Reminder to self: (for those days when the blank screen taunts me with its wordless stare).
First of all, don't be so hard on yourself! You may have temporarily forgotten some basic truths, so here they are again.
It's not uncommon to feel like the wifi has been disconnected and the words have fled your mind. It doesn't mean you should give up and hand in your resignation as a member of the "We Are Writers" club. Keep pushing through. There will be days when the words come easy but also seasons of drought where creativity and fresh ideas are hard to find.
Okay, but I'm feeling uninspired at the moment, and I need to write something!
I have a deadline looming, and it feels like I'm trying to squeeze grape juice from raisins!
Deep breath! For days such as this, here are a few reminders and tips:
- Use your notes app on your iPhone to keep track of ideas as they come to you. Some of your best words come at the most inopportune times, such as in the middle of a church service or just as you're on the edge of sleep. Don't let them slip away; instead, make a quick note of them for another day. Don't count on your memory to store it for you. Many great ideas have been lost in oblivion that way.
- Spend time reading God's word and in prayer. This alone can blow up any writer's block, for our time with God never leaves us unaffected if we listen and wait for him to speak into our lives. Keep track of the truths He impresses on your heart, for a double blessing is realized as you are renewed and given the words to encourage others! It may be possible that the writing wilderness you're experiencing has to do with the fact that you have not been watering your soul with the promises of God.
- Throughout your day, you are constantly encountering people and situations that can be used as illustrations of truths. You need to keep your eyes open for such moments. For example, the time when a bird flew into your window, and you had a front-row seat to what happens when you go through life not paying attention. Again, keep track of these little happenings (refer back to the notes app!) so you can share them with others.
- Read other author's work. See how they string words together that fire your imagination. Of course, don't copy their ideas, but their ideas can inspire your own. Use your experiences in life to colour your words. Let your personality come out in your writing.
- Go back to your documents and read through old words you have written. Congratulate yourself on the well-written piece and learn from the "what was I thinking?" ones. How could you rewrite it to make it better? Or maybe you could shorten or pull out paragraphs to create a new article. Your old written words can inspire new ideas.
- Keep track of quotes from well-known authors and speakers that resonate with you. If you use social media, create a sticky statement using the quote (always give credit to whoever the quote belongs to) and a photo you have taken. Use the free version of the Canva app for this. These quotes can also awaken your creative juices to new inspired words.
If you keep track of inspired words and ideas, you have material to prompt your next writing.
If you keep track of the many blessings and ways God continually pours into your life, you have much material ready to be shared.
Mary Folkerts is mom to four kids and wife to a farmer, living on the southern prairies of Alberta, where the skies are large and the sunsets stunning. She is a Proverbs 31 ministries COMPEL Writers Training member and is involved in church ministries and music. Mary’s personal blog aims to encourage and inspire women and advocate for those with Down Syndrome, as their youngest child introduced them to this extraordinary new world. For more inspiration, check out Joy in the Small Things https://maryfolkerts.com/