Author Bob Hostetler

Beating Writer’s Block

Some writers scoff at the idea of “writer’s block”—that moment when the writer’s brain seems to freeze and the flow of words seems to have turned off like a faucet. Others swear that it’s a real thing, the bane of the writing life.

I tend to think it has more to do with personality than other, more objective, factors. Some are prone to it. Some aren’t.

Since I’m in the latter category, I asked some of my clients who have struggled with writer’s block in one form or another to share how they cope with it. Here’s what they said:

It’s helped me to see my creativity as a finite quantity. Usually I’m so full of ideas…but if I’ve been pouring into, say, freelance clients and my own work is constantly kicked to my B-priority list, writer’s block charges at me a lot faster. For me, writer’s block tends to snuggle up with burnout. Am I feeding my creativity with life-giving activity? Usually the answer is “fat chance” (Janel Breitenstein, author of the upcoming Zondervan release, Permanent Markers: Spiritual Life Skills for Work-in-Progress Families)

When I feel “blocked,” I save my work, turn off the computer, and walk away for a few hours. That’s when I take time to pray over the work and ask for a clear mind and good words (Cindy Sproles, author of What Momma Left Behind).

When I come up dry at the keyboard, it’s usually a sign that I’ve neglected some aspect of creative rest and recreation. Respecting a weekly Sabbath helps prevent this but I also pay attention to it as a “check writer engine” light and back away from the computer. I engage in activities I know recharge me creatively like getting out into nature, watching great movies, reading a gospel, or taking a long nap (Lori Stanley Roeleveld, author of Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus)).

Ever jump started a car by pushing it to get it rolling and then popping the clutch? That’s what I do to overcome writer’s block. Even if I have no idea what to write about, I put my fingers to the keyboard and start typing. Eventually an idea pops up and I take off. Muscle memory overcomes inertia! If that doesn’t work, I take a walk (Lori Hatcher, author of Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible).

When I can’t write new material, I edit what I’ve got. More times than not, it helps me get back into the story and write. If it doesn’t, I close the computer, grab some chocolate, and mumble these words: Tomorrow is another day (Michelle Shocklee, author of the upcoming Under the Tulip Tree).

When I’m feeling blocked, I take a 16-minute nap. It is just long enough to free up my subconscious and not too long to feel groggy. However, my imagination often wakes me up early with a plethora of ideas, and I can’t get back to my computer fast enough (Leslie DeVooght, http://www.lesliedevooght.com).

 

How about you? How do you prime the pump, so to speak, and get the words and sentences flowing again after a period of blockage?

 

 

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