Don't know what to write? Key to overcoming writer’s block

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.

EXAMPLE 2: 35 IDEAS FOR TOPICS THE CHRISTIAN WRITER CAN ADDRESS

My friend, Tammy Dunlap, also offers useful advice on this in the post below.

EXAMPLE 3: HOW CAN A CHRISTIAN HANDLE WRITER’S BLOCK?

DON'T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE? Key to overcoming 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.

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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.

Ever wonder why the Bible is the world's most popular book?

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.

EXAMPLE 4: GUILTY OR FULLY PARDONED? BY JOLEISA (Creative Testimony from the Woman Caught in Adultery)

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.

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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.

Prayer:

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.

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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

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111 comments

  • Ossai Chidimma Linda

    I found this post quite helpful, I usually have issues with illustrating graphically, and reading here that it helps while writing, I will further research and discover ways to improve.

    • That’s the spirit, Chidinma! Go for it and God’s grace on your mission.

    • Ekechukwu Francisca

      This piece is really helpful ma. Realising that anything can make a great story goes a long way to put writer’s block at bay. The Bible happens to be the greatest source of topics to write about. Thank you, ma!

  • Isaac sopuruchi peace

    Ma, I am still confused to be honest.
    And how am I sure that after all these, the write-up will turn out fine.

  • Ejiofor Emmanuel

    Amen. Thank you for this advice, ma. It is indeed very timely for me.

  • Sandra Ezeh

    Amen, this so interesting, I will like to write too.

  • Ekwueme Victor Obiora

    I believe you ma. There are a lot to write but the challenge is the right language. Most times, while seeing a movie I use to take note of creative statements with the intention of writing on them but later end up struggling with the proper style of narration, description, etc. Thanks for explaining what writer’s block is.

  • Enukora Onyedikachi Blessing

    Very helpful tips. Writing Bible stories with their authenticity intact is an awesome idea. I never thought of that till I saw this. I’ll try reading my Bible more to understand what God is saying about it.

    • I hope you mean you’ll read your Bible more to gain greater knowledge of what God is saying so you can use it in your writing. Have a blessed new week in Jesus’ name.

  • Ezeah Jennifer nnedinso

    Good one ma

  • Chukwuemeka Ifunanya Abigail

    One lesson I got from this post is that when writing or rewriting the stories of the Bible, it is of necessity to write with the guidance of the Holy Spirit so as not to miss the particular message that story or passage of the Bible is trying to convey.

  • Amaugo, Stephanie Chidinma

    This post is very enlightening! Thank you Ma! Truly, the Bible has inspired most of my writeups especially versions other than the KJV. One of the major challenges I have with writing is procrastination, not even writer’s block. Most times, I receive inspiration on what to write about but I procastinate and end up writing nothing. Ma, please what’s your advice? How can I deal with procrastination in this area?

    • You require discipline. I think that seeing your writing as a call or ministry and every neglect of inspiration as disobedience to God should spur you to do better because it really is disobedience. Consider that nothing else is more important than conveying what God has for you to say and you’ll take it more seriously. God’s grace! ?

    • ONAH IFEANYI CALEB

      At times my problem becomes not just what to write or share but whether it will be worth while to people and in thesame cause bless them

  • Glory Oluchi

    Sometimes I feel like writing about a particular issue which I got the inspiration for the Bible but I am always afraid to start. I am afraid that I may not write well. May God help me

  • Azowue Christabel chidimma

    This is really helpful and informative

  • Ewenike Kaosisochukwu Bethel Pedro

    Amen.. Quite an interesting piece. I will heed to your advice, ma.

  • oforgu ifeanyi Augustine

    God the giver of wisdom.. heaven breeds inspiration. But by the grace of God we can boot out the block in writing…
    Time to knock on the doors of divine wisdom.. thanks

  • Nkan David

    It’s actually a good feeling to we students seeing you take great time to communicate with us in a well detailed post like this. But I have a question which goes thus, Please ma, how do I get serious in writing, with passion and love for it, cos am more of one who loves to speak than write? Thank you.

    • You need to write what you will speak first, so writing is indispensable. Read the post, “Writing is Central to Every Srea of Mass Communication.” It explains this better.

      As you read good writing, I believe the interest to write well will come.

  • Oihoma Jesse Onyemocho

    Thank you ma for the example of creatively rewriting Bible stories.
    God’s word is always full of new, deep and fresh insights. As we read it, the holy Spirit always helps us with new lessons.

  • Nwifuru Dennis Ogerenya

    This particular question “What can I write about?” has been the reason I don’t write stories mostly, but with this your explanations here, I have many things to write about. Thanks, ma.

  • Obiogwu Onyinye

    Actually, the zeal to write is always there but what to write and how to go about it poses a problem to me. The Bible is really a good source, thank you for making me (and all of the other students, of course) to realize it. I pray for the grace to read, get the story and put it down without deviating from the main message as intented by God… Thank you ma’am

  • Ugochi

    Most times I find it difficult to get a good topic. Even when I find one, I go blank.

    The Bible is a good place to start from. Thanks ma

  • Thank you for this ma. But I will be glad if more keys to overcoming writer’s block are given to us

  • Chukwu Joy Chioma

    I often feel this way. Now I know it is termed ‘Writer’s block’.
    In relation to this, how do I handle random idea waves? For example I’m in a gathering and I get writing ideas.

  • Eze Chinalurumogu Success

    This was really insightful. You gave illustrations where necessary. I’m really psyched about starting off my writing from where I stopped. At the same time, I’m going through procrastination and laziness. As I type this, I’m excited to start writing again but I’ve postponed it in my head right now. How do I overcome this?

  • Agbowo Emmanuel chiagozie

    I can only say AMEN to the good prayer.

  • I’m not a writing person so I don’t experience it in writing articles or stories however,there have been times when I try to write a poem or I’m in the middle of writing the poem and I suddenly loose inspiration or forget what I wanted to write about.
    Is there a different term for this or is it still classified as writers block?

  • Thank you ma.The bible has many inspiring topics to read.I have the problem of when I’m writing,i usually forgot what I wanted to write about. How can I resolve it?.

  • Abiayi Ifeonuchukwu

    One thing I learnt from this post is that before even trying to create wonderful imaginative stories from the bible,I need to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance to enable it turn out well and if I ever feel lost on what to write, the Holy Spirit is the right source of inspiration. Thank you so much, ma.

  • Adebanjo Adenike Rebecca

    Apart from praying to God to guide my writings toward the edges that needs patches, i think writings should be beyond the word of God because it is said that Bible is perfect and I don’t think what is perfect should need any retell. So many things is in our society that needs to be addressed though which one can put into writings.

    • My dear, what do you think newer translations of the Bible have done. They have retold Bible stories in contemporary language to make them more understandable to people today. Language is dynamism and I see some people quoting the King James Version wrongly sometimes because they don’t know that many of the words used mean something else in today’s English. Try reading any of the examples cited and tell me what you think. Bless you!

  • Odumuko Oluchukwu Victoria

    Very insightful. Literally anything can make a great story. For me I believe creativity breeds creativity. Reading other people’s work will inspire you on what to write. Thank you ma.

  • This post is really great to me. I feel am the reason for this post. Ma, you just answered my question by making me realise that any thing at all can make a great story it all depends on how I pattern my story. This alone has given me a boost and I can assure my self that am good to go.
    Contribution
    Passion also go a long way in making someone achieve his or her aim more especially in writing

  • Nice,I think this would help in my graphic work. And also the Bible is a good place to draw inspiration from.

  • Fortune

    Wow!
    This is really helpful. The desire is there to write but nothing to write about! I never thought of the Bible; Thanks ma.

    • Nwofor Gift Chinenye

      This is quite helpful ma
      My problem with writing a literary piece always comes from the point of view…most times i end up mixing up the point of views and then i forget what I’m writing about… more like I have a writer’s block.

  • Thank you ma’am for the tips !
    It is simple to understand but really hard to practice.

  • Aroh Anthonia Ifeoma

    I like the part about taking a step to removing those blocks by writing on Bible stories. It’ll really help, not just in improving our writing skills, but also our knowledge of the word of God.
    Those Bible stories are really interesting.

  • Sambo Deborah Friday

    This is a sure eye opener for writers both aspiring and trained/ professional writers.
    I have this type of challenge almost every time I try to write but by God’s grace, I will put in more efforts.

  • Ezeobi Chisom Success

    Thank you ma’am for the outstanding keys….And also the prayers.
    You also highlighted the importance of being intimate with God and getting inspiration from God’s word.
    I never fail to jot down all these points.
    I am blessed and inspired..

  • Oruma Nneoma Goodnews

    For the first time in my life i am made to believe that anything can make a great story.Wow.Honestly,I hardly experience writers block.I write mostly poems and half of the time i don’t lack for what to write.It’s unbelievable, yes, but it is true.I think it all boils down to inspiration from above.This writeup has really inspired me to keep writing because anything can make a great story

  • Adebanjo Adenike Rebecca

    Getting to know that the absence of clues on what to write is called writer’s block, very informing. Anything can make a great story, one just needs to start writing, then you can improve in the long run. You can get started even from things that happen around.

  • Chikwesiri Uka

    The bible is no doubt the best source of inspiration for any endeavor, even writing itself. Thanks for pointing that out, ma!

  • Thank you ma.
    To form a good story that will attract people’s attention… has always be my challenge but with your help thus far, I think there’s improvement.

  • Ajah Ugochi Agnes

    Indeed the Bible is a good place to draw inspiration from. That is where you see a lot of stories to write about. Most times I find it difficult to get a good topic, but now I know I can always rely on the Bible to help and teach me.

    Thanks ma

  • Igwe Chioma Esther

    Thinking of what to write has always scared me from writing but realizing that anything can make a good story so far the narration is smooth and engaging is worth giving it a trial

  • John Adoyi

    I’m always having things to write but to put them down s difficult for me. I wish i could help it or find contents that would help.

  • Am grateful ma for the update and education it helps a lot.

    • Victor Izuchukwu

      The stories in the bible can be of great help in giving a writer inspiration when writing.am grateful for this piece Ma?

  • Sunday Chenka Esther

    Writer’s block is indeed a barrier to writing.. Thank you Ma especially for the ’35 post ideas for the Christian Blogger’..Now I know that almost anything can make a great story ?..Value well received.

  • Amarachi Juliet

    Adequately arranging your thoughts or ideas is indeed a great problem, especially for a beginner. This piece is a big relief.God bless you ma

  • Sochi

    Thank you ma and may God continue to bless you for knowing the problem facing young writers like me and for always addressing it and making things easier for us

  • Ntiwunka Chiamaka

    Writing and knowing what to write are two different things entirely. Writing is a continuous excersise and one needs to be consistent and also choosing what to write on and the reception of it. It can be frustrating at times. This piece came in handy and it’s very apt.

  • Chibuife Isaac Chukwuebuka

    Thank you ma for this timely information. My questions have been asked and answered correctly. I need to take the bull by the horn and start writing now.

  • Writer’s block is one of the challenges I face in writing. Now I know that I can draw inspiration from the bible with the help of the holy spirit who direct us in what to write.

  • Obiora Miracle onyinyechi

    Not knowing what to write is one of the major issues of upcoming writers, thank you ma for making it easy for young stars like us to draw inspiration from the bible

  • Makwe Covenant Nkiruka

    Writer’s block-one of the obstacles and challenges writers face in writing. Creativity writing is actually a very difficult task to achieve. The idea of brainstorming,and formulating graphic words to suit the mental image to be created on the reader’s mind,is really not easy-going. But there’s this satisfaction and happiness,that comes after achieving this goal of writing. And as potential writers,we’re expected to overcome writer’s block and harness the creativity potentials in you.

  • Chukwu Blessing

    Well I didn’t know that almost anything can make up a very great story, so I’m always scared that people might not totally relate or understand what I’m writing.But after reading this I can write now without any doubt because who knows, my story might be the best you can come across .

  • Onah chiamaka Gloria

    Thank you mam for the clean and clear explanation, you are super amaizing

  • I have always have this writing fear but I find this educating, thanks so much ma.

  • Eze Goodness Mmesoma

    I find it difficult to write ,I can’t think of anything to write but with this steps I think I can really do something . motivation can come anywhere thank you ma for this.

  • Writers block can happen to any one especially to young writers but we need this tips to be able to put out good contents. Thank you ma .

  • Nwokedi Fortune Odinakachi

    A whole lot in Christianity! Never thought of Bible stories. I wouldn’t know if to say writer’s block is “normal” especially for beginners, but I know there’s a point where it just happens in the life of a writer. I write, yet sometimes I want to write but I don’t know what to write about.
    I see there’s nothing you can’t talk to God about still!

  • Chinweuba Blessing Oluchi

    Writers block–mental prison, coupled with procrastination is the major problem. And when I am in the right state of mind, I can’t seem to get the right words to express the emotions. After this thought inspiring post, I would be making efforts to write as the thought comes and not procrastinate. I say AMEN to the prayers.

  • Kehinde owoseni

    I just got out of one writer’s block and this was actively due to stress and other brain-draining activities.
    I will also pay attention to events around me since almost anything can be a story

  • Uchegbu Ogechi Elizabeth

    I have always felt am not a writer because new ideas doesn’t really come to me but after reading your post ma I try writing.

  • Onah chiamaka Gloria

    there was a certain time i Wanted to create a poem, I saw it as an easy thing, I sat down and was ready to write, but became tolaly confused on how to go about it, if people read this will dey like it?, Wat could give them that interest to read it up,,and so many other discouraging questions that was disturbing me,, but with this,,, u have given a clear solution to that…. I do much appreciate ma

  • Obajie Chinonyerem

    This is informative and helpful.

  • Ibrahim Mariam

    I find it difficult to outline and arrange my ideas into logical sequence but with this post I think am making progress, continue the good work ma.

  • OGBONNA THANKGOD OBIECHINA

    As a Christian, this came as a challenge to me, because i get scared when it think of writing Christian posts. Thank you for giving me an insight ma.

  • Nwoye Chiamaka Favour

    Thank you ma for this helpful write-up. I will put to practice what you have taught here

  • Amen, it can only be possible with God because God giveth all knowledge.Thank you ma

  • Onoh Chinenye

    I often have issues with writers block but this idea of using the bible as a source is brilliant. I’ll try to read it thoroughly and attempt this.

  • Elijah Akuma

    Every writer may have to really determine how and what they want to write about and begin; with time it becomes clearer. When one understands what he should be channeling his writing to, he easily finds the Bible as a powerful source of inspiration because as he reads it, his knowledge and perspective of purpose is brightened. Than you Ma for this post.

  • Ugwu Bridget

    Writers block has always been a problem but now I have a remedy; the Bible. Thank you ma for opening my eyes

  • Odey-Oko Victor

    The key to overcoming writer’s block is to realise that almost anything can make a great story – Edith ohaja

  • Zita Ezechi

    Wow
    The articles here are really helping me alot… This one in particular just made a positive impact on my life
    I’m grateful ma

  • Onyebuagu Onyinye Eleanor

    Another level of knowledge dished out on a platter. Thank you Ma’am!

  • Nwafor Cynthia Chinenyenwa

    I’ve been having issues with my writing lately but after reading this post, I think I can continue with my writing and also illustrate things graphically

  • Now I know that the Bible can really serve as a great inspiration when feeling lost on what to write. …thanks for this ma!

  • Okoli Ifunanya

    Thank you for this piece. I’ve always struggled with the idea that not every thought or idea can become a story. This piece has helped me understand that just about any idea can become a successful story.

  • Okwuchi Kimberly

    “Almost everything can make a great story” I didn’t understand this at first but after read the whole post and other comments, I think I get it now
    God bless you ma

  • Njepuome Nmesoma .O.

    Once again thank you ma.
    I found this post really helpful.
    Rewriting bible stories would also help in improving my writing.

  • Ekeh ifunanya Cynthia

    This has always been a problem to me,what to write and how to give proper expression of what I have in mind,thank you so much for the insight.

  • Josh-mba Amara

    Writer’s block also has a spiritual aspect. I never knew this

  • Ojobo somtochukwu praise

    I believe inspiration can be gotten from anywhere including the Bible. Somethings can inspire us to write. Thank you ma for this.

  • Soje praise

    Our dialy life experiences can also be a source of inspiration for our writing. Through this piece of writing, I have learnt to be creative using the Bible story.

  • Udoji Oscar Obinna

    Thank you so much for this advice ma,
    I find it really helpful.

  • Mamah Chidimma Jennifer

    I have never thought of the Bible as a reference when writing. I’ve always tried to avoid writer’s block by figuring the beginning and end of any story I want to begin, but I noticed that while the story is progressing, I become stuck somewhere at the middle.
    All in all, this piece is helpful. I can recommend it to more people

  • Iheme Akunna

    the phobia that people might not totally relate or understand what I’m write has been a stumbling block. But with these, I think am good to go. Thanks once again Ma.

  • ALEX-UGORJI ESTHER

    Key to overcoming writer’s block: the phobia that people might not totally relate or understand what I’m write has been a stumbling block. But with these, I have a leverage

  • Chinonyere Emeka

    I have learnt a new stuff today, the writer’s block. Anyways I also have a suggestion of an author who beautifully retells Bible stories in the most unique form ever, Francine Rivers, her books on Hosea (Redeeming love), sons of Encouragement (Aaron, Caleb and Joshua) and lots more. I actually have this leading to retell Bible stories in contemporary form, but I am still praying about it.

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