Last night I was reading Anne Lamott’s Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, and I stopped here, where she’s describing the act of offering up prayers to the Wailing Wall:
“This is something I do all the time, shove bits of paper with prayers and names on them into desk drawers, little boxes, my glove compartment. I’ve found that when you give up on using your mind to solve a problem — which your mind is holding on to like a dog with a chew toy — writing it down helps turn off the terrible alertness. When you’re not siphoned into the black hole of worried control and playing fretful Savior, turning the problem over to God or the elves in the glove compartment harnesses something in the universe that is bigger than you, and that just might work.”
Herein lies one of the keys to overcoming writer’s block, I do believe. Release it — even if it’s imperfectly done. It doesn’t matter. So many of us writers get hung up on writing perfectly the first time, but that’s what the rough draft is for. More important than getting it right the first go around is getting it out there at all. That’s where we need to start. Better to write something, anything, than to merely talk about writing and then not do it.
And that’s where the second “cure” to writer’s block comes in. B.I.C. — three little letters that pack a punch. Though you might use a Bic pen to initiate the process, BIC is really an acronym for the key to the writing life: Butt In Chair. It’s simple, really. You just plant your bottom in the chair and write…every day…as often as, and however, it can be worked into your life.
That, of course, is the harder part — finding a routine, figuring out how to make it work without compromising other important areas. Those who really want to make this happen and not just talk about it will find a way. Put out of your mind any pre-conceived ideas of what a writer’s space must look like. Stephen King wrote in a closet, and when he did get the fancy office he’d always dreamed of having after success came to him, he found he wasn’t as productive. He went back to the closet.
I have a mother/writer/faith-seeking friend who has followed the above, and as of very recently, her BIC efforts have paid off. She’s now staring at a contract with a large publisher with the words “three-book deal” and pinching herself. And, she’s a mother of five children. In the near future, I’m going to feature her here as my first blogging guest. I have a feeling that what Jody will reveal about what she did to make it happen could be applicable to many areas of life.So stay tuned for that, and until next time, remember: BIC!
What are the ways you’ve overcome the blocks that have kept you from fulfilling your God-given purpose?