DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE? Key to overcoming writer’s block
Do you ever wonder, “What can I write about?” Do you sometimes complain that you can’t think of anything interesting to address. You feel you can’t come up with anything that will captivate your readers. This is called writer’s block and it can afflict even seasoned writers from time to time. How then can one overcome writer’s block?
The key to overcoming writer’s block is to realise that almost anything can make a great story.
It all comes down to how the story is told:
***How smooth is your narration?
**”How graphic is your description?
***How engaging is the conversation you scripted?
***How have you employed wit and humour in your writing?
When you handle the foregoing well, as you invariably will if you’re a gifted and trained writer, even the most common and bland subjects come alive.
To illustrate, I share the story (in Example 1 below) of what would otherwise be a boring subject but was animated in the telling.
EXAMPLE 1: STAY DOWN (SHORT STORY)
Also, the post below contains 35 ideas that a Christian can address in sermons, social media posts, blogs, etc. Each of these ideas can be further broken down into many topics as the post demonstrates.
My friend, Tammy Dunlap, also offers useful advice on this in the post below.
EXAMPLE 3: HOW CAN A CHRISTIAN HANDLE WRITER’S BLOCK?
Still Don’t Know What to Write?
(More Advice for Christian Writers)
Many years ago, my brother brought me some songs by a musician who built his career then around setting the Psalms to music. His name is Ian White, the founder of the Inspiration Orchestra. He has been dubbed the Psalms man and Scotland’s most influential worship leader by Cross Rhythms, Christian Radio Online. Beginning with Psalms Volume One in 1985, Smith released a total of six volumes containing 80 songs in which he attempted to capture the original spirit of the Psalmists and convey their feelings: frustration, joy or whatever.
The point is that he didn’t strain to write new lyrics, he just came up with melodies to sing the already composed poems/songs in the Book of Psalms. If I recall correctly, he sang from the New International Version and used simple arrangements since the Psalms as written were already imbued with beauty and power.
How does this concern you as a Christian writer? You don’t have to be a prisoner of writer’s block. The Bible is an extensive resource from which you can draw a never-ending supply of material to defeat it with. I’ll give you just one example of what I mean:
You can creatively rewrite Bible stories.
The Bible is the world’s most popular book for many reasons, not the least of which is its countless number of captivating stories: from biographies to histories, adventures, romance and lots more. You can retell these stories, giving them a contemporary touch, to make the settings more familiar and the characters more relatable to people today. You can tweak the language to bring in the vernacular or common parlance of your readers. You can take some liberty adding the thoughts of the characters where the Bible didn’t. Such internal monologues provide interesting context for their spoken words and actions.
Two of my blogging friends, Jo and Leisa of Penny Pinchers’ Paradise, have guested twice for me doing the foregoing. They rewrote the same story, that of the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11, first from the point of view of one of the men who arrested her, and second from the woman’s point of view. I share the latter below.
I also practise this creative retelling of Bible stories often in my own writing. Whether it is a portion of a story or a series of stories with a related theme, I avoid the broad strokes approach to uncover the deeper meaning in it. By contextualising a Bible story: adding colour to the scene (comparing it to today’s settings), building the characters as fully as possible and vivifying their interactions with one another, fresh insights begin to appear to guide today’s Christian. Sometimes I insert myself in the narration, reacting to the events I’m recounting.
Creatively rewriting Bible stories helps the reader to vicariously experience what is recounted, thereby illuminating the life lessons in the stories. And the very process of reading, praying over, meditating on and rewriting these inspired Bible accounts can so fire you up as a writer to keep writer’s block at bay. Stories where I have done a little bit of this creative retelling include the ones about the life of Rachel, the Passion of Christ and Noah in the ark.
Caveat: Do not attempt this except you have vast knowledge of the Bible and a close, personal relationship with God through Jesus, so that you don’t add or remove details that change the import of the stories and misrepresent the Lord. Reading your Bible through once a year and spending quality time with God will help you grow in the aforementioned regards.
Also, prayerfully choose what to write so that you will be sharing the message God wants you to convey on each occasion.
I believe you can offer more examples of how to use the Bible as a resource for your writing.
Takeaway: There is always something to write about. What matters is how you write it.
Help us, Lord, to flow in the gifts and calling You have bestowed on us without hindrance. May we fellowship closely with You so that we know what You’ll have us say and be able to say it with such unction that it accomplishes Your purpose in Jesus’ name.
Let me know your thoughts on the foregoing in the comments below.