Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Writing Through the Pain

By Andrea Merrell @AndreaMerrell

Many people feel called to write, but don’t know what to write about. This is especially true for new writers. Even seasoned authors look for inspiration wherever they can find it, but sometimes they miss one of the most valuable resources available . . . pain.

Why in the world would we want to write about pain? Because it’s a fact of life. It’s something everyone goes through, whether physical, mental, emotional, or relational. And it’s something everyone can not only relate to, but learn from—especially when we’re willing to be open, honest, and transparent with what we’ve experienced.

Think for a moment about what you’ve been through that might help, inspire, and encourage someone else? What have you faced and conquered that will bring victory into the lives of your readers? There are blogs/books/articles/stories/devotions about everything from dealing with a strong-willed child to coping with the crisis of divorce or even death. Maybe you’re caring for an elderly parent. Perhaps you’ve struggled with weight loss, chronic illness, or addiction. Sometimes our passion is either born or fueled by our pain and when we can channel that passion into our writing, we have the ability to touch a hurting soul and give them hope.

In my new book, Prayingfor the Prodigal, I share the agony of dealing with rebellious and ungodly behavior from both of my children for over five years. This was one of the most painful times in my life. Fear gripped my heart as I battled anger, frustration, guilt, and even depression. Many have asked if it was difficult to write this story, and my answer is absolutely yes. As I sorted through the details, I re-lived many of the events that brought endless tears, sleepless nights, and the hopelessness that tried to swallow me.

The best part, however, was the mental and emotional healing that took place as I wrote. I was able to view the events from a different perspective and to share the numerous lessons God taught me along the way, including how to stand firmly on His Word and pray for my children daily. Through this traumatic time, I learned that God is faithful, His Word is truth, and not to ever give up when praying in faith according to His will. My sincere prayer is for this book to give encouragement and practical advice to those who are traveling the same dark path, and to let them know there is always hope for the prodigal.

The bottom line is this: In God’s economy, nothing is wasted . . . even our pain. What the enemy means for evil and destruction, God can turn around for our good and His glory—and the edification of the body of Christ.

Don’t be afraid to dig deep and give your words to God. Your story may be someone’s lifeline and a direct answer to an urgent prayer.


Andrea Merrell is Associate Editor for Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a freelance editor and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues. Andrea is the author of Murder of a Manuscript. The Gift, and Praying for the Prodigal. For more information visit or


  1. Thank you for sharing. I just started a blog this year and it has been healing. I write about raw realistic and true stories that have changed my life. God's healing is at the center of it. Cecil Murphy and a few other writers have taught me to be genuine to myself and to the reader. I have found hope reading stories of others pain and healing. May God continue to use your writing to heal.

    1. Cherrilynn, I believe being genuine as a writer is the way God takes our words and uses them to bring joy, comfort, and healing to others. Thank you for your encouraging comments. :)

  2. It is cathartic to write through the pain and it ministers to others who need comfort! 2 Cor. 1:3-4

    1. Thank you, Sally. Yes, it's amazing how much healing takes place when we pour out our heart on paper. Blessings to you. :)

  3. Andrea,

    Thank you for this post. I'm just beginning to understand how the hurts and heart aches I've experienced are the key to unlocking the fiction that lies within. Although exposing those hidden, sometimes secret places, is always difficult and sometimes painful, it has helped me understand certain things.

    I'm looking forward to incorporating that new knowledge into fiction when the time comes.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. It has not only been helpful; it's been encouraging.

    Best wishes,


  4. Carrie, using our life experiences and painful situations in fiction can strengthen our stories and give depth to our flawed characters. Readers want something real and relatable. So glad this was helpful and encouraging. :)