Thursday, April 23, 2020

What Inspires Me as a Writer?

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Like many writers, I’m frequently asked what inspires me to write. Often, this goes far beyond the specific book they’ve been reading.

Some authors might respond, “I need to earn a living.” Although few writers actually support themselves with their writing. So what inspires them to get up every day and sit with computer or pen and paper to gather words that will tell stories?

What inspires the plumber, the carpenter, the lawyer, the teacher, the mechanic, the nurse, the pastor to go to work every day?

Earning a living is part of it to be sure. But I think there is something else motivating them. And they may not even know it. I think the drive is to serve; to share the expertise and talents God has given us to help others on their life journey. They may not see it this way. They may be as far from God as the Moon is from Earth. He is still able to use them.

What inspires us? A grammatically-challenged yet clich├ęd answer many authors give is: “I can’t not write.” Well, that’s not always true for everybody. 

I’m a writer, but there have been occasions when I’ve stopped writing for a period of time, which turned into lengthy spans of weeks and months. 

There are also times when I want to quit writing all together. At those moments, God will send someone across my path, frequently my wife, who will kick my butt and tell me to get over myself and do what God’s called me to do. Which is to write with a specific purpose.

The themes of restoration and redemption and reconciliation flavor my novels and short stories. The Lord has led me to explore these concepts through fiction. I strive for my stories and novels to contain real truth about who we are, what we strive for, how we struggle to get there.

My goal is for my characters and the experiences they go through to provide hope to the reader. My characters are flawed, just like real people. My characters face challenges and obstacles that are as overwhelming as the ones we face every day. Yet they find a way through them.

Many of my characters are still flawed at the end of the book. But along the way they’ve experienced redemption, their lives have been restored, they’ve reconciled past hurts. They’ve been healed emotionally and spiritually. They’ve made steps toward forgiveness. Not completely, but they are on their way. Which is my tag line Continue the Journey is so important to me.

God inspires me to write to offer encouragement to my readers, to show hope even in the most dire situations, to help the reader see the way ahead and to take the first steps on the path God has for them.

What inspires you to do your job every day? 

What Inspires Me as a Writer? - 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. What motivates me is wanting to write stories that inspire and entertain.
    What inspires me to keep going is the faith that I will get there and touch somebody the same way so many authors have inspired me.

  2. Well said Mr. Henry. Let us not forget the reason we started writing to begin with. For many, I pray, it's because we've been called to it. In my life, I've started this writing journey because I firmly believe God called me to use the talents and gifts He's blessed me with to help others. You're right in saying sometimes we need to take a break, but let us never forget why we write and who we write for. Thank you for your encouraging words sir.

    1. Thank you, J.D. I'm blessed by your response and I admire your dedication.

  3. What inspired me as a writer? I found a story in the little town in Iowa where I was born based on my Grandmother Bernadine's life. Living with the three "P's) - Patience, Persistence, People's help, and Prayers - and of course, faith in God, my novel will soon be released in print form. I thank God daily and keep asking for His help. I truly enjoyed your article and found it helpful.

    1. Thank you, Diane. I pray for the success of your novel.

  4. I am inspired every day by wanting to share God's love with others. Whether through a humorous blog post or a more serious message, I pray God will give me the words He wants me to share.

    1. Amen, Melissa. I want him to control my fingers on the keyboard.