7 Tips for What to do When You're Running Out of Writing Ideas

Have you ever found yourself at the end of your writing rope? With your to-do list long and your deadlines looming, you can't think of anything else to write about? You're not alone! In fact, most of us have been there at one time or another. The solution may be easier than you think with these seven tips on what to do when you're running out of writing ideas.

1) Step back and take a break

If you’re already feeling burned out and run down, taking a break might be your best bet. Go ahead and put that project on hold or work on something else entirely. If you’re not quite ready to give up, but need a different perspective, try stepping away from your project and working on something completely unrelated. Once you’ve refreshed yourself, come back with new ideas and fresh eyes. Doing so can help you get back into your groove—and shake off some bad habits. Along with tapping into fresher ideas, it can also help reignite a passion that may have been slowly burning out as well!

2) Get inspired

No matter how brilliant your ideas, there will be times when you can’t seem to figure out how to make them work. Whether you’re suffering from writer’s block or just plain tired and looking for a little inspiration, here are some ways to get those creative juices flowing again. Some of these methods might seem unconventional, but after reading through them you may find at least one idea that resonates with you. Try several ideas until something clicks. If nothing does, take a break-even a day off can help rejuvenate your brain! A refreshed mind is more likely to come up with novel solutions than one distracted by worries about deadlines and looming tasks. The hardest part is always just starting; once you start brainstorming, it becomes easier and easier.

3) Go old school

Before you panic, remember: that writing is a skill set. Just like any other skill, it takes practice and hard work in order to get better at it. It’s impossible to become a top performer overnight (unless you have superpowers), so take it easy on yourself and develop your own set of daily writing habits. It won’t be long before your writer’s block begins to fade away as your skills improve. Looking for some advice? Check out our guide on how to start a writing routine that actually sticks here. Oh, and never underestimate pen and paper—there’s something about putting thoughts down by hand that tends to put people in a more productive mindset.

4) Research your topic in detail

One way you can get over a writing dry spell is by doing research. Before you sit down and start writing, spend some time researching your topic. Read relevant articles or books on your subject, attend lectures or seminars, and speak with people in similar industries who might have ideas you can use. Your market will be grateful for any details you include that are particularly helpful or interesting—and so will Google! Just make sure to cite all sources used when compiling information into one document. It’s best not to mix facts from different sources in your own writing, as it’s difficult for readers to know where each piece of information came from.

5) Have fun with it!

If you find yourself in a slump and running out of ideas, try doing something fun. Maybe you could take your family on a short vacation or visit an amusement park. Just have some fun and don’t think about writing! Relaxing is healthy and can get you through a dry spell much easier than trying to force yourself to write when your mind is just not on it. After some time away from your desk, you’ll be refreshed and ready to hit it hard again when you return.

6) Look at how others tackle the same issue

Though we all like to believe that our struggles and our challenges are unique, sometimes it’s a good idea to look at how others have approached similar challenges. If you’re trying to think up new topic ideas but can’t come up with anything interesting, then check out what other bloggers in your niche are talking about. If your challenge is that you just don’t have any original content left in you and you want some fresh ideas, then find a blogger who has been inactive for a while and see if they have anything new to talk about. The more perspectives on a subject matter that you can find out there, usually better able you'll be able to craft an angle on a particular topic.

7) Change your writing style completely

There are tons of ways you can change your writing style. One way is to try adding colloquialisms or vocabulary not typical in that genre. If you’re writing a mystery, for example, a fun twist would be if your main character said totes or gonna instead of definitely or going. It takes a lot more effort on your part, but it can be an effective way to change things up. A similar technique is by altering sentence structure and making it unexpected. For example, changing subject-verb-object sentences into verb-subject-object can give an interesting spin on even traditional plots such as mysteries and romances.

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