The catalyst of writer's block isn't always just not knowing what to write. It can be a few things, depending on the day.
Ideas are part of my writer's block today. When a writer doesn't write recreationally (novel concept, but sadly common *pun intended), their brain is like a water balloon that someone left on a dripping faucet. The balloon gets bigger and bigger, and droops low in the sink. Eventually it explodes (not literally, of course), or even if you take it off the tap it's bloated, clumsy, and unmanageable.
Thinking time is also contributing to today's writer's block. Between work and trips and church, I've spent less time doing what introverted writers like doing best: staring at the wall (trying not to drool, of course) and contemplating the meaning of life (loving God, loving others, writing about it, duh).
Drama and uncertainty also contribute a nice flavor to the cocktail of writer's block. If you normally use all ten fingers to type, and six of them are in big bandages, typing is harder. Half my mind is occupied with thoughts about our future (mostly when we're going to get a puppy . . .) and people I love who are sad. It's hard to focus on one thing when you're really thinking about a dozen things.
This next part does relate, I promise.
I work with a lady who's a veteran storyteller. Over the years she's written more than 500 feature stories (which is a lot, since she's not very old). She has a special knack for pulling a theme out of an interview, and weaving it into an article so seamlessly that the reader barely even notices. Then at the end you're scratching your head wondering how you got from A to Z because you didn't notice the journey. Every theme points to God's sovereign intervention, in an honoring way. Basically, if I can write stories like she can write them when I'm her age, I'll be ecstatic.
Today she was talking about how God doesn't waste anything. Even when we feel like something is wasted (i.e., time spent sick, injured, maybe even just job-searching or researching or waiting for something to change), it's not a waste for Him. His economy uses our trials, struggles, joy, waiting, all of it, for good.
It struck a chord with me, because I hate wasting time.
If someone is doing something that I think I could do faster, my soul chafes violently. I'm not patient in any sense of the term, and waiting or slowing down often feels like a punishment. Curtis (he's very wonderful) has had to teach me how to be patient (or at least feign patience) over the past few years—usually leading by example.
Often, moving slower feels like a waste of time. And rest feels like a waste of time. Sometimes thinking feels like a waste of time. And writer's block ALWAYS feels like a waste of time, energy, and articulation. But God doesn't waste anything, not even writer's block (or waiting, or being sick, or ___________).
So for once, instead of writing an angsty post about how I detest writer's block, today I'm thankful for it. Because God's not wasting it.
*** You'll be happy to know that for the past week, I've been speaking to strangers every time I'm in the elevator. So far, I've averted any catastrophic social situation—but stay tuned, it'll come.