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One of the things that I’ve enjoyed the most about summer is it’s flexible schedule. Once September hits the need to pound out message after message weighs down and can become very stressful. Any youth minister that needs to produce a message, talk or discussion guide for their ministry knows that as deadlines grow closer, so does the pressure to finish quickly. It’s almost like you are working against time. You beg your mind and fingers to work faster, so that you can move onto the next project. When that pressure mounts, so do the chances of writer’s block. Next thing you know you are sitting down in front of a blank screen asking yourself, “What am I going to write about?”
So, how do you combat the pressure? Is it possible to write efficiently and effectively? To become a faster and stronger writer you just need to:
- Write It Out – One way to consistently find yourself in writer’s block is to constantly edit while you are writing. It’s better to write out your document first, and then go back to edit. Editing can lead us on tangents, it can make us get lost and lose sight of the bigger picture. Just put everything down and then go back to make sense of it.
- Capture You Ideas – As you are writing you might find yourself think of another subject. If that’s the case then write it down. You might dismiss an idea, thinking it to be useless; however, if you don’t write it down it becomes lost forever. Many times an idea might come to us; however, it’s time to grow has not yet arrived. I carry around with me a notebook that is simply for capturing ideas. I might not know what I might do with each idea; however, it’s better to save for later than lose forever.
- Work Backwards – Before you turn your chair around, what working backwards means is writing with the end in mind. What do you want your audience to know and what do you want them to do. Once you have the destination then you can figure out how to get there. When we focus on the intro first it’s like taking a drive with no destination, you’ll just be going around in circles.
- Practice – Writing is just like working out, the more you practice the better you will get at it. Writing is just like any skill level it needs to be repeated and tweaked. Maybe, all you do with writing is a few messages here or there; don’t make that a reason not to practice. A couple of ways to improve your craft; yet, stay productive is by keeping a blog or writing letters to friends or loved ones. The more you do the faster you’ll become.
Deadlines and writer’s block can frustrate even the best writers. Sometimes we can avoid it; however, one day it will find you. In the end it’s about moving forward, working through the obstacles and focusing on the what the final product could be.
What other tips would you offer to overcome writer’s block?