You are tired of writing about yourself. You can’t write another album review, because your last post was an album review. Commentary on the current political climate commits you to playing a dangerous game. You are stuck—nothing to write about, nothing to say, even as the world is flooded with reasons to write and things to say. Well then, power through your writer’s block with these seven (7) easy steps.
Step 1: Sit in a coffee shop. Listen to the conversations around you. Absorb them and let them become content by osmosis. Write a few words, maybe fifty, maybe five hundred but cross them all out. Redact them. Let the block be visible, to you and to the world. Hold your notebook on display. I’VE WRITTEN THIS DOWN AND SCRIBBLED IT ALL OUT. EVERY WORD.
Step 2: Tell a story from the past week or two. Write the story down and allow it to become something else, with some details omitted and others embellished. Through the page in your notebook, get distracted, and notice the indents of what you have crossed out previously. Let those markings remind you that what you wrote a few minutes ago was, probably, useless. Dwell on this until it’s internalized, until it becomes an identity statement vital to your self-worth. Cross out the story—the story that didn’t really happen that way—you’ve just written down.
Step 3: The people next to you are having a conversation about the Trinity—God as three, God as one. They are struggling to articulate how God is one and how God is three at the same time. You are struggling to articulate anything at all. Let the mystery be, you think. And you wrote about that once, actually more than once: letting the mystery be. Sometimes it feels like that’s all you’ve written about, only variations on a theme, the same thing spun a thousand different ways. Let the mystery…
Step 4: creative_deconstructed_recycled_nonsense.doc
Step 5: Get up. Move around. Leave the coffee shop, and let the dead wool clouding your head fade into something else or develop into another substance. Allow the block to fuel what you write down, so that the nothingness makes its way onto the page. Let the words come out, whatever they are. Let them, even if they don’t matter, or they don’t make sense, or they don’t say anything important, or they carry no aesthetic appeal, or they refuse punctuation, or they get lost, or they editorialize, or they reveal something about you, or they do not.
Step 6: Where there’s a beginning, there is almost always an end. Congratulations, you have begun, so keep writing my friend, keep filling the page. The words will come—here they are now! They’ve made it, they’ve spilled out of you, and you have overcome writer’s block. Once and for all.
Step 7: Repeat steps one through six. Your brain is no longer mush, but a blinking cursor instead.
Brad Zwiers (’12) graduated from Calvin College in 2012 and Western Theological Seminary in 2015. He will not be graduating from any more schools. He often stares at books he wishes he could read but knows he will not finish and goes for long walks with his wife, Gwyn. Sometimes he plays basketball and always he follows the greatest sporting club in the world, Liverpool F.C.