Christian Writer’s toolbox 101: Overcoming chronic writer’s block

Scripture reference: Psalm 45:1, 1 Samuel 3

Writer’s block. These two little words provoke very different responses from writers. Some shrug off the momentary loss of words by taking a stroll outdoors. Others turn to books, newspapers or read everything they can get their hands on until an idea hits them like a bolt of lightning. But what happens when those Eureka moments don’t happen over a period of time? Or when your writing doesn’t “flow” as naturally as the ideas that you’ve conceived in your minds’ eye?

Whether you’re the type who walks regularly or reads voraciously, I’m sure you’ll admit that chronic writer’s block is one of the most frustrating experiences a writer can endure. As Christian writers, we too aren’t immune against hours of staring blankly at our computer screens while we rack our brains for the right words. Many of us envy the Psalmist in Psalm 45:1 (TPT) “My heart is on fire, boiling over with passion. Bubbling up within me are these beautiful lyrics as a lovely poem to be sung for the King. Like a river bursting its banks, I’m overflowing with words, spilling out into this sacred story.”

How do Christian writers overcome chronic writer’s block? Just as there are writing toolkits, the Holy Spirit has prepared a Christian writer’s toolbox especially for you. After all, as children of God, the way that we seek after ideas and inspiration shouldn’t be similar to the world’s methods. Prayer is the first step in inviting the Holy Spirit to open up your heart towards new ideas. He is the One who promises to guide you into all truth (John 14:26). If you haven’t checked out my posts on lessons in prayer for Christian writers, you can do so here.

The next tool in the toolbox is to learn how to listen to the Holy Spirit. Be sensitive to His leading by being willing to constantly respond to His still small voice, even if He asks you to do something unconventional (John 2:5). It might mean speaking to a stranger on the bus or to write a devotional about Oreo biscuits! (Note: I’ve experienced Holy Spirit nudges on both of these occasions and have learned to be obedient through them.)

In secular literature, most writers tell of their experiences in life. I’d like to challenge you as a Christian writer not to settle for the ordinary. I’ve found that most of my inspiration comes from meditating on the Word of God and the glorious attributes of God’s nature. Scripture is full of word pictures and parables that we can draw upon when the Holy Spirit illuminates our minds to understand their meaning. He longs to give us new thoughts and fresh ideas that we might present His goodness to this perishing world. We can ask Him for a deeper revelation of truth.

Our writing should be shaped by the daily supernatural encounters that God has prepared for us to be a part of. A wonderful example of hearing God’s voice is found in the way the Lord called Samuel (1 Samuel 3). When the Lord speaks, the timing of when He speaks may not necessarily be at a time that’s convenient for us. God called Samuel “suddenly” in the middle of the night as he was about to go to sleep. This involves us needing to ask for continual sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. We must attune our hearts to hear from Him.

Sometimes, we don’t know if we’ve heard from God because we are not experienced with hearing His voice. The passage says that Samuel didn’t know the Lord because he never had a message from God before. It takes time to adjust ourselves to recognizing His voice. Just because you haven’t heard anything from God today doesn’t mean that you won’t hear anything from Him when you seek Him tomorrow. Notice too that the Lord only gave Samuel His message when Samuel responded with “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

What’s your response going to be towards God’s voice today?

5 thoughts on “Christian Writer’s toolbox 101: Overcoming chronic writer’s block

  1. I agree with Liz. thank you, Ellice, for always spurring us on as Christian writers!

    1. Initially, I didn’t quite know what to make of Psalm 45:1 and it’s relevance to what I wanted to post here. Since writing comes from the overflow of the heart and our lifestyle as believers, it’s just so important to keep a pure heart before God. I hope this post spurs us to take practical steps to encounter God in a supernatural way. Writing develops from experiences we have and I thought since we’re to co labour with Christ in doing the good works that he has prepared for us to do, why can’t we write about these experiences. Christians writing about their encounters with the Almighty God should be far more interesting than anyone else writing about the mundane physical world.

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