We don’t have to tell you that the digital world we live in doesn’t lend itself well to reading books. Especially good books. You know those. The type that you have to chew on slowly. That sometimes require a dictionary or even a concordance. The books that hold weight and substance. The books that make a lasting change in your life.
Instead, we consume tweets, Instagram quotes, 700-word blog posts (like this!), easy reading self-help books, and beguiling fiction that are offered to us in a limitless buffet.
Laura Miller of Slate describes the trend this way:
Books are the intellectual equivalent of slow food; you know it’s better for you and tastes better, too, but you’re too rushed and frantic to care as you white-knuckle it through an avalanche of push alerts.
Writer’s block happens to the best of writers. While there are plenty of traditional ways to deal with it, we thought we’d focus on a few you might not have thought of. In fact, we were inspired by Dennis Upper, a psychologist from the 1970’s, who managed his writer’s block by submitting a practically empty academic paper to the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, who then published it, if only for its comedic value. We appreciated the reviewer comments in the footnote, which read:
Who knew that even learned psychologists suffered from writer’s block (or that academic publication editors had such a sense of humor?)
While we don’t advise that you submit an empty manuscript to your publisher, we have brought together a few ideas that might help.
If we asked you why pastors should not write books, you could probably quickly rattle off some reasons. Distractions, temptation to seek fame, etc. However, have you considered why pastors should write? This was the very theme of a recent Gospel Coalition interview with pastor and author Anthony Carter, which we have excerpted here:
It’s no secret: pastors like books. We read them, we quote them, we give them away. After all, the foundation for our entire ministry is the written Word of God himself. Take away that book and we have no ministry.
But what about the writing of books? How should pastors think about putting words on paper for publication? Anthony Carter, lead pastor of East Point Church in Georgia, has written, co-authored, and contributed to a number of books, including most recently Blood Work. Carter warns against the desire for attention and the distraction that writing can take away from pastoral ministry but also encourages pastors to pursue writing and publishing if they can.