When teaching at writers’ conferences I used to rather cavalierly declare that I didn’t believe in writers’ block. Oh, I did until I wrote for pay and under an editor’s deadline. “Writer’s block” was a luxury enjoyed by hobbyists; professionals couldn’t let it happen and expect another assignment.
A rather uncharitable point of view, isn’t it?
I wonder if “Writer’s Block” (or any other lack of engagement) is merely lack of trust. After his conversion to Christianity, artist Makoto Fujimura realized how trust was an integral part of creating art. “There was a reality [grounded in Christ that] I could trust and that I could also trust what was inside of me to express it.” (Chuck Colson in “Real Art,” breakpoint.org)
So if we can’t “express” ourselves through our art, perhaps something has shaken us or caused us to doubt. We lack trust in our gifts, lack trust that when we sit down and stare at a screen or hold a paint brush or a guitar that God will show up. Does He only appear in approval, applause, and sales? He might come in scribbled or typed drivel, or, as Anne Lamott says, “sh**** first drafts.” But I won’t know until I trust again, enough to face the blank screen and create another day.