11 Things To Do If You Are Having A Terrible Day As A Writer

It’s unavoidable: there will be days where writing just doesn’t seem worth it. Maybe you’re not getting any love from agents and publishers, or maybe you’re struggling to get your point across. 

Maybe you’ve been working on the same project for months on end and feel like you’re making zero progress. Whatever the reason, here are some ideas on how to lighten up when things look dark in your writing life.

11 Writing Exercises to Help Cure Writer’s Block – YouTube
1. Acknowledge your emotions and give yourself permission to feel frustrated or overwhelmed.
2. Step away from your writing for a while to clear your mind and gain a fresh perspective.
3. Engage in physical activities or exercises to release stress and improve your mood.
4. Connect with other writers or a supportive community to share your struggles and seek advice.
5. Practice self-compassion and remind yourself that bad days are a normal part of the writing journey.
6. Set small, achievable goals to regain a sense of accomplishment and progress.
7. Experiment with different writing prompts or creative exercises to spark inspiration.
8. Consider taking a break to engage in a hobby or activity you enjoy to recharge your creativity.
9. Reflect on your past successes and remind yourself of your writing strengths.
10. Seek out motivational quotes, articles, or books that resonate with your struggles and aspirations.
11. Remember that your writing journey is unique, and bad days can lead to growth and learning.

1. Let It All Out

If you’re having a bad day as a writer, let it all out. Don’t hold back. Seriously, I know that can be hard to do.

But try to get it out of your system in whatever way works best for you whether that’s by writing about your feelings or simply talking about them with someone else and don’t worry about what other people think.

You shouldn’t hold back because you think you’ll feel better if say whatever comes into your mind without editing yourself or holding anything back (which I know is easier said than done). 

And no matter what anyone tells you about how releasing everything might make things worse for yourself in the long run? 

That’s probably true! But also: who cares? You’re allowed to have bad days sometimes; we all do! And if letting go helps even a little bit with getting over whatever made this particular day so terrible? Then why not give it a shot?

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2. Put Your Work Away

If you are having a terrible day as a writer, put your work away. If it’s an emergency and you absolutely must return to your project immediately, then by all means do so. 

But if it’s not an emergency, don’t go back to work until you feel recharged enough to tackle the problem at hand with renewed energy and focus.

Though it can be tempting to try and “fix” things as soon as they go wrong (or even worse while they’re going wrong), this is often much too short-sighted of an approach for solving problems in writing or any other creative medium. 

Allowing yourself time between projects will help prevent burnout from ever happening before it has begun; setting aside designated times throughout the week for working on new projects will prevent overcommitting yourself; 

Only taking on one project at a time will ensure that no matter how bad things get with that current project, there will always be another waiting patiently in line behind it

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3. Get In Touch With Other Writers

If you are having a terrible day as a writer, one of the best things you can do is get in touch with other writers.

Your friend who loves writing and gets your passion for it will help make everything seem better.

Your mentor or teacher may have some advice that can help you feel better about the situation.

A family member may be able to offer some support and understanding.

A therapist might have good insight into your problem, which could help lead to a solution for improving your mood.

If none of these options seems feasible or convenient for whatever reason, consider joining a writing group or club that meets regularly in person (or online).

4. Talk To A Friend

Talking to a friend or family is the best thing you can do for your mental health, especially when you are having a terrible day as a writer. You have to talk about it and get it out of your system so your brain can move on with its life. 

Even if they don’t know anything about writing or publishing, they will still be able to give you some insight into what is going on in your life. 

They may not be able to help solve all of the problems at once, but just by listening and being there for you.

They will help ease some stress from your shoulders because someone understands what’s happening in their life right now, even if only for a few minutes at first before moving onto something else later on down the road (this part comes later).

Overcoming writer’s block is crucial for maintaining a consistent writing flow. Explore effective strategies in the article How to Let Go of Writer’s Block Once and for All to regain your creative momentum.

5. Stay Off Social Media

If you are having a terrible day as a writer, it is important to remember that social media can be a great source of inspiration and community. However, if you are feeling particularly unmotivated or depressed, it can also be tempting to indulge in negative energy and distractions.

It’s okay to take some time off from social media when you’re having a bad day but just remember that not everyone on the internet is going through something as awful as yours! When I’m having an especially hard time writing or getting anything done at all, I find that closing my laptop and going for a walk helps immensely.

6. Read Something You Love

Read something you love. If you’re having a bad day, reading the work of an author who inspires you is one of the best things to do to bring your mood back up and get your creative juices flowing again. 

Reading something that makes you feel good will help remind you why writing matters in the first place, which can be helpful when it feels like nothing is going right with your writing. 

Finding an author whose style inspires you and reading their books over and over again will help keep your mind sharp for when inspiration eventually strikes again!

6. Get Exercise

Exercise is a great way to feel better. It’s one of the best ways to clear your head and get a fresh start in life. Try to do something that you enjoy, whether it be tennis or swimming, or running through the desert with a spear. 

Exercise is also an excellent way to get out of the house and see other people, which can be helpful for writers who sometimes spend too much time alone with their thoughts. And don’t worry if you’re not already in shape: everyone has started somewhere! 

Try starting small maybe just try walking around your neighborhood? Or maybe take up jogging at night while listening to some music? 

Don’t do anything too strenuous until you’ve had some practice but once you know what works for you, exercise could very well become one of your favorite parts of each day!

Not only does exercise help keep your mind clear, but it can also help improve how well-rested (and therefore productive) we sleep at night.* Additionally, studies show that regular physical activity may make us feel more positive about our lives overall.*

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7. Listen To Music Or Make Some Of Your Own

If you are having a terrible day, try listening to your favorite music. This can help you relax and focus, which is good for writers who need to get in the zone. It can also help you feel more creative. 

Music is often associated with positive emotions and memories, so playing it when you are trying to write might influence how positively your words come across on paper (or in Word).

One of my writing rituals involves turning off all sound as I write no TV or even music because I find it easier to concentrate without any outside distractions. 

But when I’m feeling very stressed out or anxious about something, sometimes just leaving one small source of white noise behind helps me focus on my work without getting distracted by other things happening around me (such as the dog barking or kids running around).

When I’m having trouble getting motivated and inspired by my ideas (this happens more often than not), listening to music helps give me a boost before I start writing again.

8. Pick Up A Book You Like But Haven’t Read Yet And See What The Writer Did Well That You’d Like To Emulate

If you are having a bad day as a writer, pick up a book you like (or don’t like) and see what the writer did well that you’d like to emulate.

  • Read something that made you angry. Is it because the author said something ignorant or offensive? Why? What could they have done differently? How can this be avoided in your writing?
  • Did any part stand out for its uniqueness or creativity? What was it and why did it strike such an emotional chord with you? Can this be applied to your work somehow?

9. Go Someplace Where They Sell Books, And Look At New Releases, Or Look At Old Favorites You Might Have Missed The First Time Out

If you are having a bad day, and your mind keeps wandering back to the long list of things that need doing, try this: Go someplace where they sell books. The booksellers at Barnes & Noble will be happy to see you; if not, try looking for a library or used bookstore instead.

When you enter the store or library, don’t look around for a second before going straight to where all the new releases are. (Unless you’re into that sort of thing.) 

Instead, let your eyes wander over the shelves until they come across something that catches your eye something that looks interesting but not too far out there.

Then take it down and flip through its pages; maybe read an introduction or two before putting it back on the shelf if it doesn’t grab you right away (or do so after reading one paragraph if it does).

Next, go deeper into your memory banks: Look at books that surprised you in one way or another when first reading them years ago maybe they were good enough to make their way on this list! 

Or maybe they weren’t so good but still have some lessons learned within them worth revisiting at another time? Maybe even take out those old favorites from college days: It never hurts trying again!

10. Write Down Good Things About Your Writing That Have Happened Recently To Remind Yourself Why It’s Worth It To Keep At It

This is a good practice for any writer, but especially if you are having a terrible day. Think about what has happened in your positive writing life, and write them down. 

It could be something like finishing an essay or short story, getting a story published in an anthology, or putting together a pitch for an agent or editor. 

Be specific about what exactly happened and why it was so awesome (and if there’s no particular reason that stands out to you, come up with one anyway).

If you’re having trouble coming up with anything positive to add to your list or even if it doesn’t feel like there have been any good moments lately think of how many other writers out there are struggling right now too. 

Maybe they’re even going through the same things as you! If this makes sense then start thinking about all those writers who have achieved success despite all their struggles and setbacks; it’ll help get those negative thoughts out of your head

Writing with ease can transform challenging days into productive ones. Explore the collection of 11 Tips to Help You Write More Easily to find practical strategies that make the writing process smoother.

11. Remind Yourself Why You Wanted To Be A Writer In The First Place

As a writer, you’re going to have lots of days where you feel like giving up. Nobody’s perfect. Writing can be hard, and sometimes it just feels like things aren’t working out the way you’d hoped for them too.

But I’m here to remind you that writing is worth it for all sorts of reasons! Why not take some time today and write down some of those reasons? Then, put them somewhere where you’ll see them every day (perhaps on your desk or in a journal). 

Or better yet: write down why being a writer is so important every single morning before work begins in earnest. 

This way, as soon as your brain starts wondering how much money could be made at another job with more stability and less stress, this list will jog your memory and remind you why being a writer is such an amazing thing!

It may also help keep those creative juices flowing whenever they begin to ebb away from their usual spot near the top of the tank during difficult times like these…


Now, you might be thinking this list is all well and good, but how do I know if I’m having a truly terrible day? That’s easy. If any of these things apply to you, then it’s time for action:

  • You have an overwhelming urge to throw your laptop across the room.
  • Your head feels like it will explode from frustration.
  • The mere sight of your keyboard makes you shudder with scorn.
  • Nothing ever works out for me! Why does everything have to suck?! This might just be the worst day of my life! (Or maybe not.)

If you are experiencing some form of writer’s block or frustration, then pause and think about what makes the most sense for you at the moment. 

The goal is to find something that helps clear your mind so that when you return to writing again later on it will be with renewed energy and clarity. Good luck!

Further Reading

When Writing Gets Tough: Dealing with Bad Writing Days: Explore insights and advice on navigating challenging writing days from an experienced writer’s perspective.

Coping with Bad Writing Days: Tips and Strategies: Discover effective methods for managing difficult writing days and turning them into productive experiences.

Making the Most of Bad Writing Days: Learn about three actionable steps you can take on days when writing feels tough, helping you maintain your writing momentum.


How can I overcome a bad writing day?

Dealing with a bad writing day can be challenging, but trying different writing exercises, taking short breaks, or changing your writing environment can often help break through the mental block.

What are some common causes of unproductive writing days?

Unproductive writing days can result from various factors like fatigue, lack of inspiration, self-doubt, or distractions. Identifying the root cause can aid in finding suitable solutions.

Is it normal to have bad writing days?

Yes, experiencing bad writing days is a common part of the writing process. Writers of all levels encounter challenges, but learning to manage them is key to maintaining consistent progress.

How can I stay motivated during a rough writing session?

Setting small, achievable goals, practicing self-compassion, and reminding yourself of your writing achievements can help boost motivation even during tough writing sessions.

What strategies can I use to turn a bad writing day around?

Engaging in freewriting, revisiting your writing goals, or focusing on a different creative task for a while can help shift your perspective and turn a challenging writing day into a more productive one.