Laptop open before me, I gaze at the blinking black cursor--the only mark on the otherwise blank screen. My eyes begin to glaze over, and the minutes tick by. Blinking, I lean my head back and squint at the ceiling, as though ideas will drop from above if I stare hard enough. Attention once more on the screen before me, I type the title at the top of the page. Iím stalled out and I know it. I try out fonts, managing to forget my pathetic plight for a minute, but suddenly the blinking cursor catches my attention once more, and I stare hopelessly at the accusatory whiteness of the blank screen before me.
Definitions differ, but Merriam-webster.com defines "writerís block" as, "A psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece of writing." Every writer experiences "going nowhere" at one time or another in their career. Suggestions, solutions, quick fixes and answers abound. But, not much is said from a Christian perspective. As a Christian writer, the following "10 Steps to Getting Back In Gear Again" will help you the next time your writing is broken down on the side of the road, whether you're a newbie, who is not yet published, or an established author.
1. Begin with prayer. You may be able to turn a phrase with the best of them, but it's essential you ask God where He wants you to go with this vehicle.
2. Spend time in the Word. Notwithstanding its literary excellence, the main goal in reading the Bible is to get the road map--direction--from God.
3. Ask yourself, "What am I trying to cause my readers to do?" Years ago a favorite Bible Study leader used the acronym TCMAT ("To Cause My Audience To: _____"), to help focus her writing and speaking. She taught future leaders to, in three short sentences, state what they desired their audience to do as a direct result of what was said or written (be it an outward action, or an inward response).
4. Go back to the basics. Write an introduction, three points and a conclusion. Or answer the 5 Wís and an H. In other words, go back to the basics of "Writing 101".
5. Read what others have written on your intended subject. Reading others' writing may spark ideas for you.
6. Get up and do something active. It is a well known fact that exercise stimulates endorphins in the brain. A change of scenery and activity will allow your mind to change gears, so that instead of spinning your wheels, you can get going again when you return to your writing.
7. Start writing! Anything. It doesnít have to be great, but put words on the page or screen. Youíve heard the saying, "You canít steer a parked car." The steering wheel of a car is almost impossible to move when the ignition is turned off. Don't become "locked up" like that steering wheel. Start writing--put the key in the ignition and start the engine, so the "steering wheel" of your creativity can move.
8. Take your loved ones along for the ride. Humble yourself and ask for ideas and prayer from those closest to you, your family. Let them support you and they might be the source of some of your most creative ideas.
9. Fast and pray for inspiration. If you have a deadline looming and no inspiration forthcoming, try fasting and prayer. Perhaps God's allowed you to sit on the side of the road in order to spend extended time with you and teach you, allowing your writing to go to places you'd never dreamed of before. One of His purposes in humbling circumstances is to give us more grace. "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5 KJV) A fast produces greater spiritual sensitivity, but there are other benefits, as well, such as a heightened ability to concentrate.
10. Commit your work to the Lord, knowing that when you do get in gear again, itís His Spirit that enables the vehicle of your writing to change lives and bring forth fruit. It is not your talent that He wants, but your availability. Get out of the driver's seat, commit the driving to Him, and trust Him to put you in gear again, giving you the words which will bring forth fruit and change lives.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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