I know writers who claim there is no such thing as writer’s block. I suspect if I had to make my living writing I would find this to be true. However, since I make my living teaching, with all its attendant components – creating syllabi, preparing each day's work, grading papers, not to mention actually meeting classes and conferencing with individual students – the writing is not as a rule immediately compelling. I would like to believe that the ability to do it periodically disappears for that reason. It would at least supply an excuse.
However, the block often occurs when I actually have time on my hands (relatively speaking). This is depressing, to say the least, and seems inexplicable. I know full well that the solution to my present difficulty will suddenly appear just as I am sitting in faculty workshop (no doubt while the dean or president is speaking on some absolutely vital topic and I am sitting in such a place that my mental non-attendance will be noted) or when I am finally getting the freshman comp website done ten minutes before the first class meeting. At which point I will tear my hair in frustration, at least mentally, and try not to curse my wayward muse, at least not aloud.
The pressure of a deadline or a great deal to do has always been good for my writing. Of course, this can be frustrating for me and for those around me, as I try to juggle the urgent (the everyday “stuff”) with the important (the writing). Is the writing worth it? I’ve read so many writers recently, the ones who say they cannot not write, the ones who say this is delusional arrogance, the ones who reduce writing to craft, the ones who elevate it to religion. I know that writing keeps me sane. That alone is enough to tell me I must be careful not to neglect it for the urgent.
But I want to finish something someday, something worth having spent the time and the energy it took and worth the sacrifices that I and others make for it. Today, my husband is 53 – which means I will be the same in just two months. Time is running out.
And now I read, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Wisdom. Ah, yes, wisdom is the goal, not publication. Is this writing contributing to my wisdom, my understanding of God and His reality? If so, and if that wisdom is applied in the urgencies of my everyday life, then the writing is worth it, whatever its worldly fate.
“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her” (Proverbs 3:13-15).
Thanks to Him once again for the check, for the eternal perspective. May I keep it clearly in heart as well as mind as the daily round of a school year begins again, and may I keep Him before all else as I enter it.