Joy Writing: Starting key to overcoming blocks to finishing
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Mar 23, 2014 | 544 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A song I enjoyed in middle school had a chorus that chimed, “I’m finding myself at a loss for words and the funny thing is it’s OK (Mercy Me, Word of God Speak).”

Unfortunately, the “It’s OK” segment doesn’t apply when it comes to column writers who have nothing to say; or, at least, maybe nothing worth saying.

Writer’s block, we meet again.

Most of the time writer’s block isn’t a problem for me because I’m writing about what other people have said so I always have a starting point.

Starting and finishing are the hardest parts of accomplishing anything. This in between part is rather easy. As long as progress is being made or words are filling the page I feel a sense of accomplishment, if only momentarily.

There are countless suggestions people and college textbooks have given for writer’s block, but I think the best advice I’ve heard is “just write.” Once you start, something will come to mind eventually. Paraphrasing a famous shoe company’s slogan, “Just start” is great advice for those feeling the limbo of a daunting project staring them in the face.

Sometimes starting is something that cannot be seen.

Thinking about a project and planning how to accomplish it do count for something.

But eventually starting takes doing.

About two years ago, I realized I often said I wanted to do a lot of things, but I had never actually pursued making them happen. I decided I wanted to stop just talking about participating in local organizations’ events (outside of work-related involvement) and start doing it.

I had talked about how I would enjoy participating in a Walk for Life event. That year I did participate as a sponsored walker in the New Hope Pregnancy Care Center’s annual walk.

Deep breath. So here we are approximately in the middle. This is where many journeys end. Attics and basements, closets and drawers, notebooks and sketchpads are full of unfinished projects as the person grew tired, got distracted or was no longer inspired to finish the project.

Take heart.

Projects abandoned can be re-started and finished.

Even Mark Twain abandoned a project in the middle, and set it aside to complete much later.

That project became, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

I once read the reason that stories are left unfinished in journals was failure to plan how the story will end.

While diagramming a story outline is suggested, I don’t always find it conducive to the flow of inspiration.

However, properly planning a project does increase the chances that it will reach completion because the end goal is more defined. There is something that can be envisioned as the end, even before the project is officially begun.

Careful planning can help us choose to start things that are worth finishing and see them to completion. Some books I have begun I have deemed not worth finishing because of the content. I stopped watching some movies because in the first 15 minutes I know how they will end. Life circumstances can make projects no longer relevant.

Some things, like fix-it jobs around the house, never seem to end. They just get more complex as someone gets deeper into them.

I feel like I just described a career in the news industry. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Just like writing a column doesn’t always come as easily as simply telling someone about your day.

Spring is often heralded as the season of new beginnings.

So what will you start, plan and finish this season?

This month I have started assisting my husband as he begins in a youth pastor role at a local church.

This one, like the projects mentioned earlier, is one with no end in sight. But, in this case that is actually a good thing.

In those monthlong, yearlong, career-long endeavors, celebrating movement from the starting point is often the key to progressing forward. Those little victories when a task is complete, when a student understands a new concept or when a stressful day is over are what push us forward to the next small victory.

Many times careers are viewed in terms of destinations, but they aren’t. They are a journey — just as is life, ministry and relationships.

It is the things we choose to do and where we choose to go that mark our destinations on the journey.

This season as “spring cleaning” begins, consider finding a worthwhile unfinished project and see it to completion.