What Is a Writer Who Can’t Write?

I know I’m prone to feeling sorry for myself and I am quite committed to avoiding the temptation. It is one of those sins that feels like it will feel good but actually just ends up feeling miserable. I know that intellectually—it’s just that tricky matter of implementing it emotionally.

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So here’s the deal: I’m a writer who can’t write. Sometimes I joke about it—I’m like a preacher without a voice or a painter without a brush. But seriously, who or what is a writer if he can’t write?

The story behind the story is the cubital tunnel syndrome that has taken over my hands and left me unable to type. It’s not the tapping of the keys that gets me as much as the typing position—the rigid forearms, the cocked wrist, the extended fingers. That position is almost unbearable at the moment. I’m still mostly okay with pen and paper, at least, so I scrawled this in a notebook and Aileen deciphered and transcribed it.

See, what I’m learning, that perhaps I didn’t know before, is that writing is more than just getting words out of my head and onto a screen. It’s habits. It’s patterns. It’s routines. It’s a well-practiced ways of thinking, behaving, creating. And it’s all of this that has been interrupted. It’s not just hands that aren’t working, but a whole way of life that has been left topsy-turvy. And that’s the part of it all that I find hardest and most frustrating.

So what is a writer who can’t write?

  • Perplexed. Why am I facing this challenge? What can I do about it? Will it ever get better? What does God mean to teach me through it?
  • Concerned. I depend on a certain level of readers to charge advertisers a certain rate to make enough to keep going. Write less and people visit less. Visit less and I earn less. Earn less and … I really don’t know.
  • Challenged. How can I apply creative solutions to this problem? Is God using this to challenge a sin I’ve been harboring, an idol I’ve been worshipping?
  • Confident. God has extended his kindness to me in a million ways; there’s no reason to doubt he will do so again today and tomorrow, whether in writing or not writing.
  • Thankful. Thankful to you for reading this far.