CritiqueMatch is a platform where writers and beta readers connect and exchange work for free! New: You can also buy a critique or beta-reading service from our top-rated users!

Mar 11, 2021

Overcoming Writer’s Block 101

By R. L. McIntyre

Creativity is a fickle thing. It appears at the most inopportune times when the ability to transfer it to the page is limited, which makes its absence when we’re ready to write even worse. Often, it might feel like trying to wrangle a cat. If you own a cat, you know they determine when they will hang out or not. It’s not something you can force. Somedays, you can convince the creativity cat to sit with you, and it’s great. Other days, you sit with a blank page ready to begin an adventure, and the cat leaves.

You’re not alone in this. The creativity cat will return eventually, but what do you do when it’s been a while, and the creativity cat is as elusive as ever? 

Here are a few tips that I’ve found to help:

1. Manage expectations. Often as writers, we set goals for word counts, and when we don’t meet them, it can ruin our self-confidence. This might begin a spiral of negativity that often keeps the creativity cat far from our grasp. The most important thing to remember is we’re human. If you don’t make your word count, it’s okay. You’re not failing. It may just be a sign it’s time to recharge.

2. Write a different scene. Sometimes the best scenes happen during writer’s block. Choose a scene idea that may be unrelated to your work-in-progress (WIP) or one that hasn’t happened yet, but you’re planning. Write it now. It’s okay if it isn’t perfect. Have fun creating this scene, and you might find the creativity cat paying a visit. It’s important to remember writing is not always a linear process, and writing scenes out of order can be helpful. You can always fit them into the WIP later.

3. Try a writing prompt. When you have no idea what to write, try a writing prompt. There are plenty online, and the process of trying something new can open your mind to new ideas to explore with your MC.

4. Read, watch TV/movies, or listen to music. Often, the creativity cat will be attracted to a particular emotion. Media and other books can inspire us to see our MC in new situations. Even if they don’t work with the WIP, these scenes can help the creativity cat return and propel us back to the WIP.

5. Change the weather. This also applies to when a scene just isn’t working. Find a scene that you don’t like, or write a scene you were planning and change the weather. You might be as amazed as I was to find that changing the mood of a scene through the weather can inspire new reactions from an MC and spur new ideas overall.

If none of this works, take a break. The creativity cat will return, so spend this time on other projects or catch up binging your next Netflix show.  You’re still a writer, and you’ll catch up to your goals when the creativity cat returns.


About the Author

R.L. McIntyre is a new fantasy author with her first book, The Death Sparrow’s Shadow releasing February 27th on Amazon. When not writing you’ll find R. L. McIntyre coaching volleyball, reading, or hanging out with her four adorable cats. She’s spent most of her life writing and is beyond excited to be sharing her worlds and characters with readers. If you’re interested in R. L. McIntyre or The Death Sparrow’s Shadow check out her author page at for more information.