Fix Writer’s Block: Get Past It Using Your Nose!

woman smelling lavenderAre you struggling with writer’s block? I don’t really know too many writers who haven’t struggled at one time or another with it. It’s just one of those things. Sometimes you truly lack the inspiration to get anything down that makes remotely any sense!

I know of fellow writers who do all sorts of things to fix writer’s block. Some intellectualize it. “Are they writing from the heart? Are they on the right path or direction with the story etc.”

Others try things like taking mini breaks, working on writing something else, exercising, watching tv, listening to their favorite tunes, and the list can go on and on…

The real solution to overcoming writer’s block may have been right under our noses the whole time. Over the years, studies have suggested that certain scents such as lavender or peppermint may do something to lift a person’s spirits or calm a person’s stress. Yet a recent book titled The Scent of Desire by psychiatry professor Rachel Herz suggests that “scents can elicit an emotional response based on powerful cultural beliefs or individual memories, and our bodies and brains respond accordingly.” (Allure Magazine)

So how does this apply to our writing? Well, very simply. Now think about what you’re writing….

If you are writing an article, book chapter, etc. that relates to your childhood and you’re stuck — it may be a good idea to pick up a few things that you can smell and remind of you that time. For me that’s the smell of Love’s Babysoft Cologne:) or homemade fried chicken.

Or to make it even simpler, if you want to write about things that are happy, sad, etc. — then take a whiff of things that make you feel those emotions. If lemons remind you of your mom cleaning the house on Saturday mornings, singing loudly, while you laughed your head off — then burn a lemon candle while you write.

If roses remind you of the first bouquet of flowers a boy ever bought you OR that you ever gave to a loved one, spray a bit of rose-scented perfume in your workspace.

The key is to identify what those scents are. Sometimes we run across them by accident. For instance, I smelled a soft pretzel in a local store when I first moved back to the Philadelphia area and it reminded me of the weekly bake sales in my elementary school. That brought a smile to my face immediately because I loved my elementary school.

Whatever those scents are, identify them, and actively use them to put you mentally and emotionally in “the zone” to fix writer’s block and get back to the joy of writing.


  1. tracypepe says

    As a scent brander – you offer excellent and very accurate advice. The real key is to start smelling 75% of our taste is based on smelling and yet very few smell their own meal. We often only notice 1 to 2 aromas a day and yet we smell up to 10 000 daily – the nose knows.

  2. jayneaves says

    As a writer who for many years wrote extensively on alternative therapies, I can attest to the validity of this. Aromatherapy (particularly lavender and lemon grass) are excellent for lifting the mood and creating a calming environment to work in.

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