Thursday, March 26, 2020

Continue the Journey

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Continue the Journey has been my tag line since I first became serious about writing and printed my first business cards. 

Obviously it stems from my debut novel, Journey to Riverbend. But there’s more to it than just a gimmick to remind people about the book. (Did I mention my first book is Journey to Riverbend? Did I mention there’s a three book series?)

While I worked on the story of Michael and Rachel, the themes of the novel emerged in the characters’ lives. The themes of reconciliation, restoration, and self-forgiveness manifested as Michael and the posse pursued the kidnappers and Rachel battled and defeated her own demons of unworthiness back in town.

And the other theme that came out is life as a journey. More than the natural journey of birth to death. Or the journey from youth to adulthood, to career and family and responsibility. 

And I know this idea of life as a journey is not a sudden new revelation. It’s not the discovery of a workable warp drive or a transporter beam. Or even a food replicator.

Life is not just one journey. It is several. And they overlap and they impact each other and set us on a course. Or throw us off course if we let them. We decide which course as we walk out our journey.

Michael grew up in a violent family. And this violence continued in his life until he accepted Jesus. And his journey slowly turned. It wasn’t an immediate deliverance from his past behaviors. While no longer violent or abusive, he was still constrained by the guilt and shame of the man he had been to the point where it was difficult for him to be the man he needed to be. 

His Journey to Riverbend contains his first steps toward self-forgiveness and restoration. His journey is not finished at the end of Book One just as ours are not finished when we reach certain stages in our lives. Like Michael, we continue the journey to spiritual understanding and maturity everyday, to a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior, to fulfilling His plan for our lives. To doing us so God’s creation can be complete.

Some days we take a step back or slip off the road. Then we get back up and continue the journey to a more complete person, to the person God has called us to be in this life.

Where are you on your journey?

Continue the journey - insight on the #writing path from Henry McLaughlin, @RiverBendSagas on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Henry’s debut novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel contest.

Henry edits novels, leads critique groups, and teaches at conferences and workshops. He enjoys mentoring and coaching individual writers. 

Connect with Henry on his blogTwitter and Facebook.


  1. Henry,

    Thank you for this insight into your tag line Continue the Journey. It is impressive to me that you created a tag line (something many authors never do). I found myself agreeing with you--we have many different journeys. Persistence is a huge and important quality for every published writer.

    Get a FREE copy of the 11th Publishing Myth

    1. Thanks, Terry. I appreciate your insight about persistence. It's that never give up attitude that will see us through.

  2. As always, thanks Henry. Things in a different light for me. It really helps to think about several overlapping journeys and juggling (managing) them - for my characters and for me. More than one AHA here.
    Jay Wright; Anderson, SC

    1. Hi Jay. It blesses me that my words resonated with you.

  3. Henry, I'm glad you said the theme emerges from your characters journeys. I usually don't know the theme when I start writing. I have to complete the story to know, but my books are character driven and I rarely know how they will react to a given situation. I'm usually surprised.

    1. Thank you, Ane. I stopped trying to force a theme on my characters years ago. It's more exciting and real for the story to see them reveal their themes throughout the story.

  4. Great question Mr. Henry. Thank you for sharing your wisdom sir.

  5. Where am I on my journey?

    “Let me forever go in search of myself; never for a moment think that I have found myself; be a stranger to myself, never a familiar, seeking acquaintance still.” – Henry David Thoreau

    The closer I draw to Jesus, the more me I become. To me, this is true freedom.

    (Like the Henry quote? Read more in my out-of-context interview here:

  6. "Where are you on the journey?" It's an interesting question to ponder, Henry, during these days of the COVID19 crisis, when we all feel as if life is on hold. For now the journey is about choosing to trust God rather than becoming anxious -- a day by day choice. It's looking for reasons to be grateful. Life has slowed down, but that's all the more reason to be intentional about what I say and do each day.

  7. Thanks, Beth. I appreciate how you applied this blog to what we're experiencing today.