Overcome creative roadblocks like a pro
Sooner or later every writer, whether a seasoned novelist or a hobbyist, ends up staring down at a blank page, wondering what on earth they should write. (And, if they're anything like me, questioning their life choices.) As a writing consultant, I'm all too familiar with the struggle of hitting a creative roadblock. The good news about roadblocks, though? There's always a way around.
If you're stuck on a writing project, here are five tips to beat writer's block and jump-start your creative engine:
Write something. Anything.
The blank page is an opportunity, not a constraint. Make journaling your new best friend, and set aside a few minutes each day for uninterrupted writing. Don't fret over organization or grammar - just let the thoughts flow.
The best part? What you write doesn't even have to be related to your project! Just getting the pencil moving can build the momentum you need to get out of the rut. Trouble getting into your brand voice? Try writing copy for a totally different brand. Stuck on a fiction book? Draft a random dialog between your characters. The idea is to keep the words flowing the whole time without thinking too much, sparking new lines of thought in the process.
Embrace the power of research.
Curiosity breeds creativity. A lot of writers shy away from doing research ("Who wants to spend time taking notes instead of drafting?"), but the truth is, the more you learn, the more ideas you'll have. Set aside some time to look for resources on your topic—news articles, books, podcasts, you name it—and do a deep dive. Even if you're writing fantasy, research can help you brainstorm new conflicts and ground your story in reality. The more you dig, the more you'll uncover.
Reconnect with your "why."
In writing, the “why” can be more important than the how, the when, and the where. It's your North Star, and when you get off course, you can always rely on your "why" to get back on track. The "why" is the driving force behind compelling storytelling—in fiction, nonfiction, advertising, and beyond.
If you're facing writer's block, consider your why. These questions can get you started:
What's my argument here?
How does this scene/paragraph serve the purpose of this story/article/blog post?
What are my character's desires, motivations, and obstacles?
If I could leave my readers with just one takeaway, what would it be?"
It's easy to get lost in the weeds and lose track of where you're going. Reconnecting with your primary intent and audience value can help you reset and refocus your narrative. Jump ahead.
Sometimes linear writing can get in the way of progress. The good news is, there's no rule that you have to write from beginning to end! If a specific section is starting to feel like quicksand, jump over it and work on one that's less sticky. Think ahead to which part of your project you're most excited about writing and start there.
Remember, it's okay to leave some pieces unfinished and come back to them later. Taking away the pressure to write in order will help you build momentum. Once you've gotten your creative gears going again, you can go back to where you were stuck before and bridge the gap. Odds are, it will be easier the second time around.
Although writing is often solitary, it doesn't have to be. In fact, collaboration can be the key to getting unstuck. Sharing your challenges with a group of peers can offer fresh insights and solutions. The magic isn't just in getting a new perspective, but also in the process of verbalizing the issue. Articulating the roadblock can often bring clarity.
There are many places to workshop your writing, from writers' circles to message boards, but it doesn't even have to be that formal. Approach a few people you know and trust, whose opinions you value, and ask if you can bounce ideas off them. They don't have to be writers. (You don't even have to let them read what you've written.) The more perspectives you get, the more ideas you may uncover.
... Writer's block can be frustrating, but it doesn't have to be a dead end. Success lies in how you respond to it, pivot, and find new ways to deliver your narrative.
Feeling stuck on your writing journey? Don't navigate writer's block alone. I've helped countless writers and business leaders get unstuck and make their message land—and I can help you, too. Get started with a free consultation.