7 Writing Prompts to Help Beat Writer's Block

Writer's block can wreak havoc on your creative abilities, and whenever it hits me I struggle to get my mojo back. It completely stops me from writing a word; even conjuring up images in my head becomes difficult. And sometimes this feeling can take months to disappear.

When the right image or words inspire me, however, I'm suddenly able to write three pages in no time. So I'll scour the Internet looking for that one thing that will break my writer's block--and after hours and hours of searching, I'll usually find it. There are numerous websites out there that list journal-writing ideas or little snippets of a story to try and inspire, and they are the first place I look. I've done it so many times now that I've started to keep a running list of my own, so I thought I would share it with you here.

If you're fighting writer's block at the moment, I hope that these will help somehow:

1.  You're walking through the woods, it's dark . . .

2.  Ever felt like a dream was real? What would happen if dream world and real world collided?

3.  A woman revisits her hometown and bumps into her first love . . .

4.  A person finds out they have a new gift/superpower.

5.  A holiday island. Sun, sea, sand, and hidden mysteries.

6.  You're plagued by texts for weeks; then you find out who they're coming from . . .

7.  A young boy, hands stained red, walks into a police station crying.

At the moment that's all I have, but even reading them again now inspires me, and I have my own little scenes and short stories flowing around in my head.

Do you have inspiring words you turn to whenever writer's block hits you? What other techniques do you use to beat it?

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Comment by Morgan Prince on August 11, 2014 at 7:49am

Well thank you ladies - it's great to get discussions going isn't it?

Cate - I haven't seen Tell No One but it's definitely one for my list and I'm going to check out that interview too. Thank you for posting the link (even the first one!) and thank you for coming in on the discussion.

Thank you Lisa, I try! I think you're right about doing something different too, it's always good to take a break.

Tyra - This book has been added to my list now - need to check it out.

Dora - For me writing another story, or even just a few paragraphs of something different, helps me break the block. Then I can return to the story I'm meant to be working on. But yes, music, reading or imagining scenes can help too. Thanks for commenting on this discussion. 

When I wrote this post I never realised it would get so much discussion but I love it. Like Cate said "We're all in this together" and I think it's great to share our tips. xx

Comment by Dora Gonzalez on August 10, 2014 at 7:52pm

I have had the unfortunate luck to meet writer's block in more than one occasion. I usually listen to music, read the past chapters, and or imagine the scenes I am having trouble with. If that doesn't work I pick future scenes and work my way back. Normally I am lucky to find a song that kicks me into gear and if I play out those scenes long enough I am excited to write again. I don't use writing prompts because they will give me the desire to write another story and I already have plenty to work on at the moment.

Comment by Mardith Louisell on August 9, 2014 at 1:22pm

Thanks, Cate. Will check it out. 

Comment by Mardith Louisell on August 9, 2014 at 1:22am

Cate, I'm thrilled that someone else loves the movie Tell No One!  I've seen it several times to introduce it to others and one of its sequences even shows up in Christian Marclay's The Clock. Not many people seem to have seen this gem of a movie - one of the best plots ever with a terrible title that is hard to  remember. What parents will do for children couched in a thriller. thanks for your post and all your ideas about writer's block. They were great. Thanks to Morgan for starting the discussion.

Comment by Tyra Brumfield on August 7, 2014 at 6:42pm

I have had good luck with The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood. Since using this little gem over the past few months, I completed two short stories.

Comment by Lisa Thomson on August 7, 2014 at 2:48pm

If you're stuck do something completely different. Paint, bake or go for a walk.  It will stir up thoughts and ideas.  I like to paint every once in a while. The problem solving and creative process there sometimes will transfer to my writing.  I also love prompts though and these ones are fantastic, Morgan.  Great topic, too. 

Comment by Morgan Prince on August 7, 2014 at 3:50am

Catherine - I always find that if I take a moment away from revising and write something completely different I'm suddenly struck by new ideas for the novel. Just the act of creation can induce new, fresh ideas for something you're already working on. I hope this helps. :)

Debra - Thank you for taking the time to read. For me the state of the block varies, sometimes I can't write a word and other times I can push through it. I put the list together because they have helped me break the block and I figured they might help someone else too. Sometimes reading someone else's words can help or taking a long walk. I hope you break the block soon. x

Comment by Debra Bacon on August 6, 2014 at 5:23pm
Thank you for this post. Lately I have stumbled upon the writer's block, and it is exasperating. Writer's block, whether real or imagined, stops me in my tracks as well. I am teetering on the block right now.

Your prompts are interesting; thought provoking. I write down inspiration as it hits, but do not have a "list" per se. I have to search my journal(s) or other writing thoughts, titles and the like. I am inspired to develop a list at this point.

Again, thank you for your post, Morgan.
Comment by Catherine Marshall-Smith on August 6, 2014 at 5:22pm
What if you're revising a novel?


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