April 08, 2013

Writer's Block Sometimes Comes With Four Legs and A Tail -- Elaine Ingalls Hogg

Thank you, Elaine--and helpers--for joining InScribe Writers Online as our Guest Blogger today.   

I've inherited a helper, two helpers actually, but only one of them likes to help me type.

When our daughter moved house a few years ago, she asked us to take care of her two cats, Angus and Alex, for two weeks.

Little did I know when I agreed to let these two creatures into my home that they would tug on my heart strings, but they did; tugged enough so that when Heather said she needed to find a new home for them, I agreed to keep them.

The two cats have made themselves quite at home in the last three years. No, worse than that, they've taken over my home and during the day when I'm in my office, their favourite resting spot is on my desk. More than once I have to move a cat tail when I want to type in order to find the keys. Some days, like today when I'm experiencing an attack of writer's block, I don't mind if 23 pounds of cat sits on my keyboard. Moving his furry presence with its pleading blue eyes gives me a perfect excuse to procrastinate.

Why am I procrastinating? Because the words haven’t come easily during the past year. I could blame it on a number of circumstances…illness in the family but that wouldn't be the whole story. Whatever the reason is for the words to be blocked, written words aren't the only ones that have dried up. If I'm honest, I hit a wall in my prayer life this week.

I have prayed the same prayer for several years now, prayed daily for God to take care of people I care about but because I couldn't see the answers, this week I almost gave up. I wanted to say, "God are you having hearing problems? Are you tired? You don't seem to be paying attention to my prayer. If you were, you'd have fixed that problem by now."

So for a while I’ve allowed the cat to use my computer for his pillow. I’ve despaired that the words are locked away, that I couldn't write and I couldn't pray.

Today, I read in my Bible where Gideon, a top notch soldier whose story has been passed down for many generations through the words in the book of Judges, also went through a period when he entertained doubts and wondered if God was hearing his prayer. He asked, "If the Lord is with us (me), why has all this happened to us (me)?"

I read on, interested to learn how such a man changed from questioning to becoming a man of faith, a man whose life story is worthy enough to be included in the Bible. I learned Gideon had gone through trying times. He and his people were in slavery for seven years. Then God called Gideon to set his people free. Freedom was a prayer that had been on Gideon's lips for many years but when God answered his prayer Gideon could hardly believe what he was hearing. He expressed his doubts to God and asked for a sign that his prayers had been heard. God didn't cast him aside because he needed his doubts squashed. Patiently, lovingly, God used a series of miracles to teach Gideon he was talking to a God who could be trusted.

When I finished reading Gideon's story, the writer's block that had crept across my fingers and stopped the words from flowing disappeared. So as I push Angus away from my keyboard, I'd like to leave you with this thought.

This week God has reminded me that answers take time; sometimes seven years, sometimes more, but God does hear our prayer and the answers will come.

Elaine Ingalls Hogg
Award-winning author and inspirational speaker
Blog: http://elainehogg.wordpress.com
Read Janet Sketchley's interview with me here


  1. Elaine, thanks for sharing from your heart. Many times we do have to walk by faith, not by sight. It's hard when God's timing doesn't match ours, but He is always right on time and always has our best in mind.

  2. You got me with the cat pictures :-) I love your two furry companions. I have a cat that likes to inhabit my office chair as well.

    Writer's block is difficult and "prayer block" is even worse. I appreciate the way you received encouragement from Gideon's story and then passed that on to us. Thanks!

  3. Elaine, I'm with Marcia when she says you got her with the cat pictures... stories that include kitty cats usually draw me in too!

    And, I appreciate you sharing how your meditation of Gideon's story dislodged the blocks so that writing...and faith...flow freely again.

    That's wonderful!

  4. Elaine, thank you for your honesty about writer's block and pray-er's block. I think we all face both at times, but if nobody talks about it, the lie of "I'm the only one" makes it worse.

    God is so wise in how to meet each of us in this place, and I'm glad for His encouragement for you. And for the truth you share: He does hear, and He will answer. In His time, and in the best way.

  5. Elaine, this is inspiring and I will remember to wait on God because of your thoughts on Gideon. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thank you. That question of Gideon's is one I've asked myself. Waiting on the Lord and trusting that He will bring about his purposes in his time is what I must do.


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