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R.L. Stine’s 6 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Feb 10, 2020 • 4 min read

It can be hard work to overcome writer’s block, as there are many factors that can inhibit the creative process. For some writers, the cause of writer’s block is procrastination. For others, their inner critic keeps them from finishing a writing project. To overcome the blank page, though, a writer can do more than wait for inspiration to strike—they can actively work at getting their creative juices flowing in order to brainstorm brilliant ideas again. Regardless of the reason for a creative block, every writer should have a few tools and tricks at their disposal to beat writer’s block when it emerges.



R.L. Stine Teaches Writing for Young AudiencesR.L. Stine Teaches Writing for Young Audiences

The Goosebumps author teaches you how to generate ideas, outline a plot, and hook young readers from the first page.

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R.L. Stine’s 6 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

There’s no surefire way of beating writer’s block, but there are multiple tactics and writing tips authors can use to clear the current mental hurdles they may experience during their own creative writing process. For instance, when you’re wrapped up in your writing, it can be hard to look at it objectively. Some writers will take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes, while others may use writing strategies like freewriting to release creative inhibitions and keep them from staring at a blank page. Even bad ideas can inspire good ideas, and as long as writers are getting words down, they’re not blocked from writing.

Bestselling author R.L. Stine claims to have never suffered from writer’s block—he can always sit down and write. If you’re struggling to keep yourself going, here are a few writing tips for anyone who can’t move forward with their own creative work:

  1. Create your characters beforehand. When you start getting into your story, you don’t want to get stuck figuring out your characters’ appearances or who they are. Start out with a complete list of your characters, what they look like, and what their basic personalities are to make a cheat sheet for yourself. This makes the process of writing easier, which can keep you from getting hung up on details that could derail your writing process and lead to frustration.
  2. Outline. Planning ahead is important for writers who want to avoid writer’s block. When you write without a plan, you raise the risk of writing yourself into a corner and not knowing where to go next. Creating an outline gives you a roadmap to keep track of your storylines and general direction. The outline has the beginning, the middle, and the end—you know where you’re going to go—so if you have an outline, it’s hard to have writer’s block.
  3. Set writing goals. Set a daily writing goal and stick to it. Whether it’s meeting a word count or giving yourself a writing time limit, adhering to a writing schedule or writing routine will help you get into the habit of forcing yourself to always meet your goals. Once you’ve completed what you set out to do, stop—even if you’re in the middle of a chapter. This makes it that much easier to get right back into it the next day. You can’t have writer’s block if you’re already in the middle of a scene.
  4. Use writing exercises. Writing prompts can offer a little nudge to the creative process if you’re feeling stuck. Giving yourself a particular setup to follow, or stepping outside your comfort zone (like writing in a different genre or point of view) can inspire new story ideas of your own by expanding the range of your imagination and abilities.
  5. Write on. Once you start writing, keep at it. Even if it’s bad, you can always go back and fix it. Keeping yourself writing is how you stay writing, regardless of whether you have the right words yet. If you find yourself having trouble with one chapter, go on to the next chapter and write that one, then go back (which is easier to do if you have an outline). You don’t have to write in a linear sequence. Some writers prefer to write all the pieces out of order and arrange them later. Others like to start with the end and work their way backward. Whatever your style, as long as you keep moving forward, it’ll be harder for you to get stuck.
  6. Find your groove. R.L. Stine prefers to write in the quiet confines of his own office, without any noise or external distractions—but every writer is different. If you get more done while listening to music, do that. If you’re more productive at a coffee shop surrounded by people, then write there. Every writer has their own preferred atmosphere where they feel the most efficient, so write where you’re comfortable and your ideas can flow the most freely.
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Want to Learn More About Writing?

Whether you’re writing as an artistic exercise or trying to get the attention of publishing houses, learning how to craft a good horror story takes time and patience. Horror-writing legend and author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series R.L. Stine has spent decades honing his craft. In R.L. Stine’s MasterClass on writing for young audiences, Bob explores how to conquer writer’s block, develop plots, and build nail-biting suspense that will thrill readers.

Want to become a better writer? The MasterClass All-Access Pass provides exclusive video lessons on plot, character development, creating suspense, and more, all taught by literary masters, including R.L. Stine, Neil Gaiman, Dan Brown, Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, and more.