What to do when you don't want to write

Hi everyone! Today I have a special post as part of the Writers Persevere event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate their newest book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward.

To help them celebrate this release, many of us are posting stories about some of the obstacles we’ve overcome as writers. As we all know, this isn’t an easy path. Writing is hard and as writers we tend to struggle with doubt. Sometimes too, we don’t always get the support we need to follow our passion, or we have added challenges that make writing more difficult. Because people are sharing their stories this week about how they worked through these challenges to keep writing, I wanted to post about it too.

There are times when I sit down to write, but stare at the screen for an age without doing anything. So I’ve compiled a list of activities to get my creative juices flowing again, which I thought I would share. So here are a few ideas of what I do  (or have thought of doing) when I’m struggling:

Change the physical environment:

  • Write by hand not on the computer.
  • Sit in a different part of the house.
  • Go out and write somewhere else.
  • Exercise to get your blood flowing.
  • Meditate for a couple of minutes first.
  • Set a timer.

Write around your story:

  • Write what wouldn’t happen.
  • Move your story to a different planet, part of the world, or period of time – what would change?
  • Write some “what if…”s.
  • Write from the end backwards.
  • Change the main character (age, gender, race, looks, etc) – what would change?
  • Add in a murder – how would your characters react?
  • Change the genre.
  • Write what happened five/ten/twenty/however long years before your story.
  • Or what happens after your story.
  • Put your characters in a different scenario – what do they do?
  • Put different characters in your scenario – what would they do?
  • Add in a cat (or any other animal you prefer).

Write something different:

  • Fanfic is fun as then you’ve got a start to work with.
  • Try a writing prompt.
  • Write stream of consciousness (I have been known to do this starting with repeated swear words).
  • Start with a piece of conversation you’ve overheard.
  • Pick a person on the street and write about them – the more outrageous the better.
  • Start something in a different genre.
  • Pick random words out of a dictionary and include them.
  • Read a newspaper and write what really happened in one of their story.
  • Pick one part of writing craft that you want to work on and just do some of that (I spent a week working on descriptions as I wasn’t really including any).
  • Vision where you want to be in 1/5/10 years.
  • Write down your biggest fears with writing and how you could overcome them.
  • Go to an art gallery and tell the story of a picture.
  • Write about the last book you read – what you liked and what you didn’t.
  • Write a diary of what you do each day.
  • Pick a person from history and tell their story, or an alternative version of their story.
  • Tell the story of an inanimate object (tree, post box, book etc).
  • Write the story of your life.

Overall I try not to worry about progress or targets, just write something crazy to get back to the joy of making up my own world and writing if down.

One tool that I’ve been starting to explore recently is the One Stop for Writers. This is an amazing online resource bank with everything you could possibly wish for to enhance your craft of writing. And they are now launching their newest book: Emotional Wounds Thesaurus. This has a whole list of different emotional wounds characters might have and the personality traits that go along with each (positive and negative). As well as this it includes responses the character may have, their possible fears, false beliefs that could stem from it, possible triggering situations, and opportunities to overcome it. The amount of thought that’s gone into each entry is astounding. And there’s a whole host of them! The book can be bought electronically or physically, as well as accessed through the One Stop for Writers site itself, along with the whole thesaurus database and other tools on there.

Do you have a story to share, or some advice for others? You can join Becca and Angela at Writers Helping Writers from October 25-27th, where we are celebrating writers and their stories of perseverance. Stop in, and tell them about a challenge or struggle your faced, or if you like, write a post on your own blog and share it using the hashtag

#writerspersevere. Let’s fill social media with your strength and let other writers know that it’s okay to question and have doubts but we shouldn’t let that stop us.


There’s a prize vault filled with items that can give your writing career a boost at Writers Helping Writers.

I would love for one of you to win something that will help you get closer to your goal!

The giveaway is only from October 25-27th, so enter asap. And don’t forget to share this using the #writerspersevere hashtag so more prizes will be awarded!


Hope this helps and if anyone has any other tips let me know in the comments!

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