Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Writing Quotes that Inspire and Keep You Moving forward

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” ~ Frederich Buechner in “Wishful Thinking”

That place for me is as a purveyor of “Encouraging Words.” And while I am in the middle of an intense book deadline, the following wisdom from admired writers helps keep me going. May you find something here as well to encourage your soul and fill your pen…
*When you wonder if it’s worth it to keep writing…
"When the question comes, 'Are you still writing?' I hope your answer will always be, 'Of course I am writing. I am a writer.'  Tomorrow the sun will rise, God willing, and it will be time again for us to go to our tables. It will be time to pick up the pen or turn on the machine... There are stories that must be told and must be heard, stories waiting on you and me to do the telling. Tomorrow we will write, write and not waste time. We will make dark marks on the page, the gift to which we have been given, the gift that has been given to us. Tomorrow we will go dancing again. Dancing on the head of a pen." ~ Robert Benson in "Dancing on the Head of a Pen"

*When you struggle with putting together stories into a meaningful format…

“Writing is like canning is like life: preserving the present for future enjoyment, storing up today to use tomorrow. Writers rely daily on canned goods: our memories, for instance, as we rummage through our pantries for story, image, relevance. Writers gather the words, sort them on the tarp of paper or screen, run them through the hot bath of thought and analysis, of comparison and contrast. We peel and pare them, examine them, stuff them into containers, filled and sealed against the erosion of time. Protected from the forgetfulness that comes with passing seasons, a winter of deaths, a spring of new beginnings. And, those places of waiting for a new harvest of words to preserve for the future. Preserving. Canning. Here, we find it possible to once again break open the past for use in the present… With the succulent fruit of God’s faithfulness spilling over our palates, we taste and see, again and again, that the Lord is good.” ~ Jane Rubietta in “Worry Less So You Can Live More”

*When you ask yourself, ‘Who will miss my book if I don’t write it?’…
“A book is a soulish thing. It is physical – dots of ink and paper from old trees – and yet it feeds our minds and moves our wills. We read with our bodies; with our wills we choose to have our thoughts guided by the words of another person. Books connect us with ourselves and with others – and perhaps with God.” ~ John Ortberg in “Soul Keeping”

*When you are weary of the hard work and discipline of writing…
“You are going to have to give and give and give or there’s no reason for you to be writing. You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to have to be its own reward. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver.” ~ Anne Lamott in “Bird by Bird”

*When you are remembering all those who have influenced you to this point…
“A book is more a museum than a house. It’s full of other people’s treasures more than your own. It may be that the writer, like a museum curator, collects and arranges all the contents pleasingly, mounting artifacts in such a way as to draw attention to the small and curious details, explaining the wider significance of some otherwise nondescript relic or another, putting the masterpieces in their proper places. But mostly, he got the stuff elsewhere. Mostly, it’s all on loan. And even then, he had help gathering it, sorting it, setting it all up.”  ~ Mark Buchanan in “Spiritual Rhythm”

*When you wonder if your words can really make a difference…

“More than the painting you see or the music you hear, the words you read become in the very act of reading them part of who you are… If there is poison in the words, you are poisoned; if there is nourishment, you are nourished; if there is beauty, you are made a little more beautiful. In Hebrew, the word dabar means both word and also deed. A word doesn’t merely say something, it does something. It brings something into being.” ~ Frederich Buechner in “Wishful Thinking”

*When the writing seems overwhelming and you feel like giving up…
“Sometimes a task we have begun takes on seemingly crushing size, and we wonder whatever gave us the notion that we could accomplish it. There is no way out, no way around it, and yet we cannot contemplate actually carrying it through. The rearing of children or the writing of a book are illustrations that come to mind. Let us recall that the task is a divinely appointed one, and divine aid is therefore to be expected. Expect it! Ask for it, wait for it, believe that God gives it. Offer to Him the job itself, along with your fears and misgivings about it. He will not fail or be discouraged. Let His courage encourage you. The day will come when the task will be finished. Trust Him for it.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot in “A Lamp for My Feet”

The summer is almost over. What was your work in progress? 

I hope and pray these months have been a fruitful time for your writing. May these words encourage us to continue in our calling. I'd love for you to share a quote that has encouraged you. Be sure to leave it in the comments section below.


Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is the author of 11 books, contributing author to 25 books, and has published in more than 50 magazines. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she studied at the Wheaton Graduate School of Communication and served as Communications Specialist for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (Thailand) and Editor for Billy Graham’s International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists (Netherlands). A member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), she has received “Writer of the Year” awards from both Mt. Hermon and Blue Ridge Writers Conferences. Cindy speaks internationally through her ministry “Encouraging Words” and co-directs the New England Christian Writers Retreat. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England. Visit her online at www.EncouragingWords.net 


  1. Cindy, Thank you for sharing this. I have been praying for you all summer.

  2. Thank you for your prayers, Cherrilynn. Hope you are still writing too!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this inspiring email. I greatly appreciated it!

  4. These are so inspiring and encouraging. I especially loved this line by Frederich Buechner: " A word doesn’t merely say something, it does something. It brings something into being.”

  5. I loved the quotes and I'm bookmarking this page for future encouragement. I have many quotes posted around my desk. A favorite is 2 Corinthians 8:11-12. You asked what we worked on this summer. I've been applying finishing touches to a non-fiction children's book on WWII with supplementary lesson plans. I identified with the quote comparing writers to museum curators.
    Many times I have doubted, and questioned myself if the enormous amount of time I've invested will pay off, But God continues to crack open windows of opportunities. So, I keep raising those windows and pressing forward. I'm not sure where each window will lead me. All I can do is keep working at it until I feel a gentle, refreshing breeze from another of God's windows.

  6. Such an encouraging blog post! Thank you.

  7. You are point to the topic and well explained each points in a perfect way. I like the way you have written this article. Thank you so much for sharing...

  8. I love the opening quote by Frederich Buechner!

    God has been calling me to write for a number of years now, but due to lack of faith in myself, I never got started beyond writing for my personal growth. My eyes have been opened and now I see that is the first step in writing for others. Secondly, I know that I have to have faith in God and not myself. He gifted me with being able to write and I need to trust that He will fulfill my purpose. It is time t step out in obedience and see where He leads me.