Why Creative Writing Can Help With Writer's Block

Why Creative Writing Can Help With Writer's Block

By Saige Brown


The dreaded writer’s block: you sit staring at your screen, fingers poised over the keys, watching that blinking line on a blank page. You think and think and think some more. Maybe you try to make an outline. Maybe you jot down a few random words that connect to the topic. Maybe you bounce back and forth between the prompt your teacher’s given you and your looming empty document, hoping for some sort of inspiration to strike. Maybe it does. Maybe you have a lucky break and suddenly understand what you want to say and how you want to say it. More often than not, however, the time will tick on as you try to come up with some semblance of a plan, grasping at straws until you’ve exhausted yourself – not from writing, but from thinking about writing.


If this sounds like you, then fear not! Writer’s block is an annoyingly common issue almost everyone who’s ever approached writing has gone through in one way or another. From students writing research essays to people writing cover letters for job applications, from bloggers to newsroom reporters: everyone has experienced or will experience the phenomenon. You aren’t alone in the struggle to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys. It can be very difficult to transport your ideas from thought format to something concrete and tangible; that’s if you’re lucky enough to have an idea of how to start in the first place.


Besides the experience of writer’s block being a near-universal issue, it is also a process many must find varying ways to work through. If you’ve found a way to combat your own writer’s block, then that is wonderful news! You should approach your work with the mindset that best suits you. However, since you’ve clicked on this blog post, it’s safe to assume that you at least are curious about how you can combat writer’s block – if not very much seeking out advice. As the title suggests, what this post will focus on is a strategy some may shy away from at face value. “Why would I want to write more when I can’t even start my essay?” they might ask, and that is an incredibly valid question. Why would the recommendation be to keep writing when the entire issue is writer’s block? The answer has two parts. First off, this blog post is only pertaining to one of the many strategies out there for how to conquer writer’s block. There are countless ways to combat the problem, things like taking breaks, walking away, reading the prompt backward, annotating the prompt, bullet pointing your ideas… the list goes on and on! Second, contrary to what it may seem, sometimes writing more is exactly what you need to get back into the groove of your essay.


The key with this concept is that the suggestion is not to write within the same genre as your essay – the thing you’re struggling to write in. Rather, writing within a completely different medium can not only keep your mind in the writing mindset but also get your creativity flowing in a way that hadn’t been unlocked before. Welcome to the world of creative writing! Creative writing is a wonderful way to motivate your mind and discover new writing potential that you may not have even realized was there. Before we begin our journey into the world of conquering writer’s block, here are a few key pieces of information to keep in mind:

  • Creative writing is not solely relegated to things like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, or Harry Potter. After all, writing a whole book series may not be what you’re looking to do!
  • Creative writing can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like it to be. That’s the beauty of it. You can write a few lines or an entire short story, the choice is up to you how you’ll approach it.
  • Creative writing doesn’t have to have any constraints or pressures unless you want it to. If you want to figuratively word vomit onto the page, then go for it! If you want to give yourself parameters and guidelines to follow, more power to you!
  • Creative writing isn’t only related to fiction. Often when people think of creative writing they think of fantasy or sci-fi stories, and those are wonderfully valid ways to approach the creative sphere. However, non-fiction is just as valid a take on creative writing as any fanciful made-up world. If you want to just talk about what you think about something in your life or a concept you find interesting, then you can approach it with your creativity fired up and ready to go!

Ideas to Inspire Your Creative Drive!

  1. Free Writing

Also known as stream-of-consciousness writing, free writing is as its name suggests. You simply start writing whatever you're immediately thinking about and just keep going. This type of writing oftentimes feels oddly unnatural to those of us who are used to more structured and organized writing. However, free writing is also one of the most approachable types of creative writing because it has no requirements or regulations. Your free writing doesn't have to make any sense, that's kind of the point. There may be random thoughts interjected into your writing that happened to come into your head or concepts that don't connect. A lot of the time people approach free writing with the mindset of not picking up their pen or not raising their hands from the keys until they've run out of things to think about. This doesn't necessarily have to be your approach, but it is very helpful to just shake out any ideas or thoughts you may have in your head and put them onto a page with no expectations. For example, you could begin free writing by discussing the events of the day and then a few sentences in you start to think of what you'll eat for dinner later so you write that down and then in thinking of the food you may be eating you think of the restaurant you went to eat that kind of food in two weeks ago so you write about that and then you think about the cool waiter that looked like an actor you like so then you write about that and then you write about a movie that the actor was in... you get the picture. This type of creative writing allows you to write whatever, however, and that can help you to unlock what was blocking your ability to write beforehand because you have no constraints put on you.

  1. Journaling

In approaching journaling, it is good to think about your journal as somewhat of a log. This means it can be as specific or as broad as you so choose. You could choose to write a journal specifically about the dreams you have or perhaps a particular dream that stands out to you. You could write an all-purpose journal akin to a diary where you write about the events of your daily life. You could write a journal dedicated to mapping out your plans for a trip you'll be taking or an event you're going to. Whatever you choose to log in a sequence of events can be considered a journal. This is a form of creative writing that allows you to keep track of certain things you want to either remember or have on hand. You can be as rigid with your writing or as creative as you prefer. If you want to write in perfect chronological order with flawless sentence structure and immaculate grammar, by all means, do so! If you want to make a bullet point list jotting down everything that happened in your day and how you felt about it, that's just as valid!

  1. Letter Writing

Letter writing is another form of creative writing that can help to bring out thoughts and feelings you may want to express. In approaching writing a letter, there is no expectation that you'll have to send it. That takes away any intimidation that may exist there and instead leaves an open opportunity for you to express yourself to those around you without having to give them access to your writing. Perhaps you want to write a letter to a friend that you care about expressing how much they mean to you. Perhaps you want to write a letter to someone who wronged you in the past expressing how their actions affected you and how you wish they hadn't treated you poorly. Perhaps you want to write a letter to someone you admire expressing how they inspire you and make you want to strive to be your best self. Whatever the subject of your letter, it can be very helpful to free up your writing process when you address your writing specifically to someone or something.

  1. Poetry

Before you groan, poetry isn't as scary or monotonous as some may make it out to be! There are plenty of different poetry formats out there for you to experiment with that may pique your interest. From poetry that rhymes to poetry that doesn't, from haikus to sonnets, the possibilities for your poetry are vast and inspiring. Your poetry doesn't have to be pages upon pages long unless you'd like it to be. If you think of a haiku, they are only three lines long with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. It can be a fun challenge that jogs your writing brain while also not being a strenuous task. You could write a rhythm poem that has a specific rhyme scheme behind it, or a poem that follows a specific narrative. You can choose whatever concept you want to explore and write poetry about that. Poetry can be a shorter-form approach to creative writing that allows you to navigate the possibilities of figurative language without the pressure of expectation because, after all, this is just for you!

  1. Song Writing

Creating song lyrics combines musical interest with writing. If you are someone who finds passion in music, whether that be by listening to it or creating it yourself, then writing a song may be the best choice for you to avoid writer's block. Songs can be about anything you please, as you've probably seen with your own music taste. Any genre that inspires you is fair game! Write a song about an intense emotion you experienced, a person of your preference, a certain time period in your life, or truly anything else under the sun. The possibilities are nearly endless, and this option could be your ticket out of writer's block!

  1. Storytelling

Storytelling is arguably the most well-known and popular form of creative writing. Both fiction and nonfiction fall under its umbrella. In fact, most of the other options on this list entail some form of storytelling or another. So, here are some more options that pertain to storytelling that can help you get out of your writer's block! You could write a fictional short story with characters of your choosing, whether they be pre-existing characters or ones you created on your own. You can put them in any setting in any genre with any conflict: the world is your oyster! You could write a few sentences that start and end a story as a challenge to your ability to creatively adapt to a smaller size constraint. You could write a true retelling of events, either that happened to you or that occurred in the world. If you have a passion for history maybe you could write an account of a historical figure. If you have a memory in your past that you want to write about, this is the perfect nonfiction storytelling opportunity for you. The category of storytelling is incredibly broad, and as such, you have a lot of options to choose from. Explore your preferences; try new things! You never know, you might discover a love of creative writing that you didn't know you had, all the while helping to get past your writer's block in the process.

  1. Script Writing

If you enjoy film, television, or video games then this option might be the one for you. Scriptwriting allows you to put yourself in the director's chair. What dialogue would you write if you could for your favorite video game or favorite movie? Try writing out stage directions like the characters entering from left or right or sitting down or standing up. Try creating interesting scenarios for them to be in, with speaking being the main form of conveying the plot. You can come up with your own plot and ideas, but if that's too demanding, understandably, then simply pull inspiration from media you already enjoy and apply your preferences for what the characters could say and do to said media. Though TV, video games, and movies are considered to be more visually based, script writing allows you to envision the scenes while using your ability to write to convey them. Your writer's block can be conquered through script writing by freeing up the creativity in your mind when it comes to setting the scene and describing events.

Final Tips

While getting rid of writer's block may feel like you're stuck between a rock and a hard place or like you're hitting a wall, these creative writing suggestions can allow your mind to take a break from more constrained writing concepts, opening up your ability to still be able to write, just not in a way that feels as daunting. You're still using your metaphorical writing muscle, so you won't be out of practice. Rather, it's as if you were working out, and instead of doing cardio for a while you decided to focus on your flexibility with yoga or stretches. So, experiment with your creative writing style and see what works best for you! In doing so, writing will become an easier process in general and your writer's block will be a much more manageable hurdle for you to conquer. Best of luck on your writing journey; now go kick some writer’s block butt!

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