Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

How spending time with your influences helps overcome creative blocks

Share |

It happens to everyone: Everything is humming along nicely with a project and then, bam! You have no idea where to go next. The words aren’t coming anymore, the ideas have stalled, and your confidence is shaken.

This is where it can help to step back and revisit your influences.

Is there a specific project or person who inspired what you’re currently working on? Re-read some of their work. Go to a museum to look at their art.

Or just go to a museum and look at anyone’s art for afternoon.

Reconnecting with your sources of inspiration can help you reconnect with yourself. Sometimes it just helps to get away from our same-old desks and same-old chairs and get a different perspective for a while. Writing is a marathon and sometimes you want to get off the course for a while.

When I feel particularly stuck on something, I like to flip through some of my favourite novels: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite, and 1978 by Daniel Jones are my mainstays.

Sure, they’re all different, but that’s why they all inspired me so much. I like to be reminded of their structure, their tone. I like to see how each book has a unique voice and characters and situations.

Anything that reminds you that writing is possible, that making something out of your imagination is possible, is good.

Who or what do you look to when you need to get unstuck?

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Liz Worth

Liz Worth is a Toronto-based author. Her first book, Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond, was the first to give an in-depth account of Toronto’s early punk scene. She has also released a poetry collection called Amphetamine Heart and a novel called PostApoc. You can reach her at, on Facebook or Twitter.

You can contact Liz throughout the month of October at

Go to Liz Worth’s Author Page