Been one of those kinds of weeks. Stuff happening but still had plenty of time to write for this week’s topic. Only problem was, I couldn’t come up with a thing. Had several good thoughts, but couldn’t get them to form into a cohesive idea. The blank screen stared back at me, daring me to make the attempt.
I’ve read what other writers have suggested for dealing with writers block. Lots of good ideas. But I’m going to suggest a couple of simple things which are not so much tips or tricks as attitudes.
Yesterday was one of my senior adult ministry weekends, and I spoke on Matthew 26, when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He didn’t want to face what was coming but did so anyway. He knew it was His Father’s will, and He knew what it meant for us. He just did it.
We need the same attitude when it comes to our writing. I know it’s so simple, and we hear it over and over again, but a writer writes. It doesn’t have to always make sense or even fit the topic at hand. It just needs to be something written down, either on the paper or screen. I’m sure someone who studies such things could tell you how it’s like working your muscles or practicing a musical instrument; how you need to continue doing the same things in a positive manner in order to gain proficiency. All I know is that it works.
You may not feel like writing. You may be like me and not be able to put two sentences together in a way that makes sense. But write something. A letter, an email, a tweet; take something you are thinking and put it on the paper. What you write won’t be as important as the fact that you’re doing it. And you may be surprised by what you get.
Give Me A Break
I admit it; I’m a perfectionist. When I write, my inner editor is a mean, hostage taking task master who won’t let me get a whole sentence down before screaming about the need to fix it. And if I’m not writing, whether I’m having a bad day or just trying to come up with ideas, I’m tempted to take a guilt trip because I’m not. It’s a deadly spiral that easily kills any attempts at being creative.
Give yourself a break. No one is perfect. No one comes up with great or even good ideas all the time. No one gets all the rules right no matter how hard they try. You must allow yourself the freedom to fail. Doing so doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just allows you to fix the problem and move on.
The crazy part about that is that it’s actually a good thing. I don’t know if it’s just the nature of this fallen world or if it’s God’s way of teaching us, but many good ideas rise from the ashes of our failures, or at least what we consider failures. Nothing starts in pristine condition. It must be nurtured, cultivated, and polished. Perhaps it’s just part of the journey.
If you find yourself stuck in your writing, don’t despair or beat yourself up over it. Step aside and just write what’s on your mind. The freedom will do you good.