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Any writer knows that one of the biggest hurdles in writing is not knowing what to write (a.k.a. writer’s block). Getting stuck doesn’t mean you’ve reached a dead end, you just might need a push in the right direction. Here are some ideas to help get those creative juices flowing!

Listen to music

An obvious go-to for many writers, listening to music is a great way to get inspired. Depending on what it is you’re trying to write, listen to a genre of music you think best suits your needs; I find that emotional music makes it much easier for me to write an emotional piece.

Read, read, read

Have you ever heard of the Tetris effect? This occurs when you devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to pattern your thoughts, mental images, and dreams.

As a long-time reader, I’ve had days where I’ve read for eight hours straight and discovered that once I put the book down, my brain began to narrate everything as if it were a story. Perhaps you’ve experienced the same thing, or maybe not. This would be an example of the Tetris effect in action, as the narration of the books I read was mirrored in my thoughts.

I used this to my advantage when I would sit down and write for a few hours. Because my thoughts were already being narrated, it made it ten times easier to put my creative thoughts into words. As odd as this may sound, it doesn’t hurt to give it a shot!

Skip to the next part

If you’re hung up on trying to complete or start a certain section, it might be a better idea to move on to your next chapter or section. Hopefully that will help you find your momentum again and you’ll have something to write about when you return to it.

Backtrack

Is it possible to continue writing with the content you have created? Consider an alternative approach, or maybe even brainstorm different ways to change that part entirely. It hurts to scrap good work, but sometimes it is necessary if you’ve dug yourself into a hole.

Don’t aim for perfect, aim for something

Every author will try to find the phrase or word that perfectly captivates their thoughts, but that can be a very draining task. Right now, all you need to worry about is putting words on paper. Try writing what you have in mind, regardless of whether it is phrased the way you want. It’s better to move forward than not at all. You will always be able to go back and rephrase things the way you want.

Writing takes time. Don’t let writer’s block discourage you from writing; it happens to everyone. Find what works for you and get back into it!

Olivia Onesi

U Ottawa '24

Olivia enjoys binge reading her favourite young adult novels and going for evening runs. She is a second year psychology student at the University of Ottawa and can be found scrolling endlessly on TikTok.
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