Five Things To Do When You Can’t Write

paper-3033204_640 march 26th

Thought we’d dive into another Hi Susan e-mail and this one is from Leslie.

I sit down with every intention to write but nothing gets done. Is there anything else I can do so I feel less guilty?

First tip, don’t feel guilty. When I went through my writing drought, I experienced first, panic, and then hours later, the shame and guilt would set in but it just makes it worse. In fact, it makes it harder for you next time around.

Here are some things you can do that while they’re not technically writing, you are engaging in something that’s writing related-

Sort Through Old Files and Stories

I’m assuming you have done some writing. If so, I often sorted through old stories and articles. Sometimes I’d find one to work on and that would get the writing cycle revved up again. Other times, I’d think of something else to write about. Not only do you purge old stories but they sometimes give you prompts for others.

Do Research

Some days I didn’t want to write but I did want to research settings and careers. Sometimes that’s all it took to get the muse fired up. Every story needs some background details so I know there’s something out there for you to dig up.

Make a List

This one might seem strange but sometimes making lists of things you need to do can make you want to write anything but a simple list. I tried writing must dos, and I also tried lists of things I needed to do around the house. I guess doing laundry and vacuuming wasn’t all that inviting so a much better alternative was to write.

Read Writing Books or Posts

When I felt stuck, I’d turn to the library of writing books, I’d acquired over the years. Some of them inspired me so much, I’d go back to writing immediately.


I’ve always been a daydreamer…especially in typing class at school which I hated. It’s a habit I never seemed to break and now I’m glad I didn’t. Sometimes you just have to daydream about your plot, your characters, the setting, whatever. In fact, I’d go as far to say, daydreaming preludes all perfect writing sessions.


Hi Susan Writing How Tos Writing Tips

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