by writing in a new location, or an emotional and mental change.

Where might a change in perspective help you?

Find a new spot to sit in the house. A new location to visit. Change the atmosphere of your current location via lighting or decor changes.

Perhaps your perspective focuses on your world and what’s going on in your head. That’s often the case for me!

If you’re engrossed in the tasks of writing, the things you must get done, and how good of a job you’re doing, you’ll miss the heart of a reader. Step back. Consider the reader. What’s THEIR perspective?

How do they see life today? What challenges are they facing? Consider what kind of emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, or circumstantial filters might they be experiencing as they come across your content.

9. Rest

You know those inconvenient times when ideas flow? The car, the shower, when you’re busy in an activity? Yeah. Take that as a cue. This often happens when our brains aren’t occupied with trying to get ideas out. We all need periods of silence. In today’s environment we have to be intentional. Say no to more noise and yes to a quiet car ride, for example.

Have you been pushing hard and long? Are you overworked? Sometimes we need to slow down so we can speed up. The TEDx video below gives powerful perspective around this concept.

When I have a long day of computer work, I often need a nap. One or two. A short nap can refuel the brain to start fresh again. I know it’s not always possible, but rest in whatever form (nap, a good night’s sleep, a break away from everything) is such a vital component to living well in all areas of life. Not just writing.

10. Just WRITE

And, we conclude with the simple, but hard, thing to do. Just write.

It’s far easier to say than do, but it’s powerful. Writers write.

When you feel writer’s block, just write.

Sit down. Move your fingers. Get the words out no matter how right or wrong, or great or boring they may be.

Just write. Free flow. Edit LATER.

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Make this list your own. Download this FREE Printable – 10 Things I Can Do When Writer’s Block Hits. Use the blank space to put your own plan together.

I hope these ten tips are helpful. You can make them your own by using the FREE printable below.

I’d love to hear from you.

Which one are you going to try first? What helps you the most? If you have other ideas, share them too!

OTHER RESOURCES:

Our job is to be faithful and show up where He calls us. If that means writing, move forward and write.Click to Tweet

Rather than letting the enemy keep you in a position of ineffectiveness, step back and ask God to speak to your heart. Let His voice impact yours.Click to Tweet If the work we do as Rise Up Writers doesn't include receiving, what we give won't serve others well. We miss out on the blessings of God working through us.So do those we reach.Click to Tweet It's all too easy for writers, me included, to get lazy with their writing work. Without practice and learning new things, and without experiencing life, our idea well will run dry.Click to Tweet Have you been pushing hard and long? Are you overworked? Sometimes we need to slow down so we can speed up. Click to Tweet

10 Things You Can Do When Writer's Block Hits

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