Trust Issues

Trust Issues and Writer’s Block

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.

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6 thoughts on “Trust Issues and Writer’s Block

  1. Hi Ellen, I’ve heard of that book and will add it to my reading list. Of course, Bird By Bird is a classic, and with good reason!
    Thanks! Lora

  2. As a rule I wouldn’t have thought I have trust issues (in fact, being too trusting has gotten me in trouble more than once). But, when it comes to myself (my talents and gifts, my decisions), I think maybe you’re onto something and I do have trust issues. I should be slightly warier of others and more trusting of the talents God gave me. I know that God delights to give His children good gifts and success, but I feel guilty any time I take time to use my gifts. If I enjoy what I’m doing and it doesn’t feel like work, I question it.

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been exploring other sides of this issue lately with a friend. This helps me round out my thoughts a little more.

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