Thursday, March 28, 2024

Proverbs for Writers

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

There is so much wise counsel in the book of Proverbs. Like many believers, I spend time in this book almost every day. Sometimes a single verse or a few verses grab my attention. Other times, I’ll read an entire chapter. Often, what I read will speak to a specific area in my life. The following are some verses I believe apply to all of us, but especially those of us who are pursuing the dream of being writers.

For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12 (NLT)

We are writing for the Lord in response to the call he has placed on us. Some of us do it enthusiastically. Some of us not so much. Perhaps we’ve become discouraged by the struggles of getting published.

Remember, the Lord loves us, and he delights in us when we do our best to answer his call. And he corrects us. Maybe writing is frustrating because we’re trying to write in an area God hasn’t called us to write in. Perhaps we’re focusing on devotionals or inspirational books when he wants us to write fiction.

Wherever the Father calls us to write, he has a plan to use our words to inspire and guide our readers into closer relationships with him. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, but if we’re not in the area he wants, writing will feel like trying to go forward with one shoe nailed to the floor. We’ll only go in circles.

Maybe we believe we can’t write in the area he wants us to write in. Then we trust in his correction and his guidance. He won’t call us to do something without equipping us. It might be hard. You can count on it being hard. But he is doing it for our good, to build our character, and to build his kingdom. It’s a call to persevere.

As Paul wrote, we are all part of the body of Christ, and we each have our unique place. If we step out of that place, he will correct us because he loves us, and he delights in us. After all, each of us is his favorite child.

To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction. Proverbs 12:1 (NLT) 

It’s rare for the Bible to use the word “stupid.” Some translations use the word “foolish.” Is there that much of a difference?

Hebrews 12:11 (NLT) takes us a little deeper into this concept: “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”

Receiving and implementing discipline is hard. Often, we have to give up behaviors and attitudes that are very dear to us. But they aren’t working. At least in our writing. So, we need to learn new disciplines to become the writers God has called us to be.

Proverbs for Writers

I’ll leave you with these final thoughts in the form of proverbs:
  • He who learns the craft through correction and discipline shall produce stories worth reading.
  • A writer seeks counsel (discipline and correction) and feedback, for in these are strength and wisdom.
  • A writer who walks in humility is wise and will grow in skill, talent, and ministry.
  • Be blessed as you continue your writing adventures in God.

What proverbs—either Biblical or from another source or written by yourself—help you be the best writer you can?


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.


  1. Excellent article, Henry! Thank you for this honest advice, encouragement, and wisdom.

  2. Thank you for this. I like your paragraph saying maybe we're not writing in the genre God wants for us. Wow. That is a new thought. Now, I write book reviews and blog posts, but I used to write middle-grade fiction stories about a make-believe missionary family in Africa. I wrote 12. I loved writing them, but it seemed the inspiration dried up. Could I be meant to do something with those now?

    My "Proverb" is actually from Psalm 34:11 - "Come, O children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD." ESV

  3. I love the Book of Proverbs. I read a chapter whose number corresponds to the day's date almost every day. While your examples about discipline are wonderful, I also like what the proverbs say about endurance: "for the righteous falls seven times and rises again," -- Proverbs 24:16. A good one for writers.