Are You Waiting to Write?

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?

About Karen Foster 13 Articles
Karen Foster is a nonfiction writer and speaker and author of Lunch with Loretta: Discover the Transforming Power of Mentoring Friendship. Her story, "Tender Mercies" appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Military Families (May 2017). Karen's articles and devotions have been published in The Upper Room, The Bible Advocate, Now What?, Discipleship Journal, and Moms Next. She blogs at KarenFosterAuthor.com Or follow her on Twitter @eveninthis.

10 Comments

  1. Karen, Thank you for your resounding advice. The Holidays have put me in a mode of writer’s block. I was feeling guilty by the lack of words on my laptop lately. But reading your article has given me fresh hope. Your words give me encouragement, that this time is not about my failure, but rather what the Lord is telling me. The prayers and thoughts that come and go through my brain about portions of my project, and the characters. It is good to be in a holding pattern, waiting on the Lord to direct my heart.

    • Carole, I’m glad you were encouraged. It’s easy to get frustrated and upset with ourselves when the holidays become a speed bump to our productivity. But let’s pray this advent season will fill us with unspeakable joy because our thoughts are focused on Jesus–THE WORD–rather than our word count.

  2. Thank you Karen, I really needed to read this blog today, as I am on hold waiting for my book to be refined, edited and revised to make it better. It is my first book and it has been very difficult and long process of understanding the flow, craft and timing and the message that God wants me to write. Now I am just waiting, praying, worshiping God in the midst of many circumstances as the Holy Spirit leads and guides me in this process. I needed this encouragement in the middle of being on pause and not going ahead of God but move and flow with God is so important. Thank you for all of the tips and your experiences. Many Blessings Tanya

  3. Tanya, I hear you loud and clear! And I’d like to add a quote which encouraged my heart recently. “He is at work on your behalf, not to make you a best-seller, but to make you the best tool for His work. As much as we’d like to think this whole gig is about selling books, it’s not. It’s about obedience. About writing, because that’s the task He’s given us. It’s about seeking to serve Him and others through the gifts He’s given us.” ~Karen Ball.

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