Writer’s block is a frustration common to all artists of the written word. Some days, it feels like a white wall a yard thick is standing between us and the inspiration to get even the first sentence down, while on other days, the idea is there, but the journey to expressing it exactly right feels akin to slogging through mud up to our elbows.
For the Christian author, there can be a reason for writer’s block which goes beyond the common experience. I’ve come to realize that when words refuse to flow, it is often because the Holy Spirit is actively putting up a stop sign.
As a result of that realization, I don’t fight writer’s block as I once did. Instead, I cooperate with it. I lay aside my project in favor of worship and prayer. I ask the Lord to help me get His angle, and I rest from the work. That rest may be for a few hours or a few days. Occasionally it has lasted for several months. I find that as I leave it in His hands, He reveals to me a whole new way of addressing my subject. The seeming impasse melts away.
It’s really about good time management: I can sit in front of my keyboard, trying this and that for hours on end without achieving the desired result, or I can use that same time to sit with the Lord in prayer until He drops the right words into my spirit. If I invest the time in prayer, there comes a point when inspiration arrives, I know the Lord has given me breakthrough, and I go back to writing — and this time the words flow, because I am operating in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Now, I understand that some of you do not have the luxury I enjoy of writing part-time. My call to intercession is primary, thereby dictating that I spend more time in prayer than at my keyboard on most days. I don’t depend upon writing to pay all the bills, as some of you do. God understands your deadlines, and that you don’t always have days, or even hours, to leave your projects on simmer. Perhaps what He would have you do is to push your keyboard away for just a few minutes, and in that break time, ask for His revelation to drop into your heart. The important thing is to invite Him to speak, not how long it takes. He can solve your writer’s block quickly, if that is necessary for you.
There are various reasons why the Holy Spirit might initiate a block in our writing. The Lord deliberately puts hindrances in our lives so that we will learn to depend upon Him, rather than ourselves. He wants us to lean on His wisdom and ability, not merely on our natural talents. When we learn to lean on Him, the result will be better writing, writing stamped with His imprint.
Sometimes He tells me I’m not ready to communicate on a subject yet. He wants to take me through an experience that will make my topic a living reality. The depth to which we live our topic dictates the depth of authority our words will carry to our readers, once we finally write about it.
Blocks are often put there for the benefit of the people who will eventually see an article. God is into perfect timing. He wants to make sure our readers receive a “word from the Lord” through us at the moment of their need. So, the Lord might hold up something we’re in the process of writing, just because the delay will bring the release of it at the very best time for our readers.
I believe that many Christian writers are called to write prophetically — whether their works are fiction or nonfiction. Some of you have not yet been conscious of that prophetic calling, but perhaps even reading this post will be God’s means of releasing that revelation to you. If we will ask the Lord to use our writing His way, for His purposes, and then will relax enough to let Him direct the flow of what we say and when we say it, our words will take on a new anointing and a new authority. We will change lives and impact our world, as we release what the Holy Spirit places in our hearts.
I encourage you to let God guide you through that next bout of writer’s block. Place your confidence in His ability to use it for His purposes. And, as you lean upon Him to breathe His Words into and through you, may your prophetic writing voice arise for the nations.