Writer’s block can feel daunting. Those who have experienced it know how frustrating it can be.
The thoughts that follow have helped me fight writer’s block. I hope they prove helpful to you the next time you’re at a stand still.
1. There is nothing new under the sun.
One of my favorite books in the Bible is Ecclesiastes. I find so much hope in knowing I’m not the only one who, at times, feels like everything is meaningless. The Teacher (probably Solomon) shares some honest thoughts about his engagement with the world. One such thought is: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
On the surface, the words sound depressing. How could such words encourage anyone to write? I think the words are encouraging because, if nothing is truly new, I can let go of the pressure to produce something groundbreaking.
The content you write today will be written again by someone tomorrow. There is nothing new under the sun. Instead of fretting about that fact, choose to simply be faithful to what God has called you to do as a writer.
You can still write about the same topic as others while making a contribution to the kingdom. Your style is different from others and you have a different perspective on life. You may find joy in Christ through practicing spiritual disciplines where someone else may find it while eating a bowl of cereal. Your writing can bring glory to God even when your topic has been and will be discussed thousands of other times.
2. It’s ok to say the same thing multiple times.
We all need reminders. This is especially true when it comes to the truth of the gospel message. It’s totally ok to share the same message multiple times. There are more people who will not read your writing than those who will. Each time you share a message, the probability that someone is hearing it for the first time is high.
It feels silly to say, but I often keep myself from writing because I convince myself I can only say things once. Sometimes I simply don’t know how to say it any better than I did the first time. My hunch is, if you discuss something over and over, you will tease out deeper truths and say it with more clarity. It can drive my wife crazy when I do this in conversation, but it works.
3. You are your biggest critic.
I’m really hard on myself. My self-criticism can keep me from writing for weeks. As a rule of thumb, I don’t like my writing but I love to write. I also critique my writing far more than others critique it. I’m guessing there are times when you do the same. Your writing may or may not be great, but if God has called you to do it, don’t argue.
4. In most cases, something is better than nothing, so just write.
Many times, you just need to put something on paper. Nothing helpful or edifying has ever come from nothing; therefore, write something. There have been plenty of times where I write something poorly only to revisit it later and realize it wasn’t that bad. Maybe you weren’t as fatigued as you thought. If you must, write something today and return to it tomorrow.
Tim Challies has said, “you can’t call yourself a writer if you are skilled with a pen but never pick it up.” You are not a writer if you have a million great ideas. You are a writer if you pick up your pen and write.
5. It’s God you’re serving.
We all need to remember that at the end of the day, it’s God we’re serving. Sure, we should be sensitive to the needs of our readers, but truly, when it’s all said and done, it’s Jesus we’re writing for. At least, I hope that’s why we write. Sometimes I question whether I truly believe it. That’s why I need to preach this to myself often. I’m far from being immune to pride and the applause of others. We are ultimately accountable to God. It’s Him we’re serving.
I hope these thoughts are helpful for you. I also hope you start writing again. The Church can benefit from reading about your unique relationship with Jesus.