If you’re not feeling the writing bug at the moment, that’s okay. It’s normal for writers to go days or even weeks with little to no output. Getting in the right writing mood can sometimes be tough. When writer’s block does hit, it can be really hard to motivate yourself back into action — especially if you’re without a deadline.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways that’ll help you get back into writing mode without having to work through your issue entirely. Here are 9 tips that’ll help you get writing again, even if you’re not sure where to start.
1. Make a list of ideas to get started
If you suddenly have no idea what to write, your first instinct may be to try and force yourself into the writing headspace. But before you do that, make a list of ideas that can be the starting points for your book or story. This can help give you a little shove in the right direction without having to worry about actually writing anything yet.
2. Even if you don’t feel like writing, open your text editor and type for a few minutes
If you can’t bring yourself to start writing, open up your text editor and type out a few words anyway. It may not seem like it’s getting you anywhere, but it’ll help get the words flowing again. And at least if you’re typing away, you’re already way ahead of where you could have been: sitting there wondering where to start.
3. Don’t worry about editing yourself
If you’ve already got the words down, don’t stop to edit yourself right away. The best way to break back into writing is to type and type until you can’t take it anymore. Give yourself permission to suck — and just keep going from there. Your edits can come later; let the initial burst of creative energy flow for now.
4. Find a writing prompt or start a freewrite
If you’re not sure how to get going on your story, try heading to a site like 750words.com for a writing prompt or just pick some words out of the dictionary at wordnik.com. Then, just let those words inspire you and write down whatever comes next! Alternatively, you could start typing without any prompt at all and see where it takes you. This process is called “free writing” and it’s a great way to help jump-start creativity.
5. Hit the road and go on a walk or drive
Writing outdoors has several benefits, from getting you working in a productive place to clearing your head or adding some extra scenery to your story. If the weather’s not cooperating, you can also try getting out by driving around — see what interesting sights you spot while writing!
6. Take notes and collect ideas
Whether you use a notebook or not, take some notes as soon as you can. Collecting ideas is key to becoming a better writer, whether it’s by typing them down in a notebook or just jotting them down on your phone while on the go. For inspiration, look over your quick notes when you’re offline and see what topics stand out for you: maybe there are some characters who need more love, or perhaps the character’s motivations are all over the place. These are good starting points for your own story.
7. Go back and read what you wrote earlier that day
Unless you completed the first draft of a piece of writing, it’s probably helpful to go back and read what you’ve already written. This gives you an opportunity to see if your current ideas are still relevant or if they’ve shifted in some way. This is a great way to get back in the habit of writing, as we tend to forget the earlier drafts of our own stories.
8. Consider posting a piece on a forum or social media site
It’s said that you should write what you know, so if you don’t know much about your idea — or anybody else’s — consider sharing it with others! Posting a link to your piece on an online forum can give it some extra exposure and feedback that may trigger new ideas. Or, even better, responding to others’ comments to that same piece can spark some new inspiration.
9. Do something else for a little while
If you’ve tried all of the suggestions above and you’re still not feeling motivated, take a break from writing for a while. Read something else for a little while; see how that makes you feel. Try some different methods of relaxation or just listen to music. Then, come back to the task of writing and try again.
It’s important to remember that you are not alone as a writer. Even famous and popular writers experience times when they just can’t seem to get going with their books or stories. Every author has their ups and downs, but just keep going!
Other writers may have some helpful suggestions for you, too: if it seems like you’re struggling more than normal, ask your writer friends for some help. You can also check out some resources on our blog which will get you goin.
Whatever you do, remember that it’s not all on you to keep going; the process can be full of trial and error, but there is always a solution, even if you’re not quite sure what it is just yet!
Get your hands on our Content Writing Guide for beginners.