How To Get Unstuck In Writing

Get Unstuck and reboot your writing in 15 minutes because every writer gets stuck creatively. If you’re stuck on your writing project, want to (re)start a writing project, or need help creating a solid writing habit, let’s get at it.

You started your manuscript on fire and wrote 3,000 words in one day. Your brain was popping with ideas, and scenes were flowing. You were sure you’d be done with the whole book by the end of the month. And then, one day, you sat at your keyboard, and nothing happened. Your fingers wouldn’t move. You reread your previous writing. It’s awful! Oh NO! What were you thinking? You couldn’t move forward and couldn’t bear to go back. You’re stuck.

All authors face this terrible feeling at some point. As a longtime writing guide, I see this all the time. I’ve even experienced it in my own writing. It's devastating. Most writers just quit and take up another hobby. Others spend years revising one chapter over and over. I feel your frustration and hear your self-doubt.

But the good news is that being stuck is not a permanent situation. There are several techniques for propelling yourself out of that sinkhole.

Let’s explore the challenges we all face as writers—like feeling blocked, struggling to find time to write, and coming up with the next idea. There are ways to get around all the issues you face as a writer.

No matter how creative you are, there will be days when the words just won’t flow. There are many tricks to get unstuck and shake things up in your writing to get your words flowing again.

1. Choose another creative endeavor.

Stop writing. Yes, you read that right. Put down your pen or step away from the keyboard. Getting stuck often means you’re in your head and not in the flow of the Universe. Having other creative pursuits can break up the blockages and get your writing flowing again.


  • Draw

  • Paint

  • Dance

  • Heart-storm

  • Knit

  • Embroider

  • Sew

  • Garden

  • Sing

2. Free your mind and the rest will follow.

We so often get stuck in writing, because of something insignificant in the moment, like word choice. It’s easy to get mired down in finding the “right” word. When this happens, go to the big picture—the story in fiction or the premise in nonfiction. Try brain-dumping everything about your dilemma. Make a list or draw a picture to make associations that will get you writing again.

Write First. Edit Later.

3. Start talking.

Dictation is a wonderful way to get writing again. This may feel strange at first but try dictating what you want to write. You’ll be amazed at the word count. This technique helps you rewire your brain, which doesn’t have to make the connection between brain and hand in writing or typing. Talk through the movie in your head.

4. Keep writing, no matter what.

Whether you get stuck in the pre-writing phase or in the middle of a draft, free write! Free writing is what you’d write if you could get away with anything and everything. This technique taps into your subconscious without your Inner Critic and Self-Editor hanging around. Free writing allows you to riff on words, phrases, and ideas like a jazz musician. Free writing unjams your idea seeds and helps you find that one golden nugget needed to solve a problem. Free writing dives deep into the emotional realms to help sculpt a story or idea more deeply and authentically.

In free writing, there are no rights or wrongs. This technique allows your brain to play with words on the page. Like other writing techniques, practice makes progress.

Here’s how to free write:

  1. Gather your supplies—a pen and paper are best, but a laptop is fine, too.

  2. Set a timer for ten minutes.

  3. Write without stopping—every stupid, silly, cliche thing that pops into your head.

  4. Write as fast as you can. Don’t stop for spelling, grammar, typos, or even punctuation.

  5. When the timer dings, take a deep breath and put your words aside. Give them an hour or two to marinate.

  6. Then put on your Editor’s hat and see what you came up with.

In free writing, you’re a miner panning for gold. You’ll have a bunch of junk, but in your words will be the golden nuggets you’re looking for. In 500+ words of free writing, you may find a good metaphor, a new insight, or one great sentence.

Still stuck?

Ask a question starting with What, What if, Why, Where, How, When, or Who, and see where it takes you in a free writing session.

Need more ideas?

  • Write about what you see in your mind’s eye.

  • Describe something from a completely different perspective.

  • Write about secrets that you want to be revealed.

  • Look at your characters: What is motivating your character in this moment? How do the characters really feel about your scene?

Free write until you’ve exhausted every possibility, went down every rabbit hole, and explored the shadows of your mind’s eye.

5. Throw out the rule book.

When we pay too much attention to the rules, try to be perfect, or imitate others, our writing becomes flat and lifeless. And we feel it! Ask yourself what rule you’re trying to follow, whose writing are you trying to imitate? When you figure this out, your writing will magically get unstuck, and you’ll gain confidence in your writing skills.

6. Read. Then, read more.

If you want to be a writer, you must love to read. Reading helps you think about writing in new and exciting ways. Different voices and rhythms enter your subconscious to get you unstuck. There is a lot of advice on the webs to read things that are not in the genre. I disagree. If you are stuck, read everything in your chosen story type to unpack how other authors have handled different situations. Notice what works and what doesn’t. Stop writing and read. Yep. Writers read, a lot. Something in someone else’s story can trigger an idea. Not that you want to steal ideas, but how a writer moves a story along is a matter of craft.

7. Move it. Move it.

Step away from your computer screen. Go for a walk. Hug a tree. Lay in the grass. Exercise. Get your blood pumpin’ and the endorphins moving to get your writing unstuck. Sitting is the new smoking, and sedentary days will eventually catch up with every writer. Your brain is connected to the rest of your body, so move it to get unstuck.

8. Go on a little adventure.

If your writing is stuck, you need a little time people watching. Grab a coffee and watch the world go by. Take notes on snippets of conversation, the tone, and the manner things are said. Watch body language. What’s being left out? Notice the sounds, sights, and smells around you.

9. Reorganize your writing space.

If all else fails, take time to reorganize and declutter your writing space. Get your bookshelves in order, open the windows, add a fresh scent. Raise your hand if you tend to be messy. I sure am. But the truth is that our space needs a good cleaning to work wonders on our motivation. It also frees our mind from focusing on the clutter instead of the words on our hearts.

10. Reread your own writing.

Go back and read your own writing. You’ll be amazed at what came out of your brain—all you really need to get back into a writing headspace. Repeat after me…

I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer.

Wanna get Unstuck together?

In my 90-minute Unstuck Writing Session, we’ll get clear on what’s stopping you and strategize how to get unstuck.

You bring the words. I’ll bring the magic.

I’ll listen to my Spirit Guides and consult the Tarot. Together we’ll find what’s holding you back and help you find the confidence to believe in your writing, clarity for your current writing project, and coherence with who you are as a writer.

We’ll work on getting you unstuck and writing again. We’ll also look at your writing practice, examine the obstacles that get in the way of your writing time.

These sessions are perfect for you if:

  • You are afraid and resist or rebel against your writing practice, even though you’ve always dreamed about being an author.

  • You want to write but procrastinate more than you write.

  • You’re stuck with your writing project and need clarity on what comes next.

  • Your projects are like potato chips, you can’t choose just one to focus on, or you’re paralyzed by your inner critic or perfectionism.

  • Your life is chaotic, and you can’t find your way back to your writing practice.

  • You haven’t built a writing habit or don’t even know where you’d find the time.

  • You’ve bought into a misbelief that you are not a good writer, so you aren’t giving yourself a chance.

The UNSTUCK Writing Session is perfect for getting your writing back on track with a jump start to confidence, clarity, or coherence on your writing project or writing habit.

$152 for a 90-minute session

To book your private one-on-one UNSTUCK Writing Session, click here.

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