stephen king describes writer’s block as a physical sickness, something that violently overtakes him if he even tries to approach the keyboard and i’ve never experienced this. no, but i’ve experienced fear, and encounter it on a daily basis. the kind that questions, “will people read this? will people like me after they read this? what if…?”
i don’t know that fear ever disappears. but i know there comes a point when it no longer controls us.
i wonder if it isn’t like the light overtaking the dark? the dark doesn’t disappear–it’s just emptied of its power. and i wonder if it isn’t the same with fear. i wonder if God just comes and empties fear of its power, but first, we have to invite him in. in the same way that we have to pull the curtains to let morning flood the living room with its tattered carpet and wine glasses leftover from the night before and the library book splayed on the armchair.
we have to open up the curtains in our office, too, or wherever we work, and let the light in, before we can write again. before we can become emptied of ourselves and filled with him. The Word.
and if the post doesn’t come, if the article doesn’t write itself, if the story is dull and listless, then maybe you need to need to spend some time just sitting in the light. maybe you’re so full of fear that it will take awhile before your body is emptied of it all, and ready to receive inspiration.
following are ten tips that i find help me when the fear just won’t shake, when the light reveals more than i wanted it too–that wine stain on the carpet which the dark had hidden. and i hope maybe they might help you, too.
1. read psalm 90 out-loud, and slowly, and make it your prayer, your mantra. “teach us to number our days aright, Lord, and establish the works of our hands. establish the works of our hands.”
2. google your favorite artist, and spend time meditating on the colors and images, or, if you don’t live in the bloonies like i do, visit a live gallery and soak in the beauty of humanity’s genius.
3. don’t read other people’s blogs. you’ll only compare yourself to them, and feed the fear. instead, turn off the computer and pick up a dog-eared novel or a compilation of poetry and lose yourself in the art of words.
4. take a walk, and with every footstep thank God for something in your life. it’s a walk that will lead you home.
5. whether or not you’re artistic, DO something creative that doesn’t involve writing. pick up a paintbrush. do a paint by number, or just spread color on canvas. make a collage. strum a song on the guitar.
6. play with a child, and remember what it was like when you were young and fearless.
7. turn on some of your favorite music, close your eyes, and let yourself be carried away by the spirit of the song.
8. ask yourself why you’re writing. is it for yourself? is it for others? or is it for Jesus?
9. ask yourself who you’re writing to: who is in your audience? your readership? and how can you minister to them?
10. dedicate your blog, your book, your articles, your writing, to God and ask him to pull the blinders from your eyes and the fear from your heart, to release his words into your mind, so that you can be a vessel for his message.
once you’ve sat in the light, once you’ve followed these tips, once you’ve taken care of yourself, then march to that computer and turn it on and open up a Word document and just start to write. don’t write anything specific. just write. and as the words begin to flow, your mind and heart will relax and you’ll reconnect with the joy that is writing. and that, my friends, is when you’ll know that the fear is gone. emptied of its power. and that the light has won.