Writer’s block has been documented for many centuries, but the term itself was first described in 1947 by psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler. Writer’s block is a common phenomenon characterized by the inability to produce new work or come up with original ideas. If you’ve ever experienced writer’s block you know how frustrating it is staring at a blank page or screen unable to write. Typically, writer’s block is caused by feelings of inadequacy and self-induced pressure to write a perfect draft, also known as “perfect draft syndrome”.
Perfect draft syndrome makes a writer feel as though they’re unable to come up with any ideas worthy of writing, usually a self-fulfilling prophecy. Interestingly enough, the best way to get through writer’s block is by writing. One suggested method is called free writing, whereby you sit down and write any thoughts or ideas that come to mind. Typically, this method removes the pressure of producing a perfect draft and improves writers’ confidence.
In a time where the art of writing is drastically shifting, it is important to remember that the same principles that relate to writing by hand, also relate to drafting with technology. When experiencing writer’s block, it might be a good idea to spend time drafting ideas and brainstorming on paper. If you have an impairment that makes it difficult for you to write, there are a number of resources to help manage writing with impairment.
Since Bergler, lots of work has gone into studying the causes and solutions to this ever-so-common issue. More recently, the work has resulted in the development of several apps created to help people overcome writer’s block. Luckily, it is certain that writer’s block can be avoided with training and hard work. The following are 12 apps that will help you banish writer’s block for good:
Prompts [costs $2.99]
Prompts is an app that uses a “creative, intelligent, patent-pending AI to help you write” by suggesting topics and asking questions to get your mind working. Whether or not the prompts are related to your desired topics, getting the wheels turning is a great way to snap out of a writer’s block rut. The app has several useful features, such as a database filled with 300,000 creative prompts and the ability to set custom writing goals.
Story Plot Generator [$2.49]
Story Plot Generator is an app that provides four aspects of a story: “the location or situation, a detail, a complication and an objective,” and lets users write the rest. Story plots can be generated in a number of genres including Action/Thriller, Misfortune/Drama, SciFi/Space, Murder, Fantasy/Magic, Horror/Suspense, Romance and Mystery. If you’re struggling to come up with an idea for a story, this could be a great app to try. The app is able to generate over one million possible storylines, giving you ample material to get you back on track.
Spice Mobile [free]
Spice Mobile is an app that acts as a thesaurus for phrases which is incredibly useful for writer’s block because sometimes writer’s block stems from the inability to come up with novel phrasing. Instead of using the same phrase several times, for lack of better wording, Spice Mobile allows you to take the writing to the next level by ensuring that you’re able to put into words exactly what’s on your mind.
Brain Sparker [free]
This app, which is somewhat similar in concept to Prompts, uses random creativity prompts to help “ignite imagination, overcome creative blocks and brainstorm new ideas.” Brain Sparker helps its users break free from writer’s block by getting them to write about random topics. The app suggests that prompts are a useful way to ignite creativity, and it features over 250 unique prompts, as well as a “daily brain sparker” and various creativity workouts to get you writing.
Unstuck is a web app that “helps us see and solve situations with a fresh perspective through provocative questions, targeted tips, and action-oriented tools.” The app helps its users work through a number of unique issues including writer’s block. Unstuck’s website also offers a ton of articles to help its users overcome specific issues. You can find their articles on overcoming writer’s block here.
750 Words [free]
750 Words is a web app that encourages you to write three pages a day in the hopes of clearing your mind. The concept behind this app is similar to the idea of free writing and takes this process from pen and paper to your computer. These days most people work best and most quickly typing on a computer as opposed to writing. Most importantly, everything you post on 750 Words is kept private!
This app seriously deserves its title as the “most dangerous.” It helps you get out of a writer’s block rut by forcing you to write continuously, without stopping for more than 5 seconds. If you do stop typing, everything you’ve written will be lost. This is a great tool for people who need more than a little encouragement to write or for people who benefit from game-like circumstances.
Lists for Writers [$2.99]
Lists for Writers is a mobile app that offers lists of details to assist writers with brainstorming. A user can access various types of lists, including lists of names, character traits and plot lines. If you’re having trouble coming up with the details of a story, this app is a handy tool that is sure to result in an interesting plotline.
Serial Reader [free]
One of the best ways to get rid of writer’s block is to read. Serial Reader is a free app that grants you access to 20-minute versions of 450 free books. This allows you to fit reading into an otherwise hectic schedule.
The Hemingway app can be used both on your phone and on your computer, on the web or as a Word extension but luckily, you don’t need to be connected to the internet to use it. The app helps you streamline your writing by highlighting sentences that are too wordy, resulting in more clarity and less dull, complicated sentences. If you’ve been free writing, or if you’ve used one of the prompting apps discussed above, this could be a great way to turn the products of those writing exercises into useable work.
Writing Challenge [$2.99]
This app helps you get out of your writer’s block in a fun, challenging way by introducing a “play” feature, where you can challenge your friends to a story-telling game. The game is a timed story-telling challenge, where you go around in a group and take turns adding a sentence to the same story. This is a great way to take the pressure off of writing and brainstorming.
Content Explorer [$99/mo]
Content explorer is a great tool that helps you discover the most popular content on the internet. If you’re ever unsure what to write about, exploring popular topics can be a great way to come up with new, and relevant content ideas while also allowing you to gather inspiration from other content creators. The app allows you to see insights on the social impact of a topic with filters, allows you to discover great linking opportunities, and allows you to search for popular content within a specific timeframe.