Overcoming writer’s block and the roadblocks of life

I don’t usually get writer’s block. Often, days before a column is due, an idea germinates. I play around with the idea in my mind before I sit down at the computer. And, if I’m lucky, the words spill out on the page.

Other times, I sit down to write without a clue what I will write about. And, through the grace of God, an idea springs forth from the abyss. I show up to write and try to remain open to the Holy Spirit.

When I struggle with writer’s block, I’m faced with two obstacles: 1) the pressure to write about a cer­tain topic 2) a lack of confidence.

If I impose a topic upon myself because I think it worthy, I may not know enough about the topic to write about it. I may not have enough pas­sion for the topic to provide a strong point of view. Even if I put words on the page, they don’t feel authentic.

When I lack confidence, I hold myself to a higher standard than I am capable of achiev­ing. If I expect to produce brilliant work, I am defeated before I begin. Ac­cepting imperfec­tion and producing a “good enough” column embolden me to write.

Writing requires a leap of faith. It requires vulnerability and a willing­ness to squander time in hopes that time wasted on writing will prove fruitful. The writer must trust that even poor writing, with effort, leads to better prose.

In many ways, writing is like life. Sometimes we live with purpose. We have a clear idea of what we’re do­ing, and we do it with gusto, almost effortlessly. Other times, we don’t have a clue. We muddle on, and, through the grace of God, we eventu­ally see a pattern, the promise of a plan.

And we can encounter roadblocks in life, just as writers encounter writer’s block. Often those road­blocks are because we fail to live authentically and confidently.

When we pursue and maintain an idealized image of ourselves, we rarely discover our true depth. To be authentic can take a lifetime of struggle. Recognizing and celebrat­ing the uniqueness of the person God created us to be — including our flaws and weaknesses — is liberat­ing. We are freed from a crippling self-consciousness that blocks us from achieving our full potential.

Likewise, we can be crippled by perfectionism. We are reluctant to risk because we fear failure. If we lack confidence, we accept defeat be­fore even trying. Often, people who achieve greatness are not the most brilliant or gifted; they exhibit the most passion and perseverance.

Even if we don’t aspire to great­ness, we can live our everyday lives authentically and boldly.

Trusting in God and taking a leap of faith as I began to write this column, I hoped that meaning would emerge.

In life, some days we are unsure where we are going. We feel thwart­ed in fulfilling God’s plan. We allow our own insecurities and fear to get in God’s way. Yet if we recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit, try to keep our egos out of the way, and re­main open to risk, God will provide.