Several weeks ago, I experienced what is known as writer’s block. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s when a writer sits with a pen and a blank sheet of paper, or in this day and age, we sit in front of an empty screen and silent keyboard, and we “draw a blank.” We cannot create a single sentence that makes sense. Whether the writer is writing a novel, a short story or a blog, there is nothing there. The brain is quiet. The well is empty. The muse is gone. And for me, at least, it is the time when doubts open their ugly mouths with comments like “See, you weren’t called to write.” “You can’t even write a simple sentence.” “God didn’t put this desire to write in your heart and soul. It is you – your desire to be known is why you want to write.” And my insecurities and fears rise up in immediate agreement.
During this most recent time of writer’s block, I tried everything I could think of to break the stalemate. I would leave my current manuscript and write a blog. I would write gibberish in an attempt to release the muse. The muse was not impressed.
I read article after article on “10 tips on how to overcome writers’ block;” “12 tips on preventing writers’ block;”or “13 tips on how to “cure” writers’ block,” and so on and so forth. Every article had great suggestions and cures. Obviously, the composers of these articles had spent their own prison time in wondering if their muse would ever work again. As in most cases of suggestions and cures, some tips worked for me and some did not.
A few days ago a friend sent me a link to an article about writers’ block because he remembered my time of being imprisoned in mindlessness. I found the article to be helpful and I sent him an email thanking him for passing the link on to me. I shared with him I had found the best thing to cure my writers’ block is prayer. He answered me and said, “Maybe you should write the 14th tip.”
So here it is—the 14th tip: Pray. So simple, I should have thought of prayer and been praying long before writers’ block caused my brain to malfunction. In fact, prayer should be the first thing I do before I sit down to write, or anything else I attempt to do. That being the case, prayer should be the first tip–not the 14th.
Someone posted a message in the loop for American Christian Fiction Writers which said: “Where’s the best place to begin your book? On your knees.”
Why is it getting on our knees and praying is our last resort?
We live in a nation where society says, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” This attitude has invaded the hearts and minds of many Christians. We don’t need to pray. We don’t need God. We can do this on our own. Besides, when we do, it is our accomplishment – we did it all by ourselves. But, God did not create us to “do it all by ourselves.” He created us to live in relationships with other people and a deep, intimate relationship with God. How do we develop a relationship with God? By doing several things—one of which is pray.
When we go out on our first date, we want to get to know this person better. We talk; we ask questions; we listen. This is the purpose of dating. It’s the same thing with prayer. We talk with God; we ask questions; we listen. It is one way God has given us to get to know him. So if I want to know what God says about my writing, the premise of my book, or anything else that concerns me, I pray. I ask God and I listen for His response.
There is more to prayer than just asking for help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Don’t go out and tell everyone you know, “Edwina said prayer is only for asking for help.” God wants us to ask for His help. He created us to be dependent on Him.
Prayer is also for telling God how much we love and appreciate Him. Prayer gives us the opportunity to hear Him tell us how much He loves us. Prayer affords us the chance to praise and worship our Creator. It is a time of confession and asking for and receiving forgiveness, healing, mercy and grace. It is the perfect way to get to know God. And isn’t that what we truly need? To know Him and to be known by Him?
This is my 1st tip and my 14th tip (and all the tips in between.) Pray. Not just for writers’ block. But for all things. Surround everything you do in prayer.