Sunday, July 17, 2011

Be Careful How You Word Your Prayers

So, I have had a horrible dry stretch in my writing.  I have attempted at least three times a week to open the files for either project I am working on and I sit for at least a half hour staring at a blank computer screen and I can think of nothing to write.   I haven't even been able to write blog posts that I think are very good.  I have written a few that I thought were passable,  but not like the old days. 

I mentioned it to a friend how frustrating it feels to be a writer with nothing in my head to write and she told me a story.  

There is a psychologist who works with people in Los Angeles. At times he works with creative types like screenwriters and authors.  When one of his patients has writer's block he says they should try this:

Every day when you wake up you say a prayer asking God to allow you to write the worst sentence you have ever written, and then set about the task of writing.  Somehow giving yourself permission to write lousy prose breaks through the mental block you are experiencing.  

So, I did just that, for weeks I prayed that God would allow me to write the worst sentence I had ever written.  Then I sat there at my computer and still nothing came.  Then one day I was sitting at my computer trying to write a blog post about gratitude and it happened.  I wrote three of the worst sentences I had ever written in my entire life.    They were trite, uninteresting and  made less than no sense.  

I sat at my computer, and looked at them and almost cried with relief.  God had answered my prayer.  

I learned two very important lessons that day:  1) God answers prayers in God's time, so be persistent in prayer.  and 2) be really specific about what you want from God.  Why couldn't I have asked in my prayer for God to allow me to write like I used to write; meaningful prose from deep in my soul?   Prose that was so beautiful that sometimes I would read it and wonder at the fact that it had actually come from me.  

Thank you God for answering my prayer, but next time could you give me what I need and not what I ask for?



Owen said...

Thank you God for those two reminders.

leftbanker said...

I don’t believe in God, or prayer, or writer’s block. As a writer my job is to write; other people can worry about the quality of my output. My work may be complete garbage, or brilliant, but no amount of prayer can change that. My opinion of what I do every day may vary but I still crank out a minimum of at least 1,000 words. If I don’t feel up to writing an essay then I rip off a long letter to a friend. That’s the discipline. Where it gets me is anyone’s guess. I don’t really care; it’s the writing that makes me happy (although it wouldn’t exactly kill me to reach a bigger audience).