Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Writer's Block Happens, Here are 5 Strategies to Keep Writing

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

Back in 1993, just after being named “Writer of the Year” at the Mount Hermon Writers Conference in California, I contracted for my first solo book. My proposal had been accepted and I was so excited to put together all I had been learning about God’s amazing grace – the gift we don’t deserve and can never earn. 

Unfortunately, when I returned home to New England, I faced a blank page in my computer.

For four months. 

The enormous responsibility of writing my own book had paralyzed me with insecurity, anxiety, and fear of getting it all wrong. Fear of my words not glorifying my Lord. 

“Who am I to write a book? Everyone is going to be so disappointed…”

Ironically, all these feelings came for a book with the life-changing subject matter of GRACE. Which was exactly what God used in my life to pick me up and empower me with all it took to write that book for B & H Publishers back in 1995 – “Amazed by Grace.”

Are you facing writer’s block? Do you find it hard to retrieve all those stories and principles and teaching that you so passionately proclaimed as you pitched your topic and project? 

Or perhaps your world is so full of chaos and need and life complications right now that you simply cannot focus on the work of writing?

5 Go-To Strategies to Keep Writing:

Remember your why. Why are you writing this story? What prompted you to put together this particular piece? If you are writing on assignment, remember the relationships involved and the ministry deadlines to which you must adhere. If you have finally come up with something important you want to send out into the world, remember your passion for the telling. What God did for you, and what He is doing even now.

What exactly is this particular writing project—a weekly blog, a contribution to a compilation work, a stand-alone book, a speech or teaching series? Reviewing definite parameters for this piece will help you break the whole down into parts. Parts are much easier to write. Gradually. If this is an assignment, go over all the details you were given, and if you have questions, contact your editor before you move forward. If it is your own idea, be willing to review it from a different perspective for fresh insight.

Where can you go to spend some quiet time with God? To be silent and listen for God’s voice of encouragement through His Word. I have found it extremely helpful to “escape” my normal environment and go somewhere with no or few responsibilities pulling on me. A place and time to pray and lay before Him all my concerns, vision, and dependence upon Him for the right words to come. Ask God to still the whisper hisses of the enemy of your soul who is trying to convince you that you will never write again.

How do you restore that fervor and passion to get the words down on paper? The answer will be different for each writer. For some of us, the ritual of a hot cup of Earl Grey Tea (leaves, please) and a treat in a beautiful surrounding with lovely music can be restorative. Others take a long run on the beach, revitalized by sand and sun. Because the worry of experiencing writer’s block can actually tie us up in knots, getting outside for a long walk in nature, or taking some needed physical rest can be life-giving.

When the above four issues have been addressed, then it’s clearly time to get down to work! Go over your own book proposal and remind yourself why writing this is so important to you. Ask yourself the felt need of your potential readers and pray aloud that God will give you words that speak directly into their lives. Set up a writing calendar with appointments for each session, and deadlines for completing chapters. Writing is hard work, but friend, you are a writer.You can do this! I find that adopting a certain prayer (mine or someone else’s) for each project and praying that before I hit the computer, adds continuity and commitment to my craft.

Is there ever a time to stop writing? Yes. But I cannot tell you what circumstances are necessary to release you from a writing project you once began. However, God does lead through both dead ends and detours. If you stay in touch with Him through prayer, and with godly counsel in community, you will know His will and His way. 

And I’m praying the words that come will be for others’ good and God’s glory.

Writer's Block Happens, Here are 5 Strategies to Keep Writing, insight from author @LucindaSMcDowel on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 17 books and contributing author to 36+ books. Her award-winning books include Soul Strong, Life-Giving Choices, Dwelling Places, and The Courage to Write. Lucinda, a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and AWSA, received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs monthly for ‘The Write Conversation.’ 

Whether pouring into young mamas, leading a restorative day of prayer, or coaching writers and speakers through “Encouraging Words Consulting,” she is energized by investing in people of all ages. As a communications teacher, she co-directs “reNEW – spiritual retreat for writers & speakers” and has served on the faculty of Speak Up Conference, Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Florida Christian Writers Conference, Asheville Christian Writers Conference, and She Writes for Him. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, McDowell shares words from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at WWW.LUCINDASECRESTMCDOWELL.COM

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