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Writing Blocks

Karl Giberson

Writer’s Log: Stardate 1-9-2012

I have never really had “Writer’s Block,” and I don’t really know exactly what it is. Supposedly it means sitting down at your keyboard and not being able to start putting words together. But I can’t quite see how that could be.  Writing is like talking and I cannot imagine being at such a loss for words that you couldn’t say anything.

On the other hand, I know only too well about Writers’ Blocks.  These are the countless things that writers—at least this writer—has to do to keep a writing career going but that interfere with the actual writing you want to do. Today I really wanted to get back to my book about Adam but, although I wrote busily all day, I never made it.

I started out working on a grant to the Templeton Foundation. I am trying to get some financial support from them for some writing I do that fits with their mission. I have often had support from them in the past, which has allowed me to teach part-time instead of full-time, buy books for research, hire student assistants, and even get a computer. Their support is what has allowed me to write five books in the last three years. 

I somehow thought that I could “dash off” this grant in a few hours but I soon realized that the grant probably needs a week of work, not a day, if I was going to do it right. So I worked away on that for a while. Then I got an email from my editor at He likes a piece I wrote for him about the “theological implications of finding extraterrestrial life” but wants a few changes and he wants them first thing tomorrow. So, since he is a great editor and pays $300 for these pieces, I went to work immediately to make the changes. I am almost done, but running out of steam.  (I am a morning person and it is 9:30 pm now.)

I then got into an email exchange with Dean Nelson, my co-author on Quantum Leap, the biography of John Polkinghorne that was published a few months ago.  Dean and I want to do some more books together and it occurred to me that a very similar project about George Ellis would be a great new project. Ellis is a leading cosmologist and Christian who was active in the fight against apartheid in South Africa. He has a great personal story. So, I wrote to him to see what he thinks.  And I wrote to the Templeton Foundation to see if they would give us a grant for this book, like they did for the Polkinghorne bio.

And then, of course, there is a writing blog that I committed to produce every day in 2012.  Or was it a writing block?