How To Beat Writer’s Block

Jess McGlynnJuly 23, 2015

Writer’s block gets us all at some point, whether we can’t find that word we are searching for or just have no inclination to sit down and scribble our thoughts for the day.

I know that my goal for this month was to perfect my synopsis so I could send it out to agents in September…have I done this?  Have I heck!  I am finding it particularly challenging and so I have just put it to one side.  The trouble is that because I know I’m supposed to be writing my synopsis I don’t feel like working on my current manuscript either.  

When writer’s block sets in there are loads of ways you can try to help beat it.  I recently wrote about how to spend quality time with yourself when you work from home and that can be a really important way of dealing with a dead end; spend some time away from your desk with just yourself and you might find everything begins to flow again.

Of course, there are some other tried and tested ways of boosting your creative thought and getting those writing juices flowing again:-

Get outside
Whether it’s just a brisk walk around the block, a jog around the park or a three hour trek through the nearby forest, being outside in the fresh air and not thinking about writing is my favourite way of rejuvenating my brain.  Not only does the physical exercise stop me from panicking about how much I’m not getting done but I also come back with plenty of endorphins whizzing round my system which can help with feelings of positivity and happiness.

Write badly
Another thing I have learned over time is that sometimes just writing something is better than writing nothing.  I certainly discovered this when I was trying to get to the end of writing Secrets of the River and I forced myself to sit each day and come up with 1,000 words.  Often I would read back over them the next day and think ‘huh?’ with huge sections getting scratched out but other days I would be so inspired that I would write well over the 1,000 words.  If you are working to a deadline, be prepared to write out anything that comes to mind.  You can always come back and refine it later or if things are really bad then there are plenty of professional writing service companies who can tweak things into shape for you.

Write something else
I know this doesn’t always work if you are working to a deadline and feeling the pressure but sometimes walking away from your current project and writing something totally different can be a great way to unlocking new thoughts and ideas.  I know when I am drowning in my freelance work and writing that 100th article about London it can be really hard to come up with new and dynamic material.  Stepping away and creating something else, either a poem or a creative piece of writing, is sometimes so helpful in refreshing and regenerating my ideas.

Rejig your working space
It is so important to have a proper working space when you are writing.  Overflowing piles of paper, being surrounded by mess and chaos or trying to work on your knee in a busy coffee shop can all detract from what you are trying to accomplish.  Set some time aside to make yourself a real, practical and comfortable working space.

Stay positive
When you are stressed you tend to freeze up so worrying about your writer’s block is the number one way to ensure that it hangs around.  Try not to get stressed out and instead focus on the reasons you started writing in the first place; what was it that you loved?  What are your favourite pieces that you’ve written?  Perhaps go over some original work and be reminded of what made you start scribbling in the first place.  Once you keep in mind the reason why you love writing it might make the process easier.


  • Anita Tatlow

    September 1, 2015 at 16:32

    Hi Jess,

    I found this super helpful today (as a songwriter)! Being outdoors definitely works for me and taking short weekend breaks away from my work too. Hope that your time in Brantome has inspired your writing as well! Thanks for this. x x x

  • Sarah-Jane Laycock

    September 1, 2015 at 16:32

    I've never considered the Writing Badly approach, I have always circumvented the task by distracting myself with other things. Even if it needs a complete makeover as opposed to refining it, it's a great way to stay 'in the zone'

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