By Don Zoller
“I can’t write!” is a common response by many when faced with a blank page. I have said that myself at times. You’re not alone. It’s a natural response to a very scary thing. When asked to write and all you see is a blank page, there is a sense of fear and foreboding. Fear paralyzes most from writing. Excuses abound: I’m not gifted; I’m too busy; I have nothing to say; I wouldn’t know where to begin—so the list goes on. But usually beneath all the excuses is fear—fear of making mistakes; of saying something dumb; or of being criticized.
I wonder if Leo Tolstoy felt that fear when began his 1200-page, War and Peace. Or, Herman Melville when he started to write about a white whale named Moby-Dick and took 800 pages to tell his story. I refer to this foreboding as writer’s stage fright. Many writers have it. But, most use it to their advantage to push themselves into an exciting world of words to craft and shape.
Emerging from a grassy knoll near a college art class was a single 12- foot iron beam with a distinct lean of about 60 degrees. My son, Greg, as an art appreciation assignment, was given the task of writing a ten-page essay about this structure. The structure had neither information as to its origin or about the artist who conceived it. “I can’t” was Greg’s first response. But, he overcame his fear, and with some creative thought, he found he could say a lot about this no-name structure – enough to successfully complete his assignment.
Today, we have at our disposal wonderful writing technologies that Tolstoy or Melville couldn’t even imagine. A computer, a word processor, perhaps even a printer at our side, that gives even the most-timid novice freedom to write. A freedom to take those experiences of your past and put them on a blank page. A freedom to express your personal thoughts to allow others the joy of reading them. Your first step is to begin! You can write. Yes, you can! Try it!
Your action today—From week one, prayerfully take your thoughts about God’s faithfulness that gave special meaning to your life. List three or four of them on paper or a blank page on your computer. Tell briefly why they were special, how they affected your life, and perhaps the lives of others. Don’t forget to add names of the people who were part of those experiences. Remember, you can write! Until next time . . .
Blessings and Shalom
Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are
and those that are to take place after this.
Don has recently joined the family at Trinity and is active in the 50+ Bible Study. He enjoys writing and has authored several books that provide spiritual encouragement and biblical insights. His son and daughter-in-law, Graham and Susan, are also members at Trinity.