A Surprising Solution to Writer’s Block

Writer’s block” has become a catch-all term for any reason that writers find themselves unmotivated and stymied, staring at a blank page or empty screen. The best piece of advice for anyone suffering from writer’s block is this:

Stop waiting for inspiration and just start writing. You have to “prime the pump,” then inspiration will catch up.

Other than that, you should consider if your writing location is hurting you. Let’s look at some common places people write. There is no “right or wrong”—you must consider your history and search your heart to find out which environments are best for you. So rather than just blindly do what you’ve always done, take this chance to think about where you are most likely to write well:

Writing at the Office

Those of us who write for an employer can often do so from an office or cubicle they provide. And those of us who have “normal” jobs but write on the side can often do so from our office as well, arriving to work early, staying late and writing at lunch or any other break. I have been in both circumstances, and either way I love writing in an office building.

I’m comfortable, but unlike my house, not too comfortable. The hustle and bustle of office workers, the equipment, the desks, the people wearing something other than pajamas—it all creates an energy that flows through me.

And it helps to dress the part. We have a relaxed dress code at Sojourn, and I do wear jeans most days. But I almost always pair them up with a dressier shirt and often a sportcoat or suit jacket. If that doesn’t sound like you, don’t sweat it. The point is to figure out what puts you into the mood to write.

Writing at a Coffee Shop

The problem with coffee shops is that you may be interrupted more than at work, if you visit a shop where other patrons know you well. At work, people realize you’re working. At a coffee shop, even if you are working people often assume you’re not that busy. Because, well, you’re sitting in a coffee shop.

I schedule meetings for coffee shops (my favorite in Louisville is Quills Coffee & Books). And occasionally I work in one if I’m doing a project that won’t be hurt by stops-and-starts. Then if I see a friend, I don’t have to act like I don’t see them. I’m free to chat. But I rarely attempt serious writing in a coffee shop unless I’m in an unfamiliar town. Maybe your situation is different. Ask yourself if you do more writing, conversing or reading at coffee shops.

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Bobby Gilles
Bobby Gilles has written several of Sojourn Music’s popular worship songs for albums like The Water And The Blood, Over The Grave and Before The Throne. He is content manager for sojournmusic.com and has mentored songwriters and led many Sojourn songwriting workshops as part of Pastor Mike Cosper’s worship ministry. Bobby is also Sojourn Church Director Of Communications, and works with Lead Pastor Daniel Montgomery to communicate Sojourn’s mission and vision. He co-wrote the children’s book Our Home Is Like A Little Church, published by Christian Focus. As a former radio disc jockey and music director, he was twice named a National Top 10 Finalist for Gospel Music DJ of the Year.