how to fight writer’s block: 10 tips on overcoming fear

Seeking Light, www.etsy.com/shop/canvaschild

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.

as i shared on Facebook recently, 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 outloud, 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.









28 Comments

  1. Love this, i struggle with this same thing as an artist/sculptor. thank you

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  2. Yes, I agree wholeheartedly and phenomenally with these tips and I understand your feelings and frustrations. I’ve been hiding in fear and writing for all the wrong reasons lately. I may print this list for my “office.”

    Thank you.

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  3. smiles…i like your tips….particularly taking the walk (in my case a hike) or playing with your children…that def hits the spot to me…

    i will add i think that writers block is a myth, or convenient excuse far too often…not to sound pompous…the same as how we avoid any exercise…

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  4. breathing this in, this too is light

    you dispel darkness here sweet Emily

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  5. Oh, I so needed these words. Such practical, doable advice. Thank you.

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  6. I love you Emily…Thankful for you friend…

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  7. Psalm 90 is my favorite, for ever and ever, amen. Of course. Lord you have been a dwelling place for all generations. Confirm for us the work of our hands and teach us to number our days. Love.

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  8. I needed these words today…all of them. Thank you for pouring out a blessing with your words.

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  9. This is so good. Thank you.

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  10. This is so wonderful, e. I find that when I remove myself from the picture the writing flows more easily. Write because you need to. That’s my belief.

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  11. 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.

    It’s all so very good, what you’ve written here, Emily. This one especially…Thanks for sharing.

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  12. “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.”

    Thank you for this sweet friend. This month has been one of shedding some things – some really good things – so that I have more time to sit in the light. And it’s making all the difference.

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  13. oh my what a god send you are. I had decided over the weekend to stop writing, out of fear basically, and my word for the year is FEARLES!

    I’ve been doing a lot of praying and your number 4 struck me,bc that is what I’ve been feeling led to do, stop reading so much other stuff, bc I’m comparing and feeling less than.
    Thank you for this sweet friend!!!

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  14. Emily, I almost burst into tears. I started a creative writing class today. I am already TERRIFIED. Then before turning down the lights I came over here. PROVIDENTIAL GIRL! Thanks for your words. I have read them from afar for years now. They truly inspire.

    ~Angela Reiley

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  15. Oh E. you are uh-mazin. Can’t believe I’ve lived this long with an “Emily” shaped hole in my life! This is good word for this writer-ministry-momma.

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  16. Thankfully, I’m not a writer. I’m a blogger. LOL And not a real one…

    You, sweetie, are an artist and what a wonderful encouragement this is to others and to me for its truth about anything in life — not just writing but facing whatever fears you may have.

    Jesus is the light, and whenever we place anything in His Light, it dissipates.

    Good word. Love you.

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    • friend, you are LIGHT in my life. you always voice SUCH encouragement to me. how i hope one day to meet you in person and give you a big hug. love to you.

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  17. oh. just, oh.
    and, thank you.
    love,
    steph

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  19. I have been empty these last few weeks and what a struggle it is to accept empty as a good and necessary thing. This got me to thinking about empty fields this morning and this poem popped out in the shower:
    I wonder whether
    the field
    that lies fallow
    for a season,
    envies
    the neighboring field’s productivity?
    Or whether
    it simply lies there
    resting,
    drinking in
    the warm sunshine
    as it is restored,
    grateful.

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    • i have been empty lately too, friend. i think it’s only when we’re empty that we can be filled. :) love to you.

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  20. Joy…joy just fills my soul …don’t you love how God loves us …how He sees us so deeply …sees our needs before we even know we have them. I love the new look….peace and love radiating from the inside out . Biggest hugs to you my friend

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    • Oops…still learning this iPad thing…this comment should have been on today’s….love you

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  21. Thank you for this, em. My words, lately, have been few.

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  22. This, your beautiful words of encouragement, I will hold on to them and draw from them lean on them, often. GIFT. They inspire me, em…they do.

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