Writers’ Slump or Writers’ Block

readingI should have this cartoon framed and hung over my desk to remind me where I receive guidance and encouragement.

Writer’s slump is not the same as writer’s block. If you are suffering from writer’s block, you have written much of your book, play or article, and suddenly are stymied and have no idea how to continue. My solution to this is to reread what you have written. Rereading will help you locate plot errors or missing facts which is often the source of your writer’s block.

My case in point. Years ago I was writing a play. Act I  was done; I typed Act II on the page and waited for my characters to speak to me. They were silent. I forced my fingers to type words, but the dialogue was strained and not in the voice of my characters. After several frustrating days, I reread Act I and discovered why my characters were silent. I set Act I in Chicago, Act II opened in Wyoming. I knew why my characters needed to be in Wyoming, but there was no motivating dialogue in Act I to suggest such a move. My characters were speechless because they had gone to sleep in Chicago and awoke in Wyoming. I’d be confused and speechless if this happened to me. I added a few lines to Act I and voila, my characters told me their story again, faster than I could type.

I wish writer’s block was my problem today; I know how to cure that, but I am in writer’s slump. A swamp of sloth is pulling me down. What I need to do is sending out more agent/publisher queries for my completed YA novel, The Whole Plot’s Crazy, but I would rather have my toes gnawed off my fire ants than set myself up for a tidal wave of rejection letters, or worse yet, no response at all. The fact that it’s rainy and cold does not help my mood.

When I saw the above cartoon, I realized this is what I need, new software?  As Christian writers, we recognize our writing is a gift from God. To get out of the slump, we need to pray, read scripture, sit quietly and wait for God’s answer. In other words, go back to the source for inspiration and encouragement.


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