Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Why You Need Writer Friends

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

I recently spoke on a conference panel about the importance of being a writer (and speaker) in community. Reflecting back over a lifetime in this calling, I realized how passionate I am about not going it alone. So, today I’d love to share with you some reasons why you need writer friends.

10 Reasons You Need Writer Friends

1. Writing is a lonely profession. You already know this. Hours and hours alone with your computer on top of the isolation of a worldwide pandemic have rendered you desperate for real time face-to-face with those who understand the challenges and joys of your calling. This is normal even at the best of times. But we especially need people in the worst of times. Develop deep friendships now and remember the best way to have a friend is to be a friend. So, reach out to that loner.

2. Imposter Syndrome is real. I don’t know a single author/speaker who hasn’t at one time, or another struggled with wondering if she’s enough. Surely someone is going to catch her out and loudly proclaim, “You are not a real writer!” Insecurity from comparison and competition are the death knell for our ministry as Christ’s messenger. So, we need others to help us live authentically—to point out our unique contribution and style so that we can have a healthy confidence in our true identity.

3. We don’t know what we don’t know. Even though we have learned a lot in this profession, there are always things we don’t know. And some of the time, we are even ignorant of what’s out there. That is, until another writer begins to talk about something like her website “lead magnet” and we learn a whole new term and avenue of ministry! Proverbs reminds us that we can be like “iron sharpening iron” as we share our knowledge with one another and call our colleagues to excellence.

4. Other brains are needed in brainstorming. You might spend hours playing with words to come up with just the right book title, or retreat series topics, but how much richer is this kind of brainstorming when we do it with others of like passion? Whatever you call it, gathering with other people to creatively come up with concepts and focus help all our projects. Don’t just consult a thesaurus—grab a real person and start exploring the best words possible!

5. There are different gifts in the body of Christ. We write differently and we lead differently. The Bible mentions many different spiritual gifts and while we may possess a few, no one has them all. So, be sure to gather a team around you that have been gifted in various ways in order to fill in all the gaps for you—both in your personal devotion and accountability, and your professional expertise. By the way, this is also what makes life so utterly enjoyable—I would hate to spend all my time with people just like me.

6. Balanced perspective. Have you ever wondered why other people don’t understand what is so crystal clear to you? In a world where there are many different opinions and beliefs on just about every issue, we need to draw discerning people around us—those who remind us of other world views, other life experiences, other perspectives. By being more inclusive in your research and sensitivity, your writing will ultimately draw a greater audience.

7. Prayer support. To whom can you confidentially ask for prayer when there’s a sensitive issue between you and your publisher, agent, or fellow author? To whom can you confidentially cry out to when a personal family issue has derailed you completely from ministry commitments? We need others who stand in the gap deeply in prayer for us. This might be individual friends or even a ministry prayer team. Don’t underestimate their importance and do offer to pray for them as well.

8. Making connections. No matter how many friends you have in the writing world, there is always room for more connections. So, go to each event not only to gather with old friends, but to always reach out to the beginners, the first timers, as well as industry professionals. Greet and begin to know them not for what they can do for you, but just to be a welcoming presence. Then again, you never know how God can orchestrate an amazing opportunity from someone-who-knows-someone-who-knows you.

9. Fresh eyes. Every time you read through and edit your current work, it seems to get better and better and by now you think it must be absolutely perfect. I assure you; it is not. Yet. You need someone else with fresh eyes to read your work, listen to your presentation, or even review your proposed website update. Once again, this is so valuable because fresh eyes see new things that we have become blinded to. You then get to choose which advice to follow.

10. An opportunity to give back. There are so many ways our lives are enriched, and our work improved through our writing friends, but this last reason may be the most important of all. We get to be a friend to someone else. We are allowed to enter their lives, see their passion and vision, speak into them encouragement and challenge, help bear their burdens, and celebrate their joys. It doesn’t get any better than that.

I have been a professional writer and speaker since my first job out of university as an editor for Carolina Country Magazine. Reflecting on these past forty years of writing and speaking, I recall many times when I might have given up, crumbled from a single failure, or simply not known the next step to take. If not for my writer friends. Please believe me when I urge you to be part of a community as you fulfill your calling as God’s messenger. This is the Jesus way, and you will be mutually blessed and strengthened on your journey together.


Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 15 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her award-winning books include Soul Strong, Life-Giving Choices, Dwelling Places, and Ordinary Graces. Lucinda, a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and AWSA, received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs monthly for ‘The Write Conversation.’ 

Whether coaching writers and speakers, pouring into young mamas, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. As a communications teacher, she has served on the faculty of Speak Up Conference, Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Florida Christian Writers Conference, Asheville Christian Writers Conference and co-directs the annual spiritual retreat reNEW – retreat for New England Writing & Speaking. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, McDowell shares words from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at WWW.LUCINDASECRESTMCDOWELL.COM


  1. Oh, do I treasure my writing friends. A must for every moment of a writer's life. Thank you!

  2. These are great reminders. We're not meant to write in a bubble.