Pushing Writer’s Block Out of Sight, Out of Mind - Uncharted

Pushing Writer’s Block Out of Sight, Out of Mind

By Uncharted

by Caitlin Taylor So

Writer’s block. It happens even to the best of writers. You need to get something done before a specific time, but the words just aren’t coming. Hours pass as you continue to stare at the blinking line that kicks off the endless blankness that fills up your screen. Waiting until inspiration strikes is unreasonable when time is of the essence. Here are five tried-and-true methods writers use to will themselves to write.

  1. Jump to a different scene or paragraph.

If you’re writing a story or essay, the beginning or introduction may be the hardest to write as this part has to do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of setting up the rest of your work. No one has to know the order in which you write. Jump to another section that’s clearer in your mind and return to whatever was giving you trouble later. You may find that skipping ahead to write can streamline or organize your ideas.

  1. Talk it through with yourself or a friend.

Writing doesn’t need to be done in isolation. Instead, frame it as a collaborative process and invite feedback or insight from others. Imagine a reader in your head and pretend you’re speaking directly to them. At the end of the day, you’re writing for an audience, so this is your chance to really consider what they would like.

Or talk to a trusted friend or peer—even better if they’re a writer too. Take notes during your conversation: these alone can become an outline or rough draft. 

  1. Read for research.

When you feel stuck, read other people’s work and study their craft or approach. Examine how their story is structured or their writing, sentence by sentence. All great writers and storytellers were first avid readers. If words aren’t coming to you, look into books or articles that are similar to what you’re trying to write. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel here; absorb everything and then make it your own.

  1. Set a timer and eliminate distractions.

Mindlessly scrolling on social media sites for hours will prevent you from starting a project, consume your focus, and interrupt your workflow. Do everything to stop this from happening! If you do fall into this trap, it’s never too late to pull yourself out. Set your phone on silent or hide it somewhere else. Block websites using a browser extension like BlockSite or turn off your Wi-Fi. When you’re ready to begin, focus on the clock. How much progress did you make in 15 minutes? 30 minutes? A full hour? Take a few breaks, but separate the time you spend relaxing and writing.

  1. Move yourself to another room or place.

A change of scenery can do wonders. Sometimes, all you’re missing is sunlight or fresh air. If that’s not doable, move to a different room or chair, stretch out your arms and legs, run around the block, or up and down the stairs. Whatever rut you’re currently in will pass. Writer’s block isn’t a reflection of your skill and talent as a writer; it’s a testament to how impressive it will be when you produce a finished piece. 


Born and raised in Queens, Caitlin Taylor So is a Chinese-Vietnamese writer who is passionate about prioritizing and amplifying marginalized voices. She graduated from Emerson College with a degree in publishing and marketing. Her writing can be found on Business InsiderPopSugarWebMD, and Her Campus Media.