The Dreaded Writer’s Block: 4 Ways to Help Overcome a Lack of Inspiration

Written by: Camryn Johnson

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

-Ernest Hemmingway

Writing is the love of my life. But like all relationships, this one requires hard work to cultivate. If you’re a perfectionist like me, writing can be a cathartic creative outlet, but also your Achilles’ heel. The stress of wanting to write, but feeling uninspired, and hating every word that’s typed on the screen, can result in an endless assembly line of trashed documents in your Google Drive. So, how do we combat writer’s block? Below I’ve listed some of my favorite ways to get back into the writing groove:

Listen to music For the stories I write, I like to make playlists that set the tone. It helps to center the focus of my writing. Song lyrics have often cultivated the answers to questions like: what is the meaning I am trying to convey? What does this journey mean to my characters? What is the end game? etc. Music also provides the inspiration I am looking for when embarking on a new story. For example, here is a playlist for a story about a lost love.

Source: Unsplash

Reread other things you’ve already written If you’re anything like me, you are a perfectionist to a fault and have a very short attention span. I’ve found that revisiting things I’ve already written and haven’t seen in a while helps me get back into the headspace to channel my narrative voice. I’d say I haven’t really established a concrete writing style; I test out different ways of writing constantly, but that can also become inconsistent, confusing and hard to grasp for a reader. So, reading things I’ve written before gives me perspective on how I may or may not want to go about writing another piece. This has become such an integral part of my practice that it’s something I naturally gravitate towards when the creative well has run dry. 

Make cover designs One of my all time favorite things to do for a story idea (other than to write it) is to make a cover or graphic for it. Royalty free image sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay make finding quality images for whatever theme I’m going for simple. Programs like Canva make it really easy to curate an image/design combination that fits my vision.

Source: Unsplash and Camryn Johnson

Make vision boards I don’t know about you, but visuals help to clarify any world I’m attempting to build. I like to write fantasy and mystery–two genres that can become incredibly complex and easily contrived. Making vision boards for my characters, the world they live in and how everything connects allows me to see any weaknesses or areas of opportunity. A visual element, something that binds everything together — even if just a similar color scheme, font, or language — can make your work more cohesive and believable. And when you believe it, it’s all the more exciting to flesh out. Here’s a sample board for the main character of a first love story: 

Source: Unsplash and Camryn Johnson

The above tips are how I keep inspiration flowing, even when it seems there is none left. I’ve learned that I am my own greatest enemy when it comes to my writing, and doing creative things to remind myself why I’m writing in the first place never fails to keep me going


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