Blogs about writing

5 Best Ways to beat writer’s block

Writer’s block doesn’t have to stop you…

Writer’s Block.

Yep, it’s a thing.

You get to your computer, fire it up, fingers hovering over the keyboard and then…

The mind draws blank and the words do not come. You sit, ready and waiting for inspiration, but there is a chasm between your thoughts and the amazing writing you normally see pouring out.

You stare at the blank white page. The blank white page stares back at you. It seems to shrug. “I’ve got no ideas either”, it says.

This can be particularly frustrating when you’re in the middle of a really long story or article. You’ve got so much developed already, but then everything seems to stop. There seems to be no end to your tale, no punch line to the joke, no focus or resolution to your problem.

So what can you do about it?

Well, it can be difficult to navigate out of writer’s block, but don’t fret. There are a few things you can do to get the creative juices flowing again.

Just a word of warning before we get into the nitty gritty of it all…

Writer’s block is simply a lack of motivation or direction in your writing. This comes and goes from time to time, but it’s not something that can be cured. After all, it’s not a disease. It’s just a temporary slump and most writers go through this at some stage or another.

How to cure writer’s block…

Crush Writer’s block with these ideas…

1. Play word games

One great thing to do is simply play with language.

Here’s one idea:

Create a list of similar words to ones you are using in your writing. Perhaps there’s a spooky house you are trying to describe and it’s just not working. You feel blocked.

Take the word: Spooky

Let’s get some other similar words (synonyms) and then some opposite words too (antonyms). The opposite words will help later on when describing other characters or places which contrast the spooky house.


Synonyms/ Antonyms
chilling earthly
creepy natural
eerie normal
ghostly usual
mysterious obvious

What about some colors -words:

From here, we’ve got so many options to work with.

See if you can describe another element of the house with some of these other words. Perhaps focus on small details and create a vivid image of the house.

Add adjectives until it’s overloaded and it’s actually sounding really bad. Then remove the words which don’t sound right.

Here’s an example for a creepy house in a children’s picture book:

The weird creepy blackened opening of the doorway opened like a creepy mouth with a grey-white mist seeping out.

The description above has way too much going on. It’s really clunky, but that’s fine because we now go in and edit to clean it up. Remember to focus on the parts which are most important. Don’t describe obscure sections or give them too much focus in the sentence.

Let’s go back to our example and fine it:
The weird creepy blackened opening of the doorway opened gaped like a creepy mouth with an eerie grey-white mist seeping out.

Notice how I’ve deleted much of the clunky phrasing from above? I’ve edited it so that it has focus and doesn’t burden the reader with too much “guff”.

Take a look:
The blackened opening of the doorway gaped like a mouth, an eerie grey mist seeping out.

See if you can improve the above sentence. Perhaps add a description of the doorway seeming like it will eat the character looking at it. Or perhaps the mist seeming like it is coming towards the viewer.

These two ideas seek to make the house come alive, as though it is sinister or dangerous, rather than just creepy.

Here are some other word games to try.

The blackened opening of the doorway gaped like a mouth, an eerie grey mist seeping out.

2. Write short stories

Sometimes, to defeat writer’s block, you’ve got to take a break from your main project and try some smaller, fun writing ideas.

Maybe you need to focus on a tiny story, like a fable or a vignette.

These are really effective as they focus your attention on writing for specific qualities in story.


• Focus on plot – orientation, problem and resolution
• Characters – stereotypes of animals, personification (being made to resemble humans)
• Simple settings – farms, fields, woods

Here’s an example of a fable:

The Lion and the Mouse

A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws. A timid little Mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her fright and haste to get away, ran across the Lion’s nose. Roused from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny creature to kill her.

“Spare me!” begged the poor Mouse. “Please let me go and some day I will surely repay you.”
The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go.

Some days later, while stalking his prey in the forest, the Lion was caught in the toils of a hunter’s net. Unable to free himself, he filled the forest with his angry roaring. The Mouse knew the voice and quickly found the Lion struggling in the net. Running to one of the great ropes that bound him, she gnawed it until it parted, and soon the Lion was free.

“You laughed when I said I would repay you,” said the Mouse. “Now you see that even a Mouse can help a Lion.”

A kindness is never wasted.

If you want to learn more about writing fables, click here for a full explanation.


Writing a vignette can be supper fun and rewarding too.

A vignette is like a memoir or short autobiography. You can select a moment from your life and describe it in vivid detail.

• Focus on vivid description
• Feelings and emotion are highlighted
• Personal reaction to memories – introspection

Christmas Day – 1991

I slipped on my dressing gown and tiptoed down the hall, following my elder brother, in the pale dawn light. The clock must have just ticked 6am, but the heat of the day was already permeating the house.

Thick pine scents wafted from the living room as we crept slowly, delicately twisting the door knob to our sister’s room. She was still fast asleep and hadn’t yet felt the urge to see what had been left for us in the living room. Dan gave her a poke in the arm and she stirred. Sensing our excitement, a smile of recognition lit her face and she threw off her doona and jumped to the floor.

We three, barefooted and messy-haired, scampered to…

To read the rest of this vignette, click here.

You can check out more details about how to write a vignette by clicking here.

3. Edit your previous couple of pages

Here’s an idea which keeps you focused on the larger work at hand.

If you’re struggling with writer’s block, going back over your work and reading it again can help you to get back in the groove.

You may tweak your phrasing here and there, as well as adding bits and pieces too.

Pick a particular focus for your editing like:

  • Making sure your narrator’s “voice” is consistent throughout. If your narrator is first person, ensure that the character’s likes/dislikes, attitude and personality come through.
  • Tenses – if you’ve set your story in the past, make sure the narrator uses past tenses. The same goes for present or future tenses. You don’t want your reader becoming confused due to mistakes around whether he “jumped over the wall” or whether he “jumps over the wall”.
    It doesn’t matter which you choose, just remember to be consistent.
  • Inserting and refining dialogue.
    This can be really tricky to make it sound “right” but keep working at it. Maybe get a friend to say one character’s lines with you out aloud.
    Perhaps there’s a point in a scene which needs some dialogue, even just one or two lines.
  • Avoiding certain bland words or phrases which do very little.

Writer's block doesn't have to be such a problem. The most effective way to move on with your writing is...

4. Chat it out

Chat to a fellow writer or person you trust.

If the problem with your writer’s block is more ideas-based, then it might be time to let someone read your work.

This can be a super scary thing to do because you might feel like they will judge you or not appreciate your work the same way that you do.

But as writers, we need to make sure that we are connecting our work with a real-life audience from time to time. And writer’s block is a great place to start.

Choose someone you know well, a parent or friend, and let them read your work. Asking someone who also writes is a great option too, as they know just how you are feeling.

They may give you some ideas, or you might simply work out where to go next.

Remember, ask them to comment on specific things, rather than relying on them to come up with feedback.

If you want to know about whether your writing makes sense, ask them about specific things like: punctuation, descriptions of characters/places/scenes, narrator’s “voice” or perhaps whether the dialogue flows well.

Here are some sample questions to ask before they read:

  • Does the punctuation help to make my meaning clear?
  • How can I make the character seem nicer, meaner, ruder, more aggressive?
  • Where do you think the story is set? How can I make the scenery more beautiful/ugly?
  • Can you describe the conversation between the two characters?

    This will mean that the feedback you get will help you with the specific parts of your writing which might be tripping you up.

5. Write garbage

This sounds like super bad advice, but it’s not.

One way to combat writer’s block is to simply write a scene or paragraph which you know is not your best work.

Give yourself the freedom to not write perfectly all the time and just get the ideas or a whole scene down on the page.

By the end of a 20-minute garbage writing session, you’ll have quite a lot which you will discard, but a whole heap which you will need to edit. And as we’ve seen above, editing your work is simply another step in moving through writer’s block.

While writer’s block can feel real in the sense that it stops you from writing, it is actually just stopping you from writing what you know is “good” or your best writing. There’s nothing wrong with writing some work which you know is not your best.

You can them go over it and make it better.

I often give this advice to people who find it so hard to start writing. The blank page is just too intimidating. It’s as though perfectionism stops some people from even starting.

Well, here’s your free license.

You have permission to write garbage!

You then have some great fodder to work with and edit to make it better.

In summary

Writer’s block can feel impossible to overcome, but you have some really great tools to break through this mental stop-sign and get writing again. Just get back on the horse and get writing again!

Blogs about writing

Who me? How to tell the difference between “Jane and I” and “Jane and me”.

Me and Jenny or Jenny and I – what’s the difference?

What’s the difference between “I” and “me”?

Maybe some obnoxious person has corrected your pronouns in the past. “It’s ‘Andrew and I’, not ‘Me and Andrew!” they’d exclaim.

And I’m sure that gives us pause to stop and think, is that right? And what’s the difference anyway.

Apart from that, who cares, right?

Well, there is a technically ‘right’ answer to this question, which is quite important to get right if you’re writing to an audience who cares. It can take the gloss off your amazing piece of writing if you make this kind of mistake.

In other words, if you’re trying to write to an audience who is aware of these kinds of grammatical errors, it undermines your ideas. Just take a look at social media posts. When an argument inevitably occurs online, one way of dismissing someone’s opinion or deflecting an argument is to pick on someone’s incorrect grammar.

For example:
Samantha: Harry Potter is clearly in love with Hermione. He and her are just made for each other.

Jane: What is “He and her”?! Where did you go to school? You can’t even write a sentence properly. lol

What is “He and her”?! Where did you go to school? You can’t even write a sentence properly. lol”
– Jane

You notice with the interaction above the Jane made no attempt to discuss Harry Potter or Hermione? Instead, Jane simply makes fun of Samantha’s incorrect use of “Him and her”. It’s not a very nice way of having a discussion, but we’ve seen it happen plenty of times, especially on social media.

Can you imagine going for a promotion at work, or even a job interview, and something as petty as grammar losing you a great opportunity?

Sadly, our world is full of people who judge others based on small things like this. Speaking and writing correctly is still regarded as a sign of good education. And if you can’t speak or write “correctly”, then you’ve just shown a lack of education.

In the written word, it can often show a lack of care. If someone hasn’t taken the time to write using standard English, then they either don’t know better or they don’t care. In either case, it’s not good if you’re trying to show off how competent you are.

Think this is bad? See the 7 worst words to use. Click here.

So what is the difference?

Basically, the “I” sits at the beginning of a sentence or clause as the “subject”. This means that “I” is the one doing the verb.

For example:
Jenny and I went to the movies.

“Jenny and I” is the subject of the sentence or clause. They are the ones doing the verb.

Subject, verb and object.

Here, “I” is used as the subject of the sentence. In most sentences, the subject is BEFORE the verb in a sentence.

The pronoun “me”, however, works in a very different way. “Me” is the object in a sentence or clause. The object comes AFTER the verb.

For example:
Jenny went to the movies with me.

Notice how the “me” appears after the verb “went”?

It would also work in a list like this:
Jenny went to the movies with Amanda, Jane and me.
Jimmy hit golf balls at Andrew and me.

Want to learn how to write a short autobiographical story? Click here.

How do you tell which one to use?

Well, you need to know where your verb is in the sentence.

“I” will always be the subject in the sentence or clause, sitting before the verb. “Me” will always be the object in a sentence, sitting somewhere after the verb.

This does require knowledge of the different word classes: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc…

Now you try:

I want cereal for lunch, because it makes me feel great!

Can you identify the mistakes in the following extract? Make a mental note of how to fix them.

Morning hunger…

I woke up and yawned quietly, trying not to disturb Jamie and Anthony’s sleep. I smelt the remains of an all-night movie marathon, popcorn, soda and left over pizza. Me tried to open an eye-lid but it was stuck fast, the other one opened just a crack.

I squirmed inside my sleeping bag. My stomach now telling me to find breakfast. An angry growl erupted from my stomach. I needed to get up and satisfy my hunger. Last night’s meal had not done its job on me.

Walking on the cold tiles, me crept closer to the pantry. My stomach growled again. I opened the pantry door with care, but a creak rang out. I worried that I might wake the others.

I looked, top shelf, and there it was. A tall, thin box, filled with sugary flakes looked down at me. It is a diabetics worst nightmare, but I love it.

Now, see if you can find “I” and “me” in this passage. Do they sit before or after a verb?

If it sits before a verb, it should be “I”. If it sits after a verb, it should be a “me”. The verbs are: woke, smelt, tried, squirmed, telling, needed, had not done, crept, opened, worried, might wake, looked, looked, love.

Want more grammar rules? Click here.

Here are some more examples to illustrate the point:

“I” as subject

I want to go to school today.
After dinner, I want to show you how to knit.
All day, I have been waiting to eat that cake.
Josephine, Daphne and I are not going to work well together.
Can I have a large cup of coffee with no sugar?

“Me” as object

The dog licked me.
She hates me.
Those crayons are bad for me to eat.
Please don’t let me down.
Alfred takes really good care of me.
For Christmas, Daniel is going to give me a large gift of roses.
Can you come with me?

So, know you’ll know when to use “I” and when to use “me”.

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