Have you ever been sitting there, waiting for the perfect New York Times bestseller idea – but your muse is silent and your well of creativity is drier than the Sahara?
I learned a great lesson during my Craftsman residency. Jerry B. Jenkins reminded us that as writers we are not called to make excuses. Especially, the biggie: writer’s block. I’m a school teacher. What do you think my principal would say if I called in one day and said, “Hey, I’m not coming to work today because I have teacher’s block!”?
Where do I begin?
That blank pad of paper or computer screen can be intimidating. But I need to just jump in and write. I pick one of my characters and begin writing a paragraph where he/she is doing something related to the plot.
Where do I go?
I must admit, I have AWD – Attention Writing Disorder. I finally get started on my day’s writing and my brain starts coming unglued. I check email, Facebook—even the dog’s food bowl. All while the cursor blinks and blinks. But, “I will not make excuses. I will just write and make stories!”
I found a strategy that works for me. I grab a legal pad and a pen. Let’s say my writing goal is 1,000 words. I write the number 100 on the first line another 100 on the second line and so on until I have 10 lines numbered with 100. Next to each 100, I make a note about what I will write about. I repeat until my mini-outline is complete. Then I write the first hundred and reward myself by crossing out the first line. This helps me stay on task and I get quick satisfaction as I meet the mini-goals.
Where do I end?
Don’t look for your worth in the outcome. Write the story God has placed in your heart. Enjoy the journey. As you write, remember that your real identity is who you are in Christ. His grace is enough—not a published novel.
And if you ever find yourself on the corner of Writer’s Block and Main, take a write. From there you’ll be well on your way to building a great story!
Matthew Koceich completed the Guild’s Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses. He and his wife, Cindi, have four children and live in Mansfield, Texas. Matt’s first novel, The Sending, is available at www.marcherlordpress.com