Thursday, August 27, 2020

Proverbs for Writers: BE a Writer

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

This is another in my periodic series on proverbs for writers. The inspiration comes from the book of Proverbs and how a particular verse strikes me. I don’t go looking for them. And I’m not looking to preach. I’m seeking to share a word from God that applies to me at the moment and may be relevant to you as well.

Today’s proverb is from 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.

Recently I was talking with someone who said she wanted to write a book. And how often have we heard that? When we share we are writers with others, we frequently hear the comment, “I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I can’t find the time.” Or, “I’ve got a brilliant idea for a book. Write it for me.” Most of our acquaintances never move past this talking stage.

As I talked with this person, it became clear she had a superb idea for a book aimed at other professionals in her field. 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. 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. It’s almost like they envy us. Until we share how we carve out the time to write.

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, “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 would you convey this to someone who tells you they want to write a book but haven’t moved past the talking stage?


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. Your words are very inspiring and useful. I plan to put them to good use. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Diane. Blessings on your writing journey.

  2. Have always loved the idea behind the term "divine appointment" Mr. Henry. You are so right sir; we have to look for those opportunities to share Christ in someone else's life. By writing, and not just wishing to, we have an opportunity to do that. I often wonder how many people I may meet in heaven one day because of something I wrote. Won't that be a wonderful blessing?

    1. Yes, it will be an awesome blessing, J.D. I pray you keep being productive in you journey of writing.