Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Writer's Block

Writer's block is not a writer's friend but seems anyway to be a constant companion, standing just off to the side waiting for the opportunity to assert itself when the writer hesitates for one moment. Another constant companion to the writer is the mean editor that lives in her mind, taunting her with harsh, deprecating criticism. I am convinced that these two - Mr. Block and Ms. Editor - constantly plot and scheme together, determined to paralyze the writer, rendering her useless. Why would they do that? Well, I can think of no explanation except that they are minions of Satan himself...ok, maybe not. In any case, in March of 2006 I wrote the blog post that follows. I was fighting them then, as I am now and have hundreds of times in the interim. Knowing it's just part of the writer's life doesn't make it any easier!

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I’ve been stuck in limbo. My desire to write has not subsided, but every time I try I can do nothing but stare at the white page on the screen. I have no good ideas, let alone the words to express them. It’s been almost a month and I’ve tried many things. Here’s what doesn’t work:

Eating chocolate while trying to write. While it does raise my serotonin levels so I feel more alive and confident, it also requires me to remove my hands from my keyboard for a few moments. Bad idea because if I stop even for a second, I start re-reading. Then the perfectionist editor that lives in my head gets out the red pen and I need so much more chocolate just to combat her negative criticism. Oh, and my hubby doesn’t like chocolate fingerprints on the computer desk.

Taking on a project with a deadline. Especially if said project happens to be neither interesting nor well-paying. What made me think that forcing myself to write something I am indifferent about would make my creative energy flow?

Being up before the sun. I thought that a dark world, a quiet house and a cup of coffee would do it. Suddenly it would all be there – a brilliant idea, the right words, and the ability to type extra-fast. Well, I figured out that I do tend to get ideas when it’s still dark but it’s usually 2 o’clock in the morning and I am not getting up. My sister suggested keeping a notebook by my bed to jot down ideas in the middle of the night. I think about it but then I convince myself that I will still remember the idea the next morning. I go back to sleep; I don’t remember.

So, I sit here in front of a white screen tapping my head much like Winnie the Pooh saying “think, think, think.”

I think I’ll try the chocolate again…

Saturday, May 1, 2010

God wants you feeling good?

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I was in Borders tonight doing some research for a book I'm writing... yes, yes, I'm writing a book (shh, don't tell anyone).... about living with chronic medical problems. Perusing the Christian Inspiration section - which apparently can be anything from finding God in suffering to how prayer can melt away your fat - I saw a yellow hard-back on the shelf entitled, "The Meal that Heals." The book was about how celebrating Communion on a daily basis has the power to make us well. It was very theological sounding and well-researched with lots of Biblical quotes and history lessons. My point here is not to argue whether Communion has the power to heal physically, but rather to question the author's conclusion that spiritual health and physical health always exist together. On the back of the book was a promise that the author would reveal the biggest barrier to physical healing. Spoiler Alert: According to him, it's unforgiveness, which goes hand-in-hand with lack of faith.

So here I am, getting ready to write a book about the spiritual benefits of walking through illness and I suddenly find out that my illness isn't about bringing glory to God; it's because my faith isn't big enough and/or I am failing to forgive someone. I had just put down a book by Joyce Meyer that said in the introduction that God wants us looking good and feeling good so we can best serve Him in this life. Excuse me?

Well, I'm not going to let Perry Stone, or even Joyce Meyer, tell me that God's plan for all Christians is to live a life of health. Yes, initially, that was His plan but Adam and Eve brought sin and death into the world. And as a result some of us - many of us - will face physical brokenness. I've spent 15 years trying to glorify God in my suffering and, honestly, failing miserably sometimes. But the Lord desires that I continue to try. He is weaving something beautiful out of my threads of pain.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

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