Writer’s Block, Revisited

Ever struggle with writer’s block? You know you need to produce something in prose, but you wind up staring at a blank screen and just can’t for the life of you think of anything to say? I’ve been struggling with this since my last blog in March. I missed April altogether, but I refuse to miss May! But here I sit…staring…trying to think of something witty or deep or at least interesting to say. It doesn’t help that we’ve been on the road for the past 6 weeks on one of our U.S. trips, with barely any time to think, to muse, to get ideas. Then it hit me…aha! Sometime back someone had hacked into our website and trashed it. We finally had it rebuilt and I think it looks pretty good, but we ‘lost’ all my previous blogs. I did repost several, but I was not about to try to get them all back on. As I have been sitting here desperately trying to find creativity, I remembered a previous blog I had written on writer’s block. I think I’ll repost it! That’s another good thing to try when you’ve hit a blank wall on your writing journey…recycle! Maybe it will still speak to someone. Here it is:

For those of you bloggers out there, I have a question for you…What do you do when you have writer’s block? I don’t know about you, but I write! I know that sound odd, but it’s true. I have had this reminder on my phone going off for the past couple weeks reminding me that it is time to post another blog, but I have been struggling with writer’s block. I had no idea what to write about, so I just started to write. It begins with typing out rambling thoughts…soon the thoughts begin to coalesce into something coherent. Here’s the result!

I have for some months now, been tutoring a neighbour’s son in writing. I enjoy writing. I kind of pride myself in writing well…not brilliantly, but well. I have even had several people compliment me on my blogs and on articles, even on seminar materials and manuals I have written. Sure, I can tutor someone on writing. What I have discovered is that doing something and teaching it can be quite different matters!

How does one go about infusing another with the love of words? I have always loved words, as far back as I can remember. I picked up words and their meanings quickly and usually used them accurately. I remember long summer days spent either going to and from the library or curled up behind the big clunky air conditioning unit outside our home, with an engrossing book. (Yes, I said ‘outside’. Mom was forever chasing us outdoors in the summer to “go play with your friends”. So, I hid behind the air conditioning unit where she wouldn’t see me reading).

How does one teach something that comes naturally? I recall when I first began home schooling our three children – the eldest in 7th grade, the second born in 4th grade, and the last starting kindergarten. I had to teach our daughter to read. I was stymied! How do I go about teaching her the mechanics of something I just did naturally?

Here’s the confession part, folks…though I always generally did very well in English, I performed rather abysmally in grammar. I had no idea what a participle was, let alone that you’re not supposed to let it dangle. And Lord forbid, don’t split that infinitive…that is if you know what one is! How many of you out there remember and HATED sentence diagraming? (insert suppressed primal scream here) Yes, that’s right, people, I did bad in grammar!

I think I picked up the correct use of words simply by reading voraciously. I mean, what other explanation can there be? That, to me, says something. Do you want to learn to enjoy reading? READ. Do you want to learn to write? READ. Do you need to build your vocabulary and its (NOT it’s) correct usage? READ. Do you want your child to do well in school? READ to him or her and do all you can to encourage him or her to READ. Does your child need to learn how to express himself better? READ to him and again, encourage him to read as much as possible. I don’t think I can stress it too strongly. Reading from a very early age imparts all manner of blessings in this life.

To the parents out there, it is never a waste of time to read to your children – every day if possible. Take them to the library. Let them explore the wonderful world of words. Library days were by far our favourite days in our family home schooling experiment – not just for me as a respite from teaching in a very hot Florida apartment, but for the kids. The local library had the most wonderful children’s section. For those who love technology, the love of words need not be lost in the modern world of sound bytes, video clips and smart phones (inclsv o txtng s)! There is a plethora of reading available on the internet, e-books – a limitless supply, which even includes the classics!

Now I’m back to my current blog entry and it occurred to me that if the secret to learning to enjoy reading is to read, the same can be true of writing. Do you want to write? Then pick up pen and paper…or get that laptop or tablet out and just start writing. Let your thoughts ramble. Don’t worry that things are not making sense. You can always clean it up later. Just keep writing on things that interest you. I also often ask God what He may want me to say. Sometimes when I have done that, I suddenly have an idea, usually about a topic I’ve been working on in my daily devotionals or something I’ve been pondering recently which has been mulling around inside. But when even that fails, I just start writing. Eventually, a theme comes to the surface, which then forms into a coherent (I trust!) few paragraphs. Then I clean up the ramblings and voila…a blog entry!

Well, there you guys have it…my entry for May when I couldn’t think of a thing to write about. Maybe June will be more creative!

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