Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Importance of a Listening Place for Writers

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Every day our ears are bombarded with sound—traffic, radio, television, kids, work, school, church. Almost everything comes with sound. Many times, it becomes white noise. Something that’s always there, sounds we no longer distinguish as being music or voice. We adjust and adapt. Or we block it out.

But there are times when writers need solitude and silence. We need places where we can sit and listen. These places don’t happen by default. They are conscious, intentional decisions we need to make.

A listening place is a location where we are able to do focused and purposeful listening. Sometimes, our focus might be on listening to music to calm us or to help us meditate. When I’m wanting to hear from God, I find instrumental praise and worship music most helpful. If the music has lyrics, it distracts me because I start listening to the words instead of to God. Your experience may be different. Both kinds of music are on just about every streaming music service.

And God wants quiet time with us. He hears our prayers all day long, but there are times when he wants to speak directly to us. He desires relationship with us. And relationship requires communication. And communication requires spending time with the other person to talk and, more importantly, to listen. How do we provide it to him? How do we make ourselves available to listen to him?

When we had kids at home, my wife and I waited until the children settled into their quiet time in the evening. When they were young, it was when they were asleep. As they grew, it became the time they did homework. My wife and I would squirrel away in our bedroom and talk about things that required serious conversation without distractions. And sometimes we sent the kids outside to play to get some time alone. This was back in the day when you could do that and not have Protective Services banging on your door. 

In a marriage or any relationship that it’s important to us, we do it by design and on purpose. If we wait for the opportunity to come, it never will. We have to go after it with a club and protect it. And it will be different for each of us.

My wife and I are both retired now. Our kids are grown and scattered across the country. We’ve grown into a routine. We begin each day in quiet time with God. Then we come together as a couple over breakfast and we talk. We share what we saw in our quiet time. We talk about our relationship and how we can keep it strong. We discuss our dreams and plans. And we try to figure the best way to get through the day facing us and not lose touch with each other during the busyness.

My quiet time with God has evolved over the years from practically none to a time of prayer and meditation and journaling. Now, I make the conscious effort to listen to him. 

I urge you to find your listening spot and time. Examine your schedule and your living environment. Is there a time and place you can reserve for time with our Father? If it doesn’t look like it, become aggressive. Make adjustments and carve out time and a place to sit and listen to God. Then protect that time and preserve it for
him and you.


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. Thank you for sharing this, Henry. Such an important reminder! Our lives are so much richer when we carve out intentional time with God.

  2. In the busyness of life, it is so important to make time for quietness and listening to God speak to us. Thank you for this reminder.

  3. Crystal, thank you for your comment. Listening time with God is so important to our spirit and our writing. Blessings.

  4. Thank you for your comment, Crystal. The key is to make the time to be with God, just like we make the time to write.