Home > Self Help, Writing > How to Write When All Else Fails…In 5 Steps

How to Write When All Else Fails…In 5 Steps

In my day to day Twittering and blog reading I see people having troubles writing. Lightning struck and I realized that I should share some tips I use to get the words out. Your mileage may vary, but this is what works for me.

Writing Checklist

Five Tips for Writing

1. Write. Yeah, how, I know. Sometimes it doesn’t matter – write something else. A blog, a diary entry, a short paper on why you want to be a writer, a big of flash fiction of how you’d expect your day to go if you were a chihuahua.

2. Starting a book. I’ve read it plenty of times and I subscribe to it. Start with an earthquake and end with an explosion. Not literally (unless it fits the story), but suck the reader in immediately and hook them. A scene with a lot of emotion or some sort of intense moment can leave a reader powerless to look away. Then again so can a train wreck, and there are plenty of those kinds of books out there too…

3. Starting a sentence. Really? You need help starting a sentence. I’ve started four now on this point alone. Do you have trouble talking too? Stop over-analyzing and just let it flow.

4. Hitting n many words in a day. I read some articles and letters from R.A. Heinlein to budding authors where he suggested setting aside at least an hour a day for writing and writing whatever it is that they can. I subscribed to that for a while and perhaps that helped me get to the point where when I’ve got time to write, I write. If that’s what it takes for anybody else to get to that point then try it out. Block out the world and explain to your world that this is important to you and you need to do it. If you don’t have the support in place for your addiction – excuse me – obsession, then I’d suggest better communication with that support staff or finding a new one.

5. Write! Covered this I suppose, but the point is that’s what it’s all about. If you don’t write then you don’t finish anything. If you don’t finish anything you might as well be a mime and we all know how obnoxious those people can be!

That’s it, only five steps. No bonus, no magic pill or words or wand to offer that will solve your problems. It’s a tough road and not one for the weak-willed. Fight for it if you want it and you’ll find a way.

What makes me good enough to offer these tips? Well I guess it’s a subjective matter. There are best-selling authors out there that I don’t think deserve a tenth of what they get – but clearly nobody asked my opinion because they’re living the life, not me! I’ve got eight novels published with my ninth and tenth coming soon. Eleventh as well, come to think of it. What’s more I have yet to receive a review below four stars on anything I’ve written and a few fives as well. I haven’t hit big sales numbers yet but that’s okay – this is tips on writing, not on marketing! When I figure out how to sell 100+ books a month (or better yet, 100+ a day), THEN I’ll be offering marketing tips as well!

Quill and Inkwell

Cut the complications and crap - Just Write!


To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com

Categories: Self Help, Writing
  1. August 27, 2011 at 16:04

    There’s also taking a walk around the block, meditating, drinking water, drinking whiskey, introducing other substances into your body like caffeine…

    • August 27, 2011 at 16:25

      Yes, caffeine…what else would somebody seeking creativity possible use? 🙂

  2. September 1, 2011 at 14:32

    Yeah, what we’ve been talking about. 🙂 I would add that new writers often need to give themselves permission to suck. Like anything else, any sport, any art, just about anything we do, time and repetition make us better. So if someone is new to the gig, they probably aren’t going to get the great American novel done on the first go.

    Also read, A LOT!!!

    Cheers and thanks for stopping by my blog.


    • September 1, 2011 at 14:37

      Of course, sucking is mandatory (did I just say that?). That’s what finding a good editor or at least an honest friend is all about.

  3. Jo
    September 17, 2011 at 00:51

    Listening to music can unlock the creative part of the brain and make it easier to get past that blocked feeling.

  4. Khyiah Angel
    September 30, 2011 at 04:04

    It’s funny, isn’t it that we might have a long term burning desire to write but never actually put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). Ten years it took me, to get to the first point in your post. Just write! But it’s very true, we need to be reminded to stick to the basics!

    These days I don’t set a daily word limit, I schedule a two hour stint twice a week (minimum) when I go to the library to write. I force myself to sit in front of my laptop, sometimes it flows and other times it’s like pulling teeth. Sometimes I write nothing for the first hour or so and then end up writing furiously for the second hour. But I maintain the schedule regardless. It works for me.

  5. October 13, 2011 at 20:48

    Thank you, this is what I needed to read today. You offer great suggestions for writing when stuck, but also offer a reminder that even on the low productivity days when I pull more hair out of my head than words, there are still alternative things that I can write. Very nice post.

    • October 14, 2011 at 18:56

      Happy to offer what I’ve figured out thus far. I’m no master – just another guy slugging it out on the path to eventual literary greatness (I hope).

      Funny story that is very much on topic – I was working on my MBA thesis recently and was stumped on how I was going to come up with another nine pages. I spent some time rambling in a message post on my school message board about my progress and how I was trying to figure out. Whining about it, as I did, primed the pump so-to-speak. I realized I was ready so I switched over to my paper and started cranking it out!

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