I really enjoy the book of Proverbs. Those short, succinct phrases speak clearly about every area of life. As I’ve grown older, I come to value their wisdom and guidance even more. Some, I’ve found, speak clearly to writing.
One in particular is Proverbs 14:23 NLT. Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty! Henry’s paraphrase: Don’t talk about wanting to write. BE a writer.
When we tell others we are writers, we frequently hear the comment, “I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I can’t find the time.” If you’ve been a serious writer for over five minutes, some friend or relative has said this to you in one form or another. Even newbie writers say it. I did when I started out. My mentor’s advice was short but not so sweet: “Get up earlier.”
Has someone ever said to you, “I’ve got a brilliant idea for a book. Write it for me.” Someone said that to me once, and I replied, “I’m willing to help you.” That was several years ago and I haven’t heard from them yet.
Most of these people never move past this talking stage.
It’s almost as if others envy us and want to copy us. Until we share how we carve out the time to write and learn the craft to get better at writing. Then they start backpedaling.
Recently, I met someone who has a superb idea for a book. Her target audience is other professionals in her field. She envisions a book to help them grow professionally and to better serve their clients. It’s based on her own experiences plus research she’s gathered.
One of her frustrations is not having the time to write. We talked about the need for a conscious decision to make the time to write, even if it means getting up earlier, rather than hoping (wishing is a better word) to find the time.
Her other frustration was not knowing if she could write. Then I heard the Lord in his still small voice say, “Help her.”
Why did God tell me this? I believe it was because she’s ready to move past talking about writing a book. She’s ready to BE a writer. I believe God brought us together for this purpose. He sees some gift or talent he placed in me that can help her. I’ve learned over time these are his divine appointments and to trust him and obey.
What happened here to change the situation? She’s decided to BE a writer, to seek help with learning the craft and pulling together a book. She’s let go of the need to be perfect. Now, she has something to work with. I’m blessed to be part of this effort and I’m awed at the responsibility to help her. Once again, I have to trust God knows what he is doing. She also has to trust him.
She’s writing her first draft now, knowing it will be lousy. I shared Norah Lofts quote with her: “I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank page.” She’s willing to make the effort and the time to answer the call God has placed on her.
Do you remember when you moved from wanting to write to being a writer? How did you move from dreaming about writing to actually doing it? How would you convey this to someone who hasn’t moved past the talking stage?
Wanting to write is nice. Being a writer is work. It’s putting our feet on the ground and walking it out. Being a writer is disciplining ourselves and trusting God.
Tagged as “one to watch” by Publishers Weekly, award winning author Henry McLaughlin takes his readers on adventures into the hearts and souls of his characters as they battle inner conflicts while seeking to bring restoration and justice in a dark world. His writing explores these themes of restoration, reconciliation and redemption.
Besides his writing, Henry treasures working with other writers and helping them on their own writing journeys. He is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. He regularly teaches at conferences and workshops, leads writing groups, edits, and mentors and coaches.