Dear American Girl,

I love to write, but sometimes I get writer's block. This question is for all you writers out there—do you have any tips for pushing through writer's block? When you want to start a story, how do you get inspired?
-At a loss for words

Here's your advice:

When I'm writing a story, I remind myself that this is only a first draft. It doesn't matter if I mess up because I can always go back and fix it. If I don't put so much pressure on myself, usually my writer's block disappears.
-Heather, age 12, Georgia

If you're writing a narrative, think of a funny conversation that you've had with a friend or family member, and write about it. Sometimes your own experiences are the best source for stories.
-Krupa, age 8, Pennsylvania

I take a notebook with me wherever I go. When my family and I went to Paris, I brought my notebook and wrote down tons of story ideas.
-Eliza, age 10, California

When I have writer's block, I take a break. You could get a glass of water, curl up in your favorite chair, rest your eyes, and brainstorm. Just let your creative juices flow.
-Kaitlyn, age 13, Pennsylvania

Go for a walk, take in the nature scenes, and then write about the amazing things you saw.
-Kasey, age 12, Kentucky

My friend and I wrote a story together. I would write a chapter and e-mail it to her, and then she'd add a chapter. Writing with a friend was fun—and a lot easier, too!
-Rose, age 13, Texas

I write about my own experiences. If I've been bullied, I write a story about a girl who has been bullied. If I didn't do as well on a test as I wanted to, I write about a character who gets a low grade, too. Sometimes as I write the story, I come up with solutions for my real-life problems.
-Lucy, age 11, Massachusetts

When I get writer's block, I like to listen to music. The music relaxes my mind and helps me think more clearly.
-Kayli, age 12, Florida

Curing writer's block is as simple as looking out your window. Look around your yard or neighborhood. Is your dog doing something funny outside? Write a story about him talking to a squirrel. Is one of your neighbors watering her garden? Maybe she's a spy in disguise! I get writer's block sometimes, too, but this trick always helps me.
-Erin, age 13, Louisiana

I love to write, so I know all about writer's block. Take a look at your old stories. Are there any stories that you can write sequels to? For example, if you wrote a story about a girl who adopts a puppy, your next story could be about the girl entering her dog in an agility contest. Good luck!
-Olive, age 11, Maine

To get inspiration for stories, I like to look at magazines. Pictures of places around the world help me come up with settings, and seeing people gives me ideas for characters.
-Annie, age 12, New Jersey

Sometimes I get completely stuck when I'm writing a story. How do I get new ideas? Dreams! I take ideas from my dreams and turn them into stories. My dreams are usually pretty funny, so they are great material for writing stories.
-Allison, age 13, Idaho

When you've run out of ideas for a story, show it to a parent or friend. He or she might be able to help you think about what should happen next in the story and offer other advice. Don't feel shy about asking others for help. Even professional writers have confidants who help them with their stories.
-Gloria, age 10, Illinois

Sometimes when I write a story, I like to take an experience from my life and exaggerate it. Say I was about to go to Mount Rushmore on vacation. I might pretend that my family and I got on the wrong flight and ended up going to Paris instead! Then I would describe the adventures we would have. It's a fun way to write.
-Nicole, age 12, Louisiana

My writing teacher gave me great advice. Read books and stories by authors you admire. After I read powerful writing, I always try to write like that author. This might inspire you to write, too!
-Cari, age 11, Minnesota

When I get stuck, I do something called "stream of consciousness" writing. That means that I just write and write without stopping or giving the words too much thought. Just write whatever pops into your head.
-Sophia, age 10, New Jersey

It helps to organize your thoughts before writing a story. What is the main character's name? What problem do you want her to encounter? What does she look like? Where does she live? Answering all of these questions ahead of time can help you fill in the holes of your story. Hope this helps!
-Hannah, age 12, California

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