21 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Overcoming writer’s block is hard – really hard. You could spend hours staring at that blank screen and not even come up with the title for an article. I’ve suffered through it many times since I started contributing actively to my own blog and various other sites.

Although a writer’s block could fade away with time, it is better take some immediate measures to battle it as it strikes and get started with writing without significant loss of time. This article talks about how to overcome writer’s block by temporarily shifting your attention to something else, possibly unrelated.1. Stop Thinking and Write Anything

The thinking process can sometimes prolong the block. A better way out is to stop thinking and start writing…anything. Just anything. It doesn’t need to center around the topic you need to write about. At the moment your primary aim is to get into the flow. So just start churning out the words without thinking.

2. Leave the Computer and Go Out

Shut down the computer for a day and take a trip to a local destination of your choice. Take a small notebook and a pen along with you so that you’ve got something to jot down in case the ideas begin to show up.

3. Listen to Podcasts

Download some podcasts that relate to the topics you love and listen to them. You could also put them on your iPod or mp3 player and listen while on the go.

4. Listen to Music

Listening to music is something you should do as often as possible. Research has it that music tickles the brain to increase the flow of creative juices. It might help you get rid of writer’s block too.

5. Watch TV

Admit it, you hardly watch TV. Who needs it when you’ve got services like Hulu? Well, try something a little different. Watch TV on a TV.

6. Read a Book or Magazine

Wipe the dust off those books in the shelf and start reading. Another thing you could do is to go out and get an issue of a magazine like Wired, instead of visiting the online version.

7. Surf Aimlessly

Browse the web aimlessly. Read stuff on Wikipedia, political sites, tech blogs, news…whatever. Just browse and read.

8. Chat With a Friend

Talk to a friend. Better if he’s a writer too, or someone who knows enough about what you do. Tell him about your situation. Discuss various topics related to your work. And you might just start getting those elusive ideas.

9. Check Stuff in Your Hard Disk

I’m sure you’ve got a lot of stuff – like pictures, documents, books and all stored in your hard drive. This is the time to scour through them.

10. Check eBooks You Never Read

If you are like me, you’ve tons of ebooks downloaded on your PC. And you never got the time to read them. Now, when you’ve got nothing to write, why not check those ebooks and start reading them.

11. Go Through Your Email

Dig into your email account and re-visit the conversations you had with your contacts, the ideas you shared and the things you discussed. Reply unread emails, if any.

12. Check Your Browser Bookmarks

This is a good time to take a look at the long list of bookmarks you’ve got saved in your browser. It’s likely that you never visited them again after saving. Check them out.

13. Check Your Del.icio.us Account

Why spare your neglected Del.icio.us account. It has a huge list of bookmarks too, isn’t it? Check them out too.

14. Mind Your Social Networking Sites

Not the time to look down upon these services as mere distracting tools. You need them now. You need them to provoke the idea-generating portion of the brain (which one-left or right?). So login and start interacting. Also, see what your friends are sharing.

15. Browse Videos on TED and YouTube

Videos, especially those on TED, make you think differently and thus produce ideas you’ve never had before. YouTube isn’t bad either.

16. Browse Photos on Flickr

A picture can tell a story. And you need to write that story. Hence seeing that picture is essential. Flickr will help you do exactly that.

17. Browse Your RSS Feed Reader

Got 1000+ unread items in your RSS reader? Got some blogs which you never happen to check? Go through them now.

18. Browse Comments on Blog Posts

If any of you wonderful folks have been following my WorkAwesome articles, you would find that I tend to pick up ideas from blog comments. And it’s a good practice because in you end up writing about what the reader wants to read.

19. Organize Your Stuff

Organize your workspace and declutter your desktop. You might come across ideas while doing it.

20. Draw Charts, Diagrams, Mindmaps

Brainstorming through charts and mindmaps could be a nice way to get into the flow.

21. Take it Easy…Ideas Will Come Eventually

Done all of it, and still can’t find anything to write about? Don’t worry, take it easy. Just let go. Give your mind the time it needs. The flow will come eventually.

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Abhijeet Mukherjee is the editor of Guiding Tech, a blog that publishes in-depth articles and tutorials on all things tech, including mobile news and tutorials. He's been into web working since 2008 and continues to enjoy each day of it. He loves to interact with people so hit him up on Twitter.


  1. Hi,

    Great tips. Sometimes it feels as if the mind is not working as it should. You go completely blank. These tips will help in those moments.

  2. Riya|Crispynow on the 31st July

    Awesome Points !!got to learn something new

    Thanks !!

  3. Odeed on the 31st July

    So, uh, procrastinate then?

    • Bret Juliano on the 2nd August

      Well put Odeed, it looks like most of this list is doing everything except actually writing.

  4. Jonny on the 8th August

    Thanks for the great list of tips, I will be giving these a try!

  5. Jakob on the 8th August

    It might just be an addition to #8 but it’s not that obvious, so I name it:
    Call your grandpa! (With a phone, not skype)
    This old guy’s do nothing all day but reading newspapers. Grandpas are a great source of inspiration and they know what’s on, outside of the 2.0 world – mine at least.

    (If you are a little older, your dad might work as well)

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