Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pressing On - Writer's Block

Writer's Block
Philippians is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It is a compact book so full of deep wisdom and practical direction. One of my favorite verses in this little gem of a book is the last part of the 13 – 14th verses of chapter 3:

“… Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me …” (Philippians 3:13b – 14a, NIV)

Written by Paul around the first century, it still holds the Truth today. Did you know that Paul has a chronic physical problem? In his second letter to the church at Corinth, he tells them that he prayed for healing, but God told him, “No.” At that point, most of us would give up, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, he made a decision to embrace his weakness. In fact, verse 10 of chapter twelve says,

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10, NIV)

No, he wasn’t crazy. He was saying that when he reached a point where he couldn’t do anything (you know you’ve been there), that’s when he let God take over. And God would always work in mighty ways. That’s the prize that Paul wanted – the life that God created just for him.

And we can apply that to our writing life as well. We've all had a time when we "hit the wall." The dreaded writer's block can hit at any time. You know what it's like: staring at a blank page or screen, hoping and praying for just one good sentence, erasing more than you type. Not only is it unproductive, it's downright scary. All you can think of is, "What if I can't write any more?"

I've always heard it said that the best way to break through writer's block is to write. James Scott Bell sets a daily goal of "the nifty 350." He says that if he can get past those first 350 words, then the rest of his writing is easier. But he does press on to write that set amount of words, he doesn't just sit there.

And that’s where we’ve got to do, too. The prize that God planned for us is just over that hill of writer's block, pain, discouragement, or grief. So rather than wallow in what we can't do, or rest on what we have done, we need to start fresh each morning. We just need to depend on God, looking to His word and be comforted knowing that He will give us the strength - and the words - we need each day.