Tuesday, February 18, 2014

When You Can't Find the Words

When You Can’t Find the Words
3 Tips to Break the Ice of Writing
By Susan Lawrence

What can you do when all the words seem frozen in an ice jam with no sign of a thaw in sight?

Try these three ideas. They’re not the only ways to thaw your frozen words, but they’re worth a try!

Carry a small notebook everywhere you go. Or, use an app, such as Evernote, which syncs to multiple devices so you have your notes wherever you are (and always have them backed up). Look around and notice everyday details. Writers don’t just write when they’re sitting in front of the screen. They write all the time, one word at a time. Good writers are good observers. Take notice, write key words and phrases, and check your notes often. You’ll find many of the ideas and illustrations you need surround you every day.

Tell a story. Make a list. We can get stuck on a particular article or chapter, but when we’re stuck, we simply need to start writing something…anything! If you’re stuck on a nonfiction article, write a story, any story, perhaps about a childhood experiences or parenting mishap. If you’re stuck in fiction, try something removed from storytelling. It can be a simple list of words that start with “r” or a brainstorm session of six-letter words. It can be a practical list to help you get organized or a list of frustrations you experience when you can’t write!

Pack up and move. You don’t have to pack up your belongings and hire a moving company, but you may need to pack up your thoughts and move to another location. It might be as simple as taking your laptop to a coffee shop, but you might leave your laptop in the car and literally move, such as taking a walk or riding a bike. Soak in the natural noises around you or play your favorite “get moving” music. Be sure to have a notebook or voice app available so you can record your thoughts and observations.
Every writing project gets done one word at a time, so don’t get discouraged when the easy flow of words doesn't come to you. Start with a single word. Then put one word in front of another, and soon you’ll be swimming in sentences!

“Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." ~ Isaiah 43:19 (NASB)

Susan Lawrence is a women’s ministry consultant who also partners with women with writing goals. She speaks around the country, has written multiple Bible studies and devotionals, and blogs daily. If you’d like to start a conversation with her about your writing goals or other ministry needs, connect with her on PurePurpose.org.


Susan Stitch said...

Thanks for the great advice. I didn't know about evernote and I just downloaded it! I may just have to keep a photo of the alphabet in front of me and cross off each letter as I brainstorm words. Love your encouraging approach.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Susan!