I stare at my laptop screen. I’m in between writing projects. No deadlines to spur me. No manuscripts that need to be fleshed out. I’m free to write whatever God lays on my heart and I’m eager to do so. But my mind is blank, waiting for a spark of inspiration.
Worship, wait, write.
Isn’t that what my writing coach told me? Worship the Lord first thing each morning. Wait for His breath of creativity to guide me. Then write!
Worshipping God each morning is a joy. I renew my mind with His Word and He satisfies my heart. But right now, my artist’s mind remains constipated . . . the same as last week and the week before. So why this delay? How long must I wait? I feel like an impatient toddler who’s sitting in a time-out. I want to skip the wait and start writing.
And yet, experience has taught me it is pointless to run ahead of God with a writing project unless He’s in it. There’s value in waiting.
- Waiting for God to nudge me.
- Waiting for my thoughts to crystallize.
- Waiting for God’s perfect time.
I’ve also learned that waiting doesn’t always mean I have writer’s block. Sometimes, my inability to write is a pause—a long pregnant pause. I know because I’ve been here before.
Twenty-five years ago, I attended my first weekend writer’s conference. However, I couldn’t spend the night and attend both days because I had a six-month-old baby at home. Duty called. I carpooled home with an older woman on Saturday night. When I shared my longing to write and my frustration that my family responsibilities kept me from pursuing that passion, the woman said, “You’re right where God wants you. Enjoy your family. Wait for His timing.”
Wait? I might have appeared young to this white-haired woman but, to borrow a worn cliché, “I was no spring chicken.” I remember thinking, “Why can’t I be like those authors who raise a family and write professionally? If God called and equipped me to write, why must I wait? Today seems as good as tomorrow to write the great American novel.”
I heeded that woman’s advice. God and family continued to be my priority. I’d write devotions and articles as free time allowed, but for the most part, God placed my writing on pause while I did life. And that fiction book I thought needed writing wasn’t the book idea God had in mind. He had bigger plans for my skills, but first He had to do the work within me.
Looking back, I can see that nothing is wasted. Not even the writer’s pause. Waiting for God’s timing allowed me to:
- Gain an eternal perspective on my circumstances.
- Own my faith lessons so I could write about them with authority.
- Improve my writing by attending writers’ conferences and reading books on the craft.
- Meet influential people in the publishing industry and encourage my fellow writers.
- Journal my life experiences that I could return to later and incorporate into my writing.
- Become empathetic toward my readers so I could write to address their needs.
What about you? Do you long to write and see your words come to life, but your ability to express yourself feels like you’ve been placed on hold? Perhaps it’s a lack of freedom because you’re a caregiver or working full-time that keeps you from writing. Regardless of the cause, not finding time to write or the sudden inability to write can derail us.
What to “do” while we wait?
- Worship God each day. We’re meant to seek the Giver, not His gifts such as writing.
- Read books by your favorite author and highlight why the writing resonates with you.
- Read earlier drafts of your manuscripts and assess how your skills have improved.
- Revise a story or article you’ve never published just for fun.
- Incorporate a short writing exercise each day to keep creative juices flowing.
- Glean from the folks in Scripture who waited for their heart’s desire and God’s direction.
- Realize that nothing is wasted. There are personalized faith lessons while we wait.
Take heart and remember—our words don’t have to be published or go viral to be worthwhile. Whenever we text, email, or phone a friend to pray and encourage them in the Lord, we are using our words to declare God’s glorious deeds.
Are you waiting to write? What have you learned or found helpful while you’re on pause?