How to overcome writer’s block

Six tips from our senior editor.

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A blank page. The intimidating void. As a writer, a blank page is so many things. It is impending creativity, infinite possibilities and intimate self-revelation. It can also be a nightmare.

A blank page is the boon and bane of my existence.

Like Jacob in the night, it is often something I wrestle with long before any words are spoken (or typed), a blessing is given and a name bestowed.

Each day is like a blank page. Our spiritual lives, our careers and positive life changes are areas in which we seek improvement and achievement—yet they often remain the same year after year as we remain crippled by indecision and apathy.

Procrastination and passivity—like dragons protecting the treasure of inspiration, they can derail the greatest of intentions. Not only for writers, but for all of us.

Passivity can destroy marriages, families, churches and lives. Think I’m being dramatic? Read again what happened to King David’s family as siblings raped and killed each other and his kingdom was wrestled away. The active, giant-killing young man had been replaced by a guilt-ridden, hesitant monarch, and his family and kingdom suffered for it.

Deadlines keep us honest. Unfortunately, other important things fall off the wagon as we get the visible and urgent done, but neglect the invisible and internal. We can be crippled by doubt, barely functioning, as passivity grips us, yet still tick the boxes and appear like everything is held together. No-one knows our private shame. A dream delayed often becomes a nightmare.

As I’ve been thinking about these ideas lately, I’ve come to see that some of the strategies I’ve had to learn and use to defeat writer’s block, might just come in handy in the battle against passiveness.

So let’s strap in for Writing 101: How to overcome writer’s block.

Just start. Start with things you know before you tackle things you don’t know. It doesn’t have to be gold, but trying anything is better than doing nothing.

Have the right conditions, the right atmosphere. Be willing to fail and edit as you go. Learn and adapt. You can’t learn and grow if you never move and try.

"A dream delayed often becomes a nightmare."

Pray. This will help you find the right mindset to tackle any problem.

Stretch your legs, get some fresh air, go for a long walk with no music or distractions. It works wonders for inspiration, not only for writing but for anything you’re wrestling with and it will help you refocus.

Remain inspired. Surround yourself with new thoughts and sources of wisdom outside of yourself. Read widely, travel or talk to new people if you can. Try new things. If you fall into the habit of doing the same old thing every single day, it can cripple inspiration and hamstring your writing, your creativity, even your life decision-making. This is where TV (or YouTube/on demand services), social media and your smartphone can be so dangerous and damaging. While they are powerful tools and can be positive when used correctly, they also encourage passive consumption. There is a reason many games on your phone and videos you watch don’t display the time while you are engaged with them. They don’t want you to be aware of how much time you’re wasting.

Have the right attitude. Fear and doubt will derail us so cultivate an attitude of positivity and can do. Remember why you love or are passionate about what you’re doing. Love goes a long way and remembering the why of something helps you through the desert of how.

Remember that even in our waiting, we are expected to be active (parable of the Ten Virgins). We often don’t hear back from God immediately or in our time, but we have instructions, a vision and purpose that we can enact during the waiting. He left us the Spirit, who struggles to use our passivity but can work with activity. Your dreams and desires, even God-given ones, need your active participation before they can become reality.

So what are you waiting for? Maybe these writing tips can help you to make those decisions that can deliver results today.