Overcoming Writer's Block; Creating Stories With Heart

February 2024
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For years, I’ve subscribed to The New Yorker and have done my best to stay current with the latest issues. But they will accumulate. I often promise to catch up during a beach vacation I never take. Alternatively, I use a system of placing Post-it notes on articles I intend to read. With so many yellow stickies, I contemplate whether marking pieces I don’t want to read would be more effective. 

Regardless of whether I have one or 12 copies on my coffee table, The New Yorker remains my go-to source for writing and creative inspiration — especially when I’m feeling tapped out. In my view, the magazine consistently delivers the finest journalism, criticism, and writing all in one convenient place. 

Our #QOTM for February involves a query posted on PRSA’s LinkedIn page. For this annual writing and storytelling issue, we asked: “How do you overcome writer’s block or moments of creative stagnation?”

Your responses surpassed those of any previous question, and while space limitations prevent us from including all of them, I wanted to share a selection here to inspire you:

“I’ve found ChatGPT to be a great new resource to help get the juices flowing. I feed it a couple of prompts related to a certain problem, and that usually helps get me started.” — Stephanie L. Graham, APR

“I stop and completely get away from my electronics. Surfing or being with friends and loved ones and focusing on the moment has often provided me the most fluency when I am in the midst of writer’s block. It’s uncanny how, the moment I get back in my car, ideas freely flow. I used to think taking time off was setting me behind, and now I know it makes me more creative and efficient.” — Marisa Vallbona, APR, Fellow PRSA

“I find the only way to cure my writer’s block is to keep writing. If I’m writing for a client, I will stop and start writing for myself. In my journal, on a new Word doc. And I’ll just start writing whatever is in my head. Once I do that for a bit, the other writing begins to come through because I stopped focusing so much on one topic.” — Dana Stone

“As an extrovert, I need to get out of my head when I’m creatively stuck. That was relatively easy to do when I had co-workers. Now, as a solopreneur, I’ve started using ChatGPT. It’s what I use the tool for most frequently. It’s a great brainstorming partner and can help me out of my creative ruts.” — Jessica Graham, APR, Fellow PRSA

“Complete enough research on the topic at hand. A lot of times that I run out of ways to creatively explain or market something, it might be because I run out of things to say. Sometimes the best way to write about a topic is to first understand it the best that you can.” — Rebecca Roush

“Another trick is to use my nondominant hand to do routine things like brushing my teeth, brushing my hair, eating… It’s been shown to increase neural connections and spark creativity.” — Michelle Johnson, APR

“When I was an advertising copywriter working under tight deadlines, I would copy and paste notes from my research or just basic ideas into the new document — anything to keep from looking at a blank page! It helped me to avoid writer’s block, and it still works for me today.” — Jennifer Gwaltney

Story time

Last month, we started posting a short video interview with one of our contributors with my editor’s note online. In February, we’ll hear from Jason Carlton, APR, marketing and communications manager with Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, who’ll talk more about the power of storytelling that he shared with us about a heart procedure here.

Return to Current Issue Writing & Storytelling | February 2024
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