Friday, March 15, 2013

Lent Day 28: Writer's block

Writers moan about being blocked. About words vanishing as they think about what to capture on the screen or paper. About the empty-head syndrome that baffles and frustrates them, keeping them from good work.

Each career choice has its own version of writer's block:
  • Violinists get carpal tunnel syndrome. 
  • Composers can't hear the music.
  • Secretaries think they'll lose their mind if they have to write up one more meeting.
  • Construction workers have joints freeze up and have to wait for healing.
  • Pastors experience burnout and need a sabbatical.
  • Doctors lose interest in staying current with research and dread the arrival of patients.
 How do you cope when you feel dead in your tracks?
  1. Stop, withdraw, or step back. Don't try to push past the physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional obstacles. Examine how you got into this state of mind or body.
  2. Think about the last time you rested. Have you been pushing yourself beyond reasonable limits? 
  3. Build in a sabbath routine. Even while you're paused, design a day a week that belongs to you for building relationships and spiritual rejuvenation. God insisted that His people rest one day a week. Jesus did it. Why would we need to be more busy or more focused than He? During my dissertation process, I took one day a week for a complete writing break. I'd return to work after space to relax. My mind was clearer, my thoughts more organized, and writing went quicker after the break.
  4. Establish a realistic schedule. God does not plant and gift us with unrealistic expectations. He doesn't demand a 14-hour workday: why should we?
  5. Emphasize the life-giving aspects of your work. Do you love to interact with people? Does a brick perfectly mortared give you great satisfaction? Does a carving beautifully crafted make your heart sing? You may still have to haul out the cleaning materials, wipe away the mess, and churn out reports. But focusing on the best parts makes the less interesting things more bearable.
  6. Keep learning. Refine what you know. Hone your skills. Pay attention to new developments. You might even want to train for another job that suits you better.
  7. Pay attention to things that unblock you and give you energy. That way, you can keep refreshing yourself to prevent such blockages in the future.
From "Real Simple"

What do you remember most from the last time you had a "block?"

Read more:
*Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. Psalm 119:50 NLT

*If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? Psalm130:3 NLT

*In Jesus Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 1:7 NLT

Moravian Prayer: Gracious God of new beginnings, there are times when the deep pains of life overwhelm us. Help us to hear anew your invitation to release our distress to your gentle Spirit, which offers love, forgiveness, and life anew. Amen.

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