5 best sources of inspiration when you have writer’s block

May 18, 2023


The dreaded blank page. We’ve all been there. You open up a document, ready to write the next War and Peace, and then all of a sudden, nothing.

Writer’s block can be scary, and extremely frustrating. It feels like running in a dream; you know where you want to go, but no matter how fast you run, you never get any closer. With writing, you might have a very clear idea of what you need to write, but trying to put the right words on the page becomes an impossible task.

But not to worry. Writer’s block is not terminal, and there are cures. It oftentimes requires stepping out of your current mindset and looking to other places for inspiration. After all, no matter how hard we try, staring at a blank page won’t cause words to magically appear.

Check out these 5 sources of inspiration that can be just the thing to cure your writer’s block

1.   Look at competitor’s work

When you’re struggling to find the words, seeing how other people have illustrated a topic is helpful. And chances are you and your competitors are discussing similar things. Whilst it’s never wise to closely copy a competitor, seeing how they’ve chosen to approach something can make finding your own position easier. And you can also work on making your content better.

With any content, it’s wise to see what else is out there. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, it can be the kick up the backside you need to find your voice and create some exciting content. You can use good ol’ Google to find what’s out there or look to paid platforms such as Ahrefs content explorer. This shows you the most shared content for whatever topic you search for, pointing you to successful pieces to take inspiration from.

writer's block

2.  Read your own work

It’s easy to doubt yourself when writer’s block sets in, but the truth is that you’ve written quality content before, and you can again. Getting back into a positive mindset is key. If you don’t feel confident in your abilities, your content isn’t likely to succeed.

Think of some work you’re proud of, or that you know got results, and reread it. Not only will this prove that you are a capable writer, but it’s also a place to steal some ideas from. Ask yourself, what’s good about this piece? Why did it do well? What features does it include that are applicable to my current work? The answer to writer’s block can often be found in your own writing.

3.   Take in some creative content

Sometimes, your brain just needs a break. But if you have a deadline, you may not be able to completely switch off. And returning to writing whilst your brain is still firing back up can leave you in the same place you started. Instead of completely disconnecting, keep your brain active whilst detaching from the task at hand.

Look to some other unrelated and creative content. It might be reading a blog you like or watching an interesting video. By doing this, you’re simultaneously giving your brain a much-needed break from the topic, but you’re still looking at content that could get the creativity engines in your brain firing.

When I’m hitting a wall, I like to check out Wired. They have articles about a wide range of stuff, so I can take a short breather to read some wacky story about a new bit of tech or the burgeoning world of AI. But at the same time, I admire their writing style, so I’m still taking in ideas and inspiration.

writer's block

4.   Write anyway

Sometimes, you need to do it wrong first in order to get it right. Rather than waiting for the perfect words to find you, write the imperfect ones. It’s much easier to work from something than nothing, and having words on the page means you’re no longer staring at a blinking cursor.

It works to get me out of the writer’s block mindset. Even though I might hate what I’ve written, there’s still some sense of accomplishment from having written something. And it stops the page from looking like a mind-numbing sea of white. You can also switch tactics. Instead of figuring out what the right words are, focus on what the wrong words are. What isn’t working? Could the piece benefit from some storytelling? Is it not addressing the right target audience? Having a jumping-off point makes the dive into writing a lot less scary.

5.   Work on something else

If you aren’t ready to start on the task at hand or need a break from it, write something else instead. This could be switching to another piece of content, or it could be writing nothing. Like reading unrelated content, turning your attention to other work keeps your brain going at full speed without spinning your wheels on the same topic.

Try out freewriting. It’s a technique where you continuously write, and it can be about anything and everything. The point is just to continue writing for a set amount of time. Don’t focus on making it perfect, and don’t go back to correct yourself. Go wherever your brain takes you, even if that means writing ‘I don’t know what to write’ over and over again. Writing without a filter or self-criticism can free your brain up to new ideas and might spark the creativity you need to overcome your writer’s block.

If you want help freewriting, try the website ‘The Most Dangerous Writing App’. It prompts you to write non-stop for a set period of time, and punishes inactivity by causing all work to be lost if you stop for too long. Hardcore mode is also great for those who can get stuck trying to make their work perfect, as you can only see the last letter you typed until your time is up.

Don’t let writer’s block get you down

Writer’s block happens to the best of copywriters, no matter how much we wish it wouldn’t. But rather than wallowing in despair or burning yourself out trying to force an idea, it’s important to be proactive about it. Even if that proactivity means writing nonsense or reading an interesting article.

Looking for help with your content creation? Reach out at [email protected] to find out how we can strengthen your content marketing strategy.

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