4 Exercises To Kill Writer's Block

I’ve been working on the same story for months. The characters are good. The structure is good. But most of the “good” is still rumbling around in my brain.

I need inspiration.

I crack open a book from among the piles of books in my office, and I read some Steinbeck. Now I feel inspired. And I write. Reading from my literary mentors is how I find my zone.

Are you feeling uninspired? Have you used all the tools in your writing toolbox and nothing has worked? Try some of these methods from successful writers. Soon—maybe—you’ll sit down and work on your masterpiece.

Write a setting. Imagine a scene. Describe a setting as if you’re looking at a photograph. Go with the first thing that pops into your head. Is it a gray and rainy autumn day? Go with it. Once you finish creating this setting, decide what kind of scene might occur there. What are your characters saying and doing? How does the scene end?

Talk To Someone. Let the other person talk. In fact, the more they talk, the better. Listen and watch. Does she have a nervous twitch? Does he look at you with trust? Lust? Disdain? Nervousness? What do those things look like? What do they mean?

Read something you hate. Reading something you hate may inspire you to sit down and write something better. Identify what you hate about the writing. Is the author too enthusiastic about adverbs? Are their nouns surrounded by gratuitous adjectives? In what ways does this writing bother you?

Return to something you love. If you’re not interested in the fiction you’re writing, take some time to write about something you love. Maybe you long to be near the ocean, or you wish summer would come. Or autumn. Write about that. Veer your fiction toward a subject you love, if you can.

Watch a movie! Who writes scripts for movies? Writers! Watch a movie to gather inspiration from your peers. Do the characters speak naturally? Do they sound stilted? Does this have to do with the acting, directing, or script? What might make their words seem more natural? What's great? What is bland?

You have a story to tell, and it’s a story that we all need. Find your inspiration, and write!

Written by James Elliott