It’s Time to Say Goodbye!

So, you may have noticed, if you’re a follower of this blog, that posts have stretched farther and farther apart lately. When we started this journey I was full of ideas! They flowed like a river, onto the page and out to your electronic devices. Granted, over the past two years, there have been some interruptions to this flow, but for the most part I have been able to find inspiration almost everywhere! Then came January 2019! This year has brought many changes—mostly positive—but it seems that I lost my footing. Somehow, I drifted off the path and away from the destination that I intended.

So, it’s time to bring it back!  Books & Coffee is for writers and creative people, like you, looking for inspiration, tips and tools for maintaining your creative flow.  But, even those of you who wouldn’t call yourself “writers” can identify with striving for something that is elusive—whatever it is you associate with success. For writers, it’s a book deal or publication, for others it’s just having your hard work recognized and valued. Whatever your gift, you long for the fulfillment of putting it to use and doing it well, yet sometimes struggle with both.

I get it! That’s why we’re here—to work through those difficulties and celebrate the successes.

With that goal in mind, today—and for the next few weeks—we’re going to tackle one enemy that is familiar to all writers—WRITERS BLOCK! Some say it’s an imaginary foe, but anyone who’s struggled with something knows it’s a thing when it keeps you from attaining your goal, even if–perhaps, especially if–it’s all in your mind!

But we’re not letting this one hold us anymore. Maybe your captor isn’t Writer’s Block, it doesn’t matter. You will discover that writing in and of itself is a powerful weapon. Want to give it a try? Here’s what you do:

  1. Put your butt in a chair
  2. Put your fingers on a keyboard (or, if your old school, grab a pen and paper!).
  3. Say bye-bye–literally!

Write a letter breaking up with Writer’s Block (or whatever “it” is). Start with, “Dear _______, it’s not you, it’s me …”.

Here’s mine:

Dear Writer’s Block,

It’s not you, it’s me:

I’ve allowed you to control me.
I’ve allowed you to make me feel inadequate.
I’ve allowed you to tell me I can’t.

But no more. I will not allow you to hurt me, hold me or tell me I’m nothing. You will no longer have the control over me that you once had, because I have been weak in the past, but I’m strong now. I’ve learned how to defeat you. I’ve been thinking about you and fretting over you all these weeks and months, but I have finally realized I don’t have to. In fact, focusing on you is what has kept me bound! Instead, I’m going to focus on me. And instead of looking at myself through your eyes, I am looking at myself through the lens of my Creator. You say I’m nobody, He says I’m somebody. He says I can be so much stronger than I am if I just walk away from you. It has been hard, because you’re very persuasive, but this is it! This is me taking the first step away…

Away from abuse
Away from turmoil
Away from defeat

I can do this. I can be what I was created to be as long as I stay away from you.


So, peace out.

What do you need to break up with? Write it in your journal or on a sheet of paper that you will tear into a million little pieces. It’s up to you. Just do it!

Maybe your break-up will inspire someone else to walk away from an unhealthy situation, share your break-up letter in the comments!

Next week: What would you do if someone started leaving little gifts on your desk every day? Come back next week and we’ll see if we can unlock the mystery!

Until next time, Happy Writing!


“Breaking up with Writer’s Block” from Brian Klems and Zachary Petit’s Bootcamp of Writing Prompts

Cover Photo by jurien huggins on Unsplash

In Defense of the Invisible Writer

Have you ever doubted yourself as a writer? Ever wondered if being a writer is really a noble profession? Often our work is a “side gig” because we need a “real job” to pay the bills, but  sidelining this work can make us feel less valuable too.

But, I’m here to cast a different light on the invisible writer. What if the fact that our writing is taken for granted is a good thing?  Perhaps it is a credit to the skill that we employ when we produce such good work that it disappears! Think about it: The slogans on your cereal box, the catchy phrases splashed on the wall at Zaxby’s, even the clever little phrases on the Taco Bell hot sauce packets were the work of an invisible creative mind. Employment application forms, instructions for assembling gadgets, the news you follow on social networks—all the work of writers whose names you’ll never know, yet all are needed! If the writing is bad, we notice, but when the information flows, there’s no thought about the work that went into producing it.

Maybe they don’t know that work is not reserved for coal factories or Wall Street; it also happens in coffee shops, in quiet corners, at raggedy desks in lonely buildings once students have fled and janitors sweep through dim hallways—but we do, and God does! “Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:4b)

As invisible writers, we tap away at keyboards, reflecting on the world we’ve observed, trying to make sense of the chaos. We reshape meaningless moments into objects that can sit in the mouth like peppermint—sweet, refreshing, enlivening—leaving a pleasant, lasting impression even after we disappear. God honors our hard work even if no one sees.

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Photo by Alexa Mazzarello on Unsplash

Mayhem Monday: Advice to Writers–Keep Going!

Overwhelmingly insignificant. Those are the words that I wrote down. It was the only way I could think of to describe how a beginning writer feels when she’s trying to gain her footing on this overpopulated landscape where writers come a dime a dozen! What sets me apart? What makes me different? Special? Worthy of attention? These are the kinds of questions a writer asks each time she sits down to write. Perhaps these are the questions that others ask as they set out to make their mark in the world as well—singers, artists, athletes—all those whose gifts feel special to them and to their loved ones, but look so pale in comparison to the esteemed greats of society–those who have achieved the highest heights and honors in their class, whose garments we can only hope to graze with the tips of our fingers in a crowded street if we’re lucky.

It’s hard when you’re buried under a mountain of crumpled papers and unfinished manuscripts, and discouraging when the rejection slips come in faster than the book proposals that go out. It’s demoralizing to sit, shivering in the corner of crowded coffee shops, pleading with God for inspiration while trying to tune out the distracting chatter as the blank page of the computer screen is mocking you and the blinking cursor keeps time with the fleeting seconds you have left before your other responsibilities invade this small space in time.

How, exactly, does one move from the crowded streets of insignificance, obscurity and non-productivity onto the fast track of notoriety, achievement and fecundity? I’ve been listening to some authors’ success stories and the same answer emerges from each one—“keep going,” they say. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep writing. Easier said than done, huh? But, the consensus is, there’s no magic pill, no easy answer and, unfortunately, no shortcut. There are always exceptions, of course, but for the vast majority, the path to success is an arduous process of putting one foot (or should I say word?) in front of the other and refusing to lose faith. That feeling of insignificance is simply the reality that you’re not the only one who can do this—that is, write stories, articles or books—but it should be countered with another reality: you are the only person who can be you. At the very least, there’s that. So, they say, the trick is to infuse your work with your self—something that is unique to you. Do you know what’s unique about you? (Take this personality test to find out: My Personality)

Rather than focusing on the successes of others, focus on being your best self. Focus on improving as a writer, an artist, an athlete, etc, not so that you can be more like someone else, but so that you can be a better version of yourself. With your own past and future successes in sight you will have less time to drool over the achievements of others and your own significance will loom larger in your eyes. After all, each of us has been given an assignment. Let’s not waste time wondering why someone else’s assignment looks more interesting than ours.

In the grand scheme of things we do matter and we can and will make our mark in this world. We just have to keep going!

Happy Monday

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Cover photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash