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A Frustrated Writer’s Guide to Coping with Writer’s Block

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

By Emma DiValentino

For two years I was plagued by writer’s block. Here are the practices I’ve implemented into my life to combat it. 

  1. It’s okay to take a break from writing!

Contrary to what capitalism and the academic hellscape lead us to believe, you don’t have to be producing something all the time. Some periods are meant for rest and consumption, much like bears in the wintertime. Sometimes what is best is to hibernate for a short while. Pushing yourself every second of every day is a surefire way to fall into the pits of burnout. Instead, take some time to experience the world; go for walks, find a lovely park bench to sit on, explore new music.

2. Investigate external problems

Sometimes we can’t write because other things are interfering with our creative process. Consider these questions…

  1. Do you feel inspired by anything in your life? Perhaps a new album or friends and loved ones or books you’re reading.  

  2. Are you engaging with the world around you in a way that feels fulfilling? 

  3. Do you have a suitable space to write that you feel safe and comfortable in? 

  4. Are you feeling burnt out? 

3.  Keep a journal (even if you just use it to vent and scream about the horrors of the world)

Try to stay connected to writing as a form of expression, even if it’s just to discuss your inner thoughts or complain about your daily life. Some people like to write a certain number of pages each day to keep themselves in a routine, but if you’re like me, staying on track with a writing practice is difficult when juggling work and school. I solved this by finding a journal at the store that I was in love with and just dedicating it to absolutely anything that popped into my head, no matter how minor or silly or emotional it was. I used it for grocery lists, to do lists, notes for stories, etc. In this way, my journal became a resource for me rather than something to feel guilty about neglecting. When I was ready, my journal became the place I naturally turned to when I was ready to start writing again. 

4. Don’t be afraid to write badly

One of the biggest things that kept me in a writing rut for so long was that I was too focused on getting a story perfect on the first try. The writing process is entirely dependent on editing and good, careful editing at that. Also, rewriting intentionally brings opportunities to your story that you may not have thought of on the first try! Don’t fear the editing process! 

5. Force yourself to write again

After you’ve taken some time to properly consume the pleasures of the world, write. Write even if it feels miserable; you’ll get over it. Try starting by just writing the beginning of stories, even if it’s just a line or two. I experimented with cheesy prompts I found on the internet and overused tropes before I found my place in writing again.

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