March 15, 2023, by UoN School of English

How to handle writers block when studying a creative writing module

Creative writing is one of my favourite and most fulfilling parts of my English degree. Seeing a poem or a short story that I spent hours pondering over the word choice of materialise into a finished piece of work is often more satisfying than turning in an essay. For me creative writing is not just an interesting essay I spent hours writing, rather it is a reflection of my views on the world, my observations on people, nature, or a representation of my internal world. 

However, creative writing is not just an academic product, written with quotes and citations from literary critics in journals or books, instead it is a craft that relies on the ability to produce a piece of writing, even when creativity can sometimes feel like a challenge, not something that comes naturally, or from a specific inspiration.

So here are my tips on creative writing when nothing seems to click: 

1. Write down tidbits of conversations overheard on the bus, in a café or around campus.  

Often the best bits of inspiration come from random snippets of dialogue exchanged between random strangers. It can also be helpful in terms of getting used to writing dialogue, as it can often feel unnatural when starting out.  

 2. Write down your thoughts in a stream of consciousness like continuous prose 

Sometimes when I am struggling to produce a piece of creative writing my journey often begins with something along the lines of: 

Pen, paper – I don’t know what to write, what should I be writing about. Inspiration, I cannot think of inspiration. Empty pages. Smudged ink. 

Eventually I will often find a spark of inspiration, otherwise it is still writing practice. 

3. Read and consume as much literature of as many different genres as you can. 

Reading published authors work, paying attention to the descriptive, poetic and figurative language.  

By reading the work of other authors it will help you to identify styles and themes that you like, but also introduce you to a broad range of techniques that can be incorporated into your own repertoire.  

4. Play around with styles. 

Creative Writing is supposed to be fun! Trying different formats such as: Villanelles, Sonnets, Stream of Consciousness … You might even surprise yourself, and like a form or style you never would have previously considered. 

5. Don’t be afraid to draw from personal experiences. 

 Often the best pieces of literature stem from people’s personal lives, or experience of the world. The phrase ‘Write what you know’ is a cliché for a reason. 

– Georgia Krok

Posted in Student WordsTips/Advice/Guidance