Writer’s Block Can Be Overcome!

People sometimes get stuck in the middle of a piece or do not know what to write about in the first place. This is sometimes called “writer’s block.” What do writers do to get themselves unstuck? Here are ten fun strategies from the IWP to support writers in your class or for writing at home.

writer's block

To escape writer’s block, dump your thoughts on the page


Write or word process whatever is in your mind. Do not worry if the ideas are coherent or even make any sense. Just keep your pen (or cursor) moving. This is a great way to loosen up and brainstorm possible writing. You might keep just one or two bits and throw the rest away — that’s OK!

Get up and go away from the writing


Take a walk, get a snack, do some calisthenics, or drink a cup of tea. A change of movement or scenery can unlock ideas. Try some movement in the classroom for a change of pace!

Focus on something other than your writer’s block


Clear your mind. Sit outside and listen to the birds or street sounds. Put on a piece of relaxing music. 

Switch channels


Write something different about the topic. For narratives, describe a new character, setting, or conflict. For arguments, try taking on a new point-of-view. What would [this person] say about the topic. Get creative!

Read and reread


Read what you wrote. Ask yourself questions such as, “What do I want to say? What do I want the reader to know? Why am I writing this?” Read what you wrote again, looking for key or favorite phrases or words. Write about why you like them. 

Explore the internet


Look for details or facts related to your writing. 

Read to a partner


Share your writing with someone you trust and ask what the writing makes them think about.

List your ideas


Make a list of words, or phrases, ideas connected to your writing. Each of the items on this list might become new sentences, paragraphs, or directions for writing.

Take a power nap


Give yourself a 5-10 minute power nap (though not during your class, of course). But intentional meditation or relaxation can work in class. Have students close their eyes, breathe in and out slowly, and let all minds rest.

Read for inspiration


Read something enjoyable — an interesting article on the Web, a magazine, or a book. Select a quote or passage to share. Invite comments and connections.

What strategies work for you to dispel writer’s block? How do you help your students?

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