Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Best Things About Being a Writer

by Henry Mclaughlin @RiverBendSagas

In my last blog, I wrote about reassessing where we are in our life journey in These Priorities in Our Lives Make Us Better Writers.

When we consider our writing life, it’s easy to focus on the negative things, the hard things. As I reassessed, I also thought of the good things about being a writer. Thus, the catchy title to this blog.

I identified what I consider four of the best things about being a writer. The best for me, anyway. I’m sure there are more. Each of us has a unique writing journey. This is mine.

Creating Stories

Creating stories is why I write. I welcome the challenge of doing something I thoroughly enjoy and doing it in obedience to God.

A large part of my process is letting new ideas marinate in my brain. I’ve shared how most of my story ideas come from images that pop into my brain. It’s usually the image of a person. Sometimes it’s a part of the story world, a part that grabs my interest.

My latest image is of a man standing in the doorway of an Old West saloon, drenched from the pouring rain. It’s late at night. He’s soaked, chilled, and hungry. His name is Joe Cooper. Why is he here the first question? And a story begins. I’ve written a couple of pages, but I’m waiting for Joe to tell me more.

Learning from the characters is part of this. About themselves. Their goals. Their values. How they see God. If they’re part of a series, it’s seeing how they’ve grown over the course of the series.

Building a story world is always fun for me. I enjoy the research that helps me make my stories unique and real to the reader.

Let’s not forget plotting. I’m a pantser, so the word plotting has a different meaning for me. For me, plotting is determining what my character wants and what is preventing him or her from getting it. What propels them into the story and what keeps them there?

The actual writing is a joyful release where all this pondering, marinating, brainstorming, and researching flows into reality on the screen before me.


Learning is one of the best aspects of writing. Learning about the craft and learning about people. There is a value in reading books and magazines and blogs, in following podcasts and webinars. We can learn so much about tools and techniques to improve our writing.

Brick and mortar bookstores are also a valuable resource. It’s fun to wander a local bookstore or a Barnes and Noble. More fun than browsing Amazon. Something unusual will catch my eye, or I’ll talk with a sales associate who loves books as much as I do. Chatting with other customers in the same aisle I’m in.

In-person conferences are awesome and I’m so grateful to God they’re making a comeback. We’re in that focused environment with teachers and other writers. Friendships and encouragement flow like a mountain stream.

Good critique groups are outstanding for sharing our work, learning about writing, and developing meaningful relationships.


Relationships are important because even though writing is very much a solitary practice, we can’t do it in a vacuum. We need people. Over the course of my writing journey, I’ve had outstanding teachers and mentors who stick with me. Fellowshiping with other writers builds bonds that help us when we feel alone. Working with agents, publishers, editors, and other professionals strengthens and educates us in learning the craft and the business of writing. For many of us, writing is a calling. We need to remember it is also work and these relationships help us navigate the river of the journey.

Helping Other Writers

For me, helping other writers is right up there with creating stories as one of the very best things about being a writer. When God makes a way for me to help another writer, it’s a way for me to pay forward for all those who helped me on the journey. Being active in a critique group is part of this. And God has opened so many other doors for me in this area: I mentor, coach, edit, and teach. I enjoy seeing other writers grow in the craft as I help them learn about who they are as authors and as I help them fine tune their calling to be servants of God as writers.

How about you? What are some of the best things for you about being a writer?


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 BLOG, TWITTER and FACEBOOK.

Featured Image: Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash


  1. Great words & list, Henry. From my own list is the satisfaction of helping nonwriting friends, family, & veterans tell their story for my memoirs and theirs. We all want their own words, but I'm happy to help them find enough comfort with the process to just tell it freely. Sometimes I record it on my cellphone, which they soon forget is there. I recently did this with a 100-year old friend who came here with her parents from Germany. And will be doing the same for a Vietnam pilot who wants to contribute to a book of vets stories. All are stories waiting, begging to be told - and preserved. Then I'll get involved with helping proofread the manuscripts. There are many joys and blessings ahead for all writers.
    Jay Wriight; Upstate, SC

  2. Amen to all of the above! Great article, Henry!

  3. We get to meet the most fascinating people while researching, interviewing, and writing for/with others.

  4. When I started writing, I thought the satisfaction would come from the act of creation. But the other things you've listed here, Henry, have become just as important. Jay Wright's comment above reminded me that I was asked to interview a WWII veteran and include an essay about his life and war experience in a book to be released by "Forever Young Veterans." After several telephone interviews in 2020, I felt I had come to know my 98-year-old interviewee, Charlie Henderson, as a hero and a friend. I wrote the piece and sent it to Charlie and his nephew. When Charlie passed away a few months ago, his nephew called to say how proud Charlie was of what I had written, and he had asked that copies be made to hand out at his funeral. I feel fortunate to have been a small part of that gentleman's life. (The book will be released on Veteran's Day this year.)

  5. So fun to tell the stories as they're inspired. And, yes, we pantsers wait on the characters to dictate our stories. Great post!

  6. One of my favorite things about being a writer is the ability to bring a smile to the reader. One of my other favorite things about being a writer is the ability to help lead the reader to know God. :-)