Confession: It’s overwhelming to write an article every week for the newspaper, especially when the writer has several lofty goals, like: The article is not a simple rewrite of a sermon preached the week before. Every article must be relevant and well-researched.
Honestly, though, it is so daunting sometimes that writer’s block sets in. I should not complain–at least one writer for the Rockdale Citizen submits two opinion pieces a week. I feel bad for that guy.
The truth is, we all have our moments of silence in which we ca not find our voice. There are times when we confront God’s silence and have trouble hearing His voice too.
Here’s what happened when I got writer’s block earlier this week: About thirty minutes of starring at a blank computer screen, I emailed one of the Citizen’s editors to mention that I did not have anything to submit for the upcoming weekend. I graciously apologized and explained that I could not get any coherent words on a page and that I would submit something next week.
I wrapped up the email with a blessing. Then I emailed my sister–an editor-in-chief in New York–about my woes. Then it hit me: Why not write about what I think about when writer’s block strikes like the plague?
Every week I hope to inspire, if not inform, readers, many of whom I know and meet around town. I believe in a “Creator God, creating still,” so I rely on a God who is an eternal source for quality, wholesome material.
Sometimes God is silent. Other times, I have so many ideas, no single one really flows well on paper. Take this Saturday’s column for instance: I could have addressed numerous topics.
One topic relates to the recent allegations made against Bishop Eddy Long. Subject matter: the abuse of pastoral power in light of the Prosperity Gospel. But do we really need another article about that one?
Then there was the Pew Forum results from the “U.S. Religious Knowledge survey” that came out last week. I imagine that my headline would have read like an apocalyptic threat, “Atheists Score Higher on Bible Questions than Most Christians.” Granted, among Christians, evangelicals scored the highest; just over 72% of questions were answered correctly. (So, nanny-nanny-boo-boo, Mr. Atheist!)
A third thing could have been related to a devotional-oriented topic from the Bible. You know: Something that included a good illustration or two, followed up with a Biblical insight, and then practical application.
I did something like that last week, though. I used a text from 1 Samuel to reprimand bullying in the workplace. It was a straight-up devotional piece, and to do another this week would not have sufficed.
Then there are topics that are things political (about four more weeks to mid-term election day, folks), as well as controversial. Writing about politics and controversy just to fill a quarter page of the newspaper for its own sake is not what God called me to do.
That begs a question: What did God call me to do for this column? Upon reflection, I believe God called me to simply tell my story about what it’s like to experience writer’s block. More importantly, He wanted me to share about the human condition–As humans made in God’s image, we too are ever-creating, but flawed still.
I hope that my confession will help you see that we all suffer from God’s silence once in a while. You’re not alone when you feel uninspired, and all of us have our moments of clarity as well as times of utter melancholy. It goes with the territory of being a writer; but, more so, of being human.