Got Writer’s Block?

pencil-918449_640It happens to all of us at one time or another. If you’re anything like me, you probably tend to experience “feast or famine” when it comes to putting words onto a page or screen. At times it is hard for my now middle-aged hands to keep up with my brain; and other times, it is frustrating to these same hands to have little, if any, words I can string into sentences that make sense.

If the season I’m in permits me to do so, I use the down times to invest in my own personal growth. I study. I read. I observe. I take notes. I connect with others. This helps me in several ways, but this one way is what motivates me most:

It allows my brain to rest and receive. As writers, we offer so much output that we need to be careful to prevent our own well from drying up. Without investing in our own personal growth and development through relational and educational resources, we minimize our own effectiveness in what we share through our writing.

Most of the time, though, I have some kind of deadline–whether for an event where I’ll be speaking, a blog post I’m writing, a class I’m teaching, or a book I’m authoring. It’s in these situations that I find this one tip helps me get over writer’s block.

The Power of Story

For me, it helps if I can quiet the noise in my inner world long enough to allow a story to come to my mind. It might be a story I’ve read or a story I’ve lived. Either way, there is much to be said about how story inspires.

Consider the following:

“We may live our lives in prose, but it is poetry that we live for. A compelling story can evolve into a narrative that inspires a shared sense of mission. That, in turn can lead to a long and great legacy. That’s the power of story…

As Geoff Colvin explains in his new book, Humans Are Underrated, we are wired for interpersonal connections and put more stock in ideas that result from personal contact than from hard data. Essentially, we internalize stories much better than we do facts.

As proof he points to research that examined expert testimony in a court case. The study found that jurors considered experts that had a personal clinical experience far more credible than those that merely offered an analysis of the relevant facts, even if they were shown that a data driven approach is more accurate. In other words, the jurors needed a story.

Stories are emotional and we are more likely to remember and react to them.”

(For the entire article, written by Greg Satell for Forbes.com, please click here.)

So, if you find yourself struggling with writer’s block, find a quiet place, or do something with your hands that you don’t have to think much through (chores around the house help me), and allow the story to inspire your writing.

As you share the story with your readers, there’s a good chance you’ll connect with them on a personal level in a way that facts alone–regardless of how powerful those facts may be–could never do.

Consider what Curt Thompson, MD has to say in his book, Anatomy of the Soul, in regard to story:

“When we tell our stories or listen to another person’s story, our left and right modes of processing integrate. This is why simply reading The Ten Commandments as a list of dos and don’ts has so little efficacy…Isolating commands for right living apart from their storied context is at best neurologically non-integrating and, at worst, disintegrating. This is why telling our stories is so important.”

Your story is powerful. Refuse to listen to the negative voices inside your own head that tell you differently. There are a whole ‘lotta someones out there who need what only you have the experience to offer. 

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This entry was posted in Encouragement, Writer's Life, Writing, Writing Craft and tagged , , , , by shelleyhendrix. Bookmark the permalink.

About shelleyhendrix

Shelley is an author and speaker who hosted Atlanta Live!-A Christian Talk Show on Atlanta’s WATC TV 57 for 6 years. She has been a featured guest on radio programs around the nation. Shelley speaks at various events nationally and internationally, and was also a contributing writer to “Secrets of Confidence”- a devotional book for women published by Barbour Publishing. Shelley’s first published book is entitled “On Purpose For A Purpose," which can be used for individual or group study and is based from the Book of Esther. Also available is her 31-day devotional guide called "Wisdom: A Girl's Best Friend," based on the Proverbs. Her most recent book is "Why Can't We Just Get Along?!" published by Harvest House Publishers.. Additionally, Shelley is also a freelance writer and editor, and has been published with Randall House Publishing and various other publications and blogs. She currently writes for Gary Chapman's StartMarriageRight.com, C4C's Blog, and TeamRedeemed.org. She is also the co-founder of Heart Smart - Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting with her husband, Stephen D. Hendrix, LAPC, CADC II in beautiful St. Simons Island, Georgia.

4 thoughts on “Got Writer’s Block?

  1. I find that it helps me to go to a different creative venue like an art museum or to go hiking and hang around God’s created work.

    • So true, Lynne! It was really something special to see first-hand the grave markers (here in my new hometown of Saint Simons Island) that Eugenia Price was inspired to write her series based on this area. She thought she was just stopping by the Christ Church Cemetery to visit while on a trip with a friend, but her visit meant so much more!

  2. I have had writer’s block for a year now. Actually, I don’t even know if it’s writer’s block or if I am just avoiding writing because the story I have written has soooo much needing to be fixed and I don’t know where or how to start fixing it. The ups and downs of writing haha.

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