Just Write: Building Stories out of Writer’s Block

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

Comments

  1. says

    Thank that helped, I can definately relate with the checking the dog bowl thing. One thing that has helped me when I hit writer’s block, is I just jump up and pace around my room and pray.

  2. says

    Matt,

    Well said, my friend! Often we write what we think is our story, then realize that God has been in control all along, and the story, thankfully, turns out to be His.

    Blessings,
    Deb

  3. says

    “And if you ever find yourself on the corner of Writer’s Block and Main, take a write.”

    That’s so good, I may sticky note it to my desk. Thanks for the pep talk. :)

  4. says

    Thank you Matt. I like and will use the legal pad strategy. Breaking it down to reach small goals is great motivation for continuation.

    I heard a Bible teacher this week talking about how God takes pleasure in His people using their gifts for His service and how we rob the body of Christ when we don’t use the gifts He has given us. Romans 12. It made me happy to think God enjoys watching me at my writing desk and brought home the responsibility we have in communicating His truths to all people.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. Kim Clarke says

    Just stumbled upon this site, (coming up to a year after its’ posting). As a writer just beginning, was much encouraged to read this. – Kim

    • Michael Ehret says

      Kim: Glad you stumbled in. Stay a while and look around. Would love to have you come by anytime and join the conversation!

  6. Cathy Spradlin says

    Thank so much for your encouragement. I have wondered if there is a help for Christian writers. I will use your tips, I’ve taken a writing course, but haven’t had the courage to send out any writings. Thanks again, Cathy

  7. Brittany Lyons says

    This is great. I love it. I had writer’s block a few weeks ago and ended up writing a poem about writer’s block.

    :)

    • Ellen Andersen says

      “I had writers’ block a couple weeks ago and ended up writing a poem about writers’ block!” What a great line! And a great way to get the writing ball rolling again.

  8. Septime Nyandwi says

    Thank you so much. I have been trying to overcome that disorder, but in vain. I think that I need to do the same.Write, write, and write. That is so right. You end up achieving something you have never dreamed of. That was encouraging. Thanks again.

  9. Becky says

    Matthew,

    After all this time the Lord is still using your words of encouragement. I’m just praying for His direction and doing my best to write something everyday. “His grace is enough, not a published novel” was exactly what I needed to hear right now.

  10. Peter Clapin says

    That’s most encouraging Matt. especially the reminder to stay focused on Who provides us with the desire and motivation to write.

    Regards
    Peter Clapin

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  1. […] “IF YOU’VE EVER BEEN ON THE CORNER OF WRITER’S BLOCK AND MAIN, TAKE A WRITE.” Matthew  Koceich from  a Christian Writers Guild blog, Just Write:Building Stories Out of Writer’s Blocks […]

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