Kristen Clark

HALT! And Rise Above Your Biggest Writing Challenges

This is a guest post by Kristen Clark, a speaker and writer, and contributing editor for the online His Witness Ministries and New Beginnings Marriage Ministry. Her articles have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, while her inspirational stories have been published by Chicken Soup for the Soul. She lives in Texas with her husband, Lawrence.

I love keeping busy with writing activities and exercises, but recently found myself putting pen to paper with a less than grateful attitude; the craft I once cherished and delighted in had turned into a source of tremendous frustration.  The reason: I had taken on too much and couldn’t keep up with it all.

Every opportunity felt like an unbearable chore.  I struggled frequently with writer’s block.  I was easily overwhelmed by simple submission guidelines.  I reeled against the practice of re-writes.  I floundered with openings and compelling closings.  My spelling and grammar became an embarrassment.  I missed critical deadlines.  I cried at rejection letters. I created endless excuses for not attending a myriad of writer’s conferences.  My attitude about writing in general had hit rock bottom.

Thankfully, I discovered a tool that helps me maintain a positive attitude through most situations.  The HALT method suggests pausing long enough to assess if I am Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.  If I am hungry, I make time for a meal or quick snack. If I am angry, I take a few extra minutes to detach from my stressful situation; I breathe, relax, stretch my limbs, count to ten, pray, and emotionally regroup. If I am tired, I withdraw for a nap and some quiet time in an effort to recharge my battery.  If I am lonely and feeling secluded, I lift my spirits by visiting a neighbor or friend.

Zig Ziglar once said, “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”   He was right.  In fact, research conducted in the last ten years successfully links positive emotions (including gratitude) to the ability to more successfully face life’s challenges. Using the HALT method, I can more easily maintain a positive attitude, if not gratitude, and do my best at what I love most – writing!

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;

 for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:16-18 NIV)

How to you maintain a positive attitude?


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