To New Writers, With Love

After a fourteen-month break and a gracious God willing, I’m about to duck my head back under a stack of books and commentaries and drain a heap of ink cartridges dry as I peck, type, and tap my fingernails on my desk toward another Bible study. When I was 30 years old, the thought of the first one never occurred to me. After that one was finished and originally placed on a shelf, I didn’t imagine a second one.

It’s not that writing had never crossed my mind. I’ve been obsessed with the feel of a pencil sliding across a page since my earliest memories. My young childhood years were spent on a hill in Arkadelphia, Arkansas in a small house splitting at the seams with eight people and tickled in the ribs by pine needles. I must have swung a thousand miles on the stuffed burlap bag my dad hung by a rope from an oak’s flexing bicep. I’d twist the rope as tightly as I could then hop on the bag and twirl around in dizzying circles with my head reared back, rope unwinding, and hair flying. And life has gone by pretty much like that ever since.

Because my maternal grandmother lived with us, my mom wasn’t obliged to stuff all of us kids in the station wagon every time she went to the grocery store. On occasion, however, I’d beg to go with her and she’d let me. There was a little gray plastic horse with a red saddle and loose brown rein that I’d befriended at the auspicious entrance to the Piggly Wiggly. Most of the time, I’d stay perched right there on his rigid back until the checker dug herself out from under an avalanche of groceries, can by can. A child was safer to let go of her mother’s skirt in those days. While she was inside fetching buttermilk, pork ‘n beans, and light bread, I was outside hugging that plastic horse so fiercely that sometimes flecks of chipped paint would stick to my arms and legs until my next scrubbing.  That would occur the next Saturday night.

We, of course, were forced to bathe or shower every day and we often did so two by two, rather like a reverse Noah’s Ark. The youngest of five girls in the house, I might get thrown in with anyone from six years old to seventy-five. A disembodied voice would yell, Can I throw Bethy in there? Then the next thing I knew, a hand would appear ex nihilo and snatch me through the heavy veil. But there was a fearsome thing in our household called “the Saturday bath.” You didn’t come out of that one unscathed.

What skin you had left when it was over was usually exfoliated by the brisk drying off. It was something akin to the flaps in a car wash. The other six days a week I don’t even recall dry-before-dressed being a top priority but, come Saturday night, cleaning was a near killing. The water, however, was only phase one of the ritual. We girls then sat in a row at my mother’s feet while she pin-curled our hair so tight our eyes would turn to slits. All this was so that we’d look fancy for church the next morning. She also pin curled Nanny’s hair and had done so for years. That Nanny only had about 73 hairs left on her whole head was no wonder to me. I often pictured waking up on Sunday morning, crawling out of bed, and the pin curls remaining right there on the pillowcase completely intact, broken off at the roots.

Years passed before I realized that the horse outside the Piggly Wiggly would have rocked back and forth for the better part of a minute if somebody rolled a nickel into it. My mom could still laugh herself into a coughing fit about that very thing till the year she died. That old stiff beast wasn’t my only motivation anyway. I also hitched a ride for the Big Chief Tablet. If my four siblings and I hadn’t frazzled Mom down to her last nerve and pitched her into an absolutely not, I could usually harass one out of her with incessant incantations of pretty-pretty-please. There could also be measurable success if we kids had managed to break her will.  You had to play it just right since she was like most moms. Sometimes you didn’t know if it was resignation or rage until you were decidedly sorry you’d asked.  However I attained it, as soon as I had that tablet in hand and back home on the hill, I’d snatch a pencil from the kitchen drawer, sharpen it, and scribble for hours until every single line was filled on every last page.

Five and six years old, I wrote fastidiously in my own brand of cursive. Mind you, I hardly knew how to spell a word with basic print, let alone write in cursive but how could any literature be taken seriously in disjointed characters? So, I made up my own script, big on curlicues, loop de loops, ocean waves and dolphin fins. This was not the stuff of Christian books penned with a fury there in the dark red shadow of the Big Chief. My books were more inclined toward elementary romance novels. They involved characters like Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza and probably me, and Barbie’s dark-plastic-brown-headed Ken and probably me, and a host of doll babies or trolls and probably me. I would stare off into space a little while, mutter and ponder, then throw my head down dramatically and scribble for all I was worth.

Writing came easier back then.

As I grew up, my interests widened. I loved English and social studies and student government. I eventually got my undergraduate degree in political science with thoughts of going on to law school and threw in a teacher’s certificate to boot but, with any musing time at all, I still scribbled and doodled on every bare inch of paper. My official writing days were now long behind me, leaving soirees with Big Chiefs in a smattering of dust. I’m not sure when it first hit me that I might write a Christian book but, even then, those pages were scribbled out of a romance – the most enduring one I’ve ever had – and not without copious curlicues and loop de loops.

I’ve never mastered writing. I read the works of others and say with much admiration, now that’s a real writer.  But this many excursions in, I am no longer naïve about what these many months ahead are going to take. So, I’m steadying myself, taking a deep breath, and whispering underneath it, “Well, here we go again” and all with that inseparable mixture of stomach-churning dread and it’s-great-to-be-back hope. This is what I love. And this is what I sometimes hate. Well, that’s not true. Hate is too strong a word but on occasion it does occur to me that there are work-lives that could be substantially less stressful and less dependent on an endless list of variables like mood, atmosphere, weather, relative-quietness-versus-too-much-quietness where you can hear the clock ticking louder and louder until it sounds like an ear-splitting gong in a torture chamber. Under most circumstances, you need just the right inspiration for just the right amount of time, not to mention exactly enough pain to stir up some passion but not so much that you consider killing yourself. Or at least seriously.  And that’s another thing. You have to read and reread any whimsical sentence you write for fear that someone will take what you said too seriously and pass a kidney stone over it.

Writing can be a hard, grueling profession. It has moments of beauty, mystery, and emotion so strong that you can’t see the screen but, nipping at their very heels are harassing fears that you might not have another. That you’ve started a book you can’t finish. And worse yet, you told someone you’re writing a book and now it appears that the devil could die of frostbite before you can construct another intelligible sentence.

I feel this strange sensation of dread and hope every time I start to write something of any length but only in the last few journeys have I thought intently about you.  About you new writers, you lovers of words, stirred of heart and mind to lasso your swirling thoughts onto a page, let them be still, and wonder if anyone on earth will care to actually read them. And, if they do, will they ridicule them? I think of you now because of the groundswell of obstacles that have emerged out of a giant social earthquake. A dazzling mountain range has jumped in the path between the first word of every decent book and its last. Its lung-searing climb, its slippery summit, and harrowing descent are woefully beyond the muscle of the weak-willed.

Many of you are young enough to know no other writing world but this one. Others of us have been around long enough to recognize the glaring climate changes. A dyed-in-the-wool sanguine, I feed off a social frenzy with all the patience of a crackhead just like other people-persons do. I love it. I crave it. I’m just saying it’s next to impossible to actually eek out a decent book in the batting eye of it.  Long-term writing has always been difficult but these present winds, they are a-blowin’, and those of us who insist on keeping every window wide open will have our pens whipped into knots and our floors swept by swooshes of blank pages.

Because one thing will never change.

A decent piece of writing demands concentration.

It’s hard – not impossible but hard – to bring it to completion with a semblance of originality and, Lord, help us, anointing amid the constant cacophony. Amid unhindered choruses of…

Oh, for a thousand texts to ping.


There’s a tweet, tweet spirit in this place.

Others are more qualified to speak to this than I. Obviously, I’m just putting off the first sentence of a project with one last rabbit-chase. I have no great word on lasting penmanship in a frenetic climate. My take on the subject comes from my own subjective experience and perspective. For that handful of you who have hung on this long, however, I’m going to throw a few things on the counter that I have learned along the way (true to frustrating form, the hard way). This is why: because I believe in you young writers and in you not-so-young-but-new writers. I see great men and women of God out there with things to say that need to be documented into a format with a shelf life longer than an iPhone upgrade. So, here goes.

Writing a book will be harder than you think and take longer than you want.

You very often will lose passion for the project somewhere in the middle of it and even sprint mentally in a mad blaze toward a new direction and new title. Expect it. It’s completely normal and, on occasion, projects really do need to be abandoned. Maybe God’s just not in it. Maybe it was better off as a blog post or a thought-worthy entry on Tumblr. Maybe we didn’t think it through and mistook it for a long-term project. It just wasn’t the right direction. We miss it sometimes. But, more often, the maddening ebb is part of the writing process that you must work and pray and cry and press through until the fire returns because, if you don’t? Well, if you don’t, you will start fifteen books and finish none of them. And, if you do, your blaze for the project will often boomerang with a satisfaction that plunges all the deeper because you fought the demon and won. In the immutable words of Hebrews 10:36, you need to persevere.

You have to factor in more than writing time. Decent writing requires much more time than it takes to actually type the sentences. Decent writing requires thinking and spinning and mulling and living and watching and listening and experiencing and reaching. These bring the strokes to the page that turn the transfer of information into true connection.

Limitless opportunities have come with the global blast of information and communication. What believer couldn’t entertain the notion that God may have foreordained all this access for the purpose of Gospel wall-leaping? It’s a gorgeous thing. But omnipresence is a burden only God can bear. Insisting on being ten places at once for twenty hours a day for weeks on end will ultimately make aloneness almost intolerable. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean we’ll never hear from God since He can well reveal Himself in corporate contexts. It just means that we will less likely sense what He’s trying to communicate to us personally and use us to communicate to someone else. The Biblical art of meditating can turn a parched cistern into a fountainhead.

I meditate on all You have done; I ponder the work of Your hands. I stretch out my hands to You; my soul thirsts for You like a parched land. Psalm 143:5-6

Turn to the psalmists and trace with your fingertips the times they talk about meditating on God and His precepts, His ways, His acts, and the human condition with and without Him.  Study the contexts. See the results. The loss of such an art may be gradual but make no mistake. It will also be incalculable.

The NIV translates Jesus’ words in John 12:49 in terms that stand up on the page like a pop-up book for any believer hoping to communicate.

For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.

Only Jesus is capable of speaking solely what the Father has commanded but a concept dripping from it like honey is enough to wet the tongue of the driest human mouth: Communicating is not only about what to say. It’s about how to say it.

That takes pondering. And pondering takes time. The word “Godspeed” may be the most overlooked oxymoron in the English language. He rarely does. Speed, I mean.

Panic only exacerbates inevitable waves of writer’s block. I don’t care how elementary and predictable this piece of advice is going to sound. When it happens – and it will – get up from your desk, down on the floor, tell God your struggle and pray for Him to move you past the block. Then, as you get up from the floor, thank Him for His kindness and mercy and complete dependability. The block may pass right away. It may not pass until the next day. Or week. Or month. But, if the project is from God, the boulder will most definitely tumble from the path and, when it does, you’ll know who kicked it. Appropriately, God wants us to credit Him with every victory. Hasten to it.

Do the work. Study. Prepare. Don’t have all of your research done by someone else. The discovery itself is often the gift.

God will most often take the message we’re writing and prove us genuine by hammering the themes relentlessly on the anvil of our souls. Does it say anything that I had to type the word “anvil” very slowly to keep from writing “advil”?  Knowing how much time to allow on the manuscript due-date for a holy hammering is hard to navigate but, whenever it’s finished, it will be ten times the untested version. Oh, I know, I know. We all hope we’ve already lived the process in advance which is why we feel qualified to speak to it in book form but, from my experience, that’s a sweet dream.  If we sow to our flesh we’ll reap the flesh. Only if we go to the extra trouble to sow to the Spirit will we reap something of authentic, eternal spiritual value.

Submit to the angst of decent editing. That means we have to let our works and ourselves be critiqued. Criticized. Questioned. Challenged. A good editor can be a solid gold pain in the neck that we oughtn’t to want to trade for all the e-book space in the universe. Think of all we’ve gotten in trouble for saying, then think of all we could have said. Lord, help me. An editorial cut can sometimes swerve you right out of the path of a flatbed trailer full of fertilizer. If we don’t trust our editor enough to give us some pretty solid advice, we really do need to seek a new one. Some statements are well worth fighting for and it can come down to finding a different way to say them. Other times authors might get their way with an editorial disclaimer we shouldn’t take lightly: “Ok, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” A number of statements along the way have been worth some controversy to me but some of the things that have hurled me into the hottest water weren’t even important to me. Many words, much folly.

Perfectionism will snuff the flame. Period. Give it up. It’s cheating us out of hearing your genuine voice.

These are a few reasons why we may never read books by some of the greatest writers on the planet. Some are too narcissistic to take the criticism, too undisciplined to see it through the dry spells, or too committed to greatness to settle for publishing something good.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. We don’t have to strive for fabulous. Purely doing some good can be really great.

Just one more.

Don’t just think twice before you sign a multi-book contract. Think fifty times. Resist it at all costs (see below) unless God writes a go across the sky. As tempting as the sight may be, God may not spell go like this:


God can lead His children any way He pleases. You could flourish under conditions that I find crushing. But, for me, there’s nothing like the pressure to write that leaves me with fewer things to say. God is all-powerful, compassionate, mysterious, and sometimes almost humorous. He freely admits to the enjoyment of showing the wise foolish and the foolish wise. He can do anything He wants any way He wants but, as a general rule, holy passion is a better guide than human pressure. It is dangerous to sign contracts for unwritten books. And taking money for them can burn a hole right through the lining of your stomach.

So. I guess I’ve put off the process long enough and will go get to it. Maybe all this rambling was just a reminder to me. Thanks for giving me the space to hash it out.


Ecclesiastes 12:12 says, Of making many books there is no end.


And I – more reader than writer – for one am glad.

Write on, sister or brother. Don’t wait for a publisher or a book deal. A true writer has to write even with no one to read. Scribble down rogue phrases and incomplete sentences as they come whether or not they seem strung together. Write on the backs of sales receipts or the palm of your other hand. Just write! That book is in there somewhere.

If it seems slow, wait for it. (Habakkuk 2:3)

And when it comes, may God speak.




306 Responses to “To New Writers, With Love”

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  1. 201
    Rozanne Gaston says:

    Beth! I am so excited you are settling into another time of writing, because we will reap the benefits from it. Each and every teaching you offer to us is an anointing of God’s, as it goes forth and produces much fruit for His kingdom. I give thanks for your obedience and your passion for Him and your calling! I pray for you and your family that you receive many blessings and take time for sabbath rest!
    I can not wait to hear what your topic is this time, as I will be first in line to learn and let his Word take root in my heart. God bless you!

  2. 202

    As a newbie author whose debut novel just released this past May (I had the honor of giving you a copy when you came to the Quad Cities), can I just say how much I love this post?? Completely resonated.

    I grew up with a pencil in my hand. My mom still has crates of notebooks filled with half-written stories in her basement.

    Random side note, I’m LOVING the Mercy Triumphs study. Don’t want it to end!!

  3. 203
    Genevieve Garrison says:

    Thank you for this, Beth. I love your writing. Are you writing another book? How about incorporating your writings into a devotional Bible. 🙂 Just a thought.
    Thank you for your writing… and to Jesus, thank you for YOUR writing in the best book in the universe!

  4. 204
    Twinsmamma aka Kelly says:

    Wow, Beth – I sure do love to watch you (DVDs, simulcasts, online), listen to you (discs, podcasts, online), and read you (books, blogs, and especially Bible studies!).

    Keep writing, girlfriend! I pray God keeps ya writing till He comes for us or you go home to Him! You are such a blessing to so many!! I hope you realize – I hope you feel the love, appreciation, and admiration that I and many others feel for you!

    On another note… if you’re ever in need of a proofreader, I’d be oh so absolutely elated to be of assistance! 😉

    I recently finished James – AWESOME!! It truly helped me in more ways than one. Most noteably my relationship with Our Lord, as well as helping me climb out of a very long ‘pit’ of depression. I am eager to try to memorize the Book of James. I would love to have that whole book, word-for-word, in my brain!

    Keep writin’ Sista!

    With love,

  5. 205
    Lisa Jacobs says:

    Can’t wait for this!

  6. 206
    Dee Dee Wike says:

    Beth, thank you for sharing your heart on a subject important to those of us who have written, are writing, or dare to dream of writing a book. Having written two devotional books, with a third in production, I can relate to God hammering out His truths on the anvil of my life. I wouldn’t trade one pain, though, for the closeness each has brought to our relationship and the ability to write words of encouragement to help others face their own challenges. What a journey it has been! I will be praying for your project, knowing as always that God’s anointing will be on it and many lives will be blessed and changed because of it.

  7. 207

    Beth, thanks for this.

    First, YOU are a great writer. Don’t consider yourself second-rate. This post alone shows how you capture images beautifully and communicate them to the reader in interesting ways.

    Second, I know God wants me to write. I’ve been writing a spiritual blog for a couple of years. I feel like He has more for me. I don’t know what. I don’t know when. I teach Bible studies as well. I think He wants to use the writing and the teaching in concert. But I don’t know any details beyond that. I feel a bit paralyzed or stuck “just” writing the blog and “just” teaching Bible to a group of 20 women each week. Please pray for His divine direction and my sensitivity to His leading.


  8. 208
    Delta Ryan says:

    My mother died 12 years ago and she started a book a few years before of her amazing life. She overcame great odds and became a nurse and went to Liberia, West Africa by herself in her 20’s to run a leprosy clinic…that was just the beginning of her adventures. She adopted me when she was 42 in 1968. She was a strong type A persnality and on her death bed from pancreatic cancer she begged me to promise to finish her book. She got all the way up to my adoption and said I could finish the rest. I resisted because of a 100 reasons but she was persistant and one day my beloved pastor took a songbook which looks like a bible and made me swear to finish the book to give my dear mother some rest. I did and I was going to kill him 🙂 Just this past year I found my birth family and what a story it is. Also just returned from my first trip to Africa with my half sister and finally after ten years of searching found my call to ministry. I feel God wants me to help the orphans after they leave the orphanage and protect them and fight for their education. Just finished reading “half the sky” and I do not know how but I”m going to fight for these women and girls who have no voice. I feel I am supposed to write a book/finish my mom’s to help fund the ministry…The problem is I HATE WRITING. Huge reader but not a good writer. Thanks for the instruction and advise. All things are possible with God.

  9. 209
    Dana Matas says:

    Thank you Beth for sharing this valuable life experience with us new writers. You’ve been such an inspiration to me. To know that I’ve experienced some of the things you’ve mentioned, gives me hope that I’m on the “write” track (pun intended). You’ve blessed many with this post!

    I don’t know if you read these comments but I’d LOVE you to visit my blog sometime and leave a note!

    I pray your next study is fully inspired by the Holy Spirit and look forward to completing it.


  10. 210

    Bonhoeffer wrote: “The success of the sermon (your words) is utterly dependent on the God Who breaks through and grasps us or we cannot be grasped.” I am a grasped woman because of several of your bible studies. Deut 32:47 ~ your words are not idle, they are your very life, so obvious!

    So enjoyed this post and answered you out loud about 7 times. I’ll file it away cause there is a book pecked out in my heart. I’ve courted a life-long love affair with words. If our Beautiful God beckons “Gospel wall-leaping” then I’ll write—for my walls are down to invite others to so much more. I’ve already written ten thousands of words that no one reads but I’m not invisible. I’m grasped. And I thank you. Meanwhile, Psalm 62:5 with you, I wait quietly.

  11. 211
    Teri says:

    I am so excited to see how God is going to use you through the written word again Miss Beth! Each year I ask my husband to buy me one of your bible studies as a little treat! And this year I can’t wait to discover God a little bit more through one of your studies. Best of luck and know I’m praying for you!

  12. 212

    Beth, I adore you. I wrote a book back in 2007 … have only been able to get it on one publisher’s desk – declined. But I still work on it. Don’t know what God will do with it. But because of that work, He opened a door for me to interview missionaries and write about their lives to share their work in the remotest locations. For that … I am so thankful. Writing one book … feeling I was following God’s lead, led to the real calling God had for me for this season. I’m still in awe. And oh, how he used YOU in my life …

  13. 213
    Henrietta Frankensee says:

    Wow! God is on the move! Just this Friday at Sharon Souza, one of six published writers from Canada and the US who blog about all things Writer/Christian and Christian/Writer wrote about YOU, Miss Beth! She is enjoying your Esther study and learned the word ‘peripety’ from you.
    I commented on her post that we should invite you, Miss Beth, to join us in the community. You will not find a friendlier, more encouraging, sweet, Jesus filled bunch of writer men and women anywhere in cyberspace.
    Then I found this exhortation from you! I told Sharon that I would tell you and everyone else who reads these comments about novelmatters so we can all be taught and find encouragement to keep at it.
    So even if cyberspace distracts it can also connect, spur and inform…while it is distracting……..

  14. 214
    Amanda says:

    Oh my! How do you know where I live?! You’ve hit home, as usual. I shrink in the enormity of your blessed shadow, but I will begin again to do what God has called me to do no matter how small. Thank you for your faithfulness!!

  15. 215
    Gregg Matte says:

    Great advice from a great author and even better Believer! AMEN, Beth!

  16. 216
    Diane Ward says:

    Dear Beth,
    Thank you for these words. So timely. It’s everything this writing siesta needed to hear.
    Praying for protection over you as you allow His words to flow through the ink of your pen.
    You are dearly loved.

  17. 217
    Julia says:

    Beth! This was just what I needed to read…and at the right time. Need I say more! Now, back to pounding away at the keys!

  18. 218
    Crickit says:

    Thank you Beth! I so love to write and my family and siblings tell me that I should write a book. Maybe one day…who knows. For the time being I have a little blog and continue to read, read, and read. And someday I may pour myself into a book of my own! Thanks for the great pep talk on writing! What an encouragement it was to me, as are you also! 🙂

  19. 219
    Pam says:

    Thanks Beth. You have no idea the timing wrapped around this post. It was for me, I’m sure. Maybe for a million others too, but definately for me.
    I just self published my first book. It feels sooo good to be done, though the process wasn’t quite grueling, it was a lesson in stick-to-it-iveness. Three and a half years in the writing and one and a half years in editing, it did take longer than I ever thought. I work full time (not writing) and have had many serious detours keep me from my craft. But I truly love it and it keeps me out of expensive therapy sessions, as it seems to calm me down and keep me sane. Thanks for the advice and true caring spirit of your post. God’s perfect timing is waiting for!

  20. 220
    pam says:

    God’s perfect timing is WORTH wating for 🙂

  21. 221
    Church Lady says:

    You can paint such a beautiful picture with words, Miss Bibby. I love your writing. Your such an encouragement.

  22. 222
    Cathy says:

    I just started reading “A Heart Like His.” Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing. Can’t wait to read the new one. May God bless you through the painful/joyful process!

  23. 223
    Margaret says:

    can’t wait to see what this next one is about!

  24. 224
    Peppa says:

    Heya Beth~

    You have no idea how timely this blog was. I have made it about halfway through writing a book I am passionate about and yet for the past year I have not had the energy to pick it up. It sits quietly calling me from behind the pages and still I have written nothing. Somehow throughout the year I allowed my voice to be stolen, or maybe just quieted. The other week I went to sista’s conference over here in New Zealand and felt as though God were hammering me to once again pick up my pencil. As I started to allow the passion for my book to reignite, I saw your blog post. Thank you so much for you encouragement. You wrote this blog and I doubt you would have realised the impact it would have on hearts and lives. Thanks for being obedient!
    Love and Stars,

  25. 225

    Thank you so much Beth for your books and for this post. As a Christian writer myself I needed your words today. God bless you,
    Debra Clopton

  26. 226
    tammy says:

    thank you for this today! what a gift. i’ve just started putting my passion of writing out into the world…it’s beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. i am sure i will be reading this post more than once. 🙂 thank you. for everything.

  27. 227
    Laurel Greshel says:

    I couldn’t believe this blog! I just published my first book and I actually sent you a copy about a week ago. And now I read your blog. My book:
    “Amanda, Perfectly Made”
    by Laurel Rausch Greshel

    God tapped me on the shoulder and helped me write. I know God will put it in the hands of those who need to read it.
    Thank you Beth!

  28. 228
    Mary says:

    I praise Him for your writing, Beth, and all that He puts on your heart to share with us in such a relevant and practical way! I’ll be lifting you up as you endeavor to peck out what He’s writing on your heart.

  29. 229

    I really needed this blog post tonight. Thank you, Beth, so much for sharing this. The Holy Spirit used it as if it was written just for me. Thank you for that! – Angela

  30. 230
    Stacy Voss says:

    This completely resonated with me–thanks for the many reminders, especially about it being tested in the anvils of our souls. Oh, yes, I’ve been there–am there–and am (mostly!) grateful for it as the words He taught me seek into the marrow and change my being.

    Best of the best to you as you sit down, dig in, and write. We’re all grateful!

  31. 231
    Shandra says:

    Love the advice. Love the books. Love the Bibstudies. Love that The Lord keeps giving you the “Go”.
    Blessings, SH

  32. 232
    Debra Ann says:

    I too remember the Saturday night ritual. My mom would pin curl my hair .. Criss cross those Bobby pins while we watched Laurence Welk show. Then read my Sunday school lesson and talk a little about it. Love my mom.

  33. 233
    Brooke says:

    For weeks, no months, no really years..I have been asking myself why not? I too have a passion to write, no matter what I am doing I am constantly come up with things, things that need written down. Sometimes I do get them on paper other times, not so much. I have countless numbers of random notebooks strewn all over my house with journaling, letters to God or just thoughts rumbling in my head that made it to paper. Your post made me realize, I NEED to write. It is a part of who I am. Thank you once again for letting God show you and lead me to what He planned for me to do!

  34. 234
    Tammie Head says:

    Awww, Beth, I LOVE THIS POST!!! How have I not seen it until now? Such a HELP.

    I will be printing this out and taping it to my forehead today. Laughing.

    You’re the best and I love you so dearly. Praying for you and M as you do the thing!


  35. 235
    Monica Smith says:

    Thank you for this post. Your passion for writing and teaching God’s truths inspires and encourages me to keep pressing forward. I have always loved to read and find a new note pad and pencil to be as exciting as chocolate (Yes, that is possible, but having both is better!).
    May God meet, teach and love you through your new time of writing. Rest in Him.

  36. 236
    rpgilliam says:

    I have been a reporter/columnist for almost five years, but a life-long writer. Every week, when I start to write my column, I wonder how I will possibly have anything left to say the next week, but something always comes. It is the only job I could ever imagine myself doing. It’s nice to hear other writers talk about their experiences, and I look forward to the new study! I have yet to be disappointed!

  37. 237
    Monica says:

    I haven’t been on the blog in awhile…and today I really needed this. I see everything as “go big or FORGET it” I have said to my husband a hundred times..”That’s a great thought for a book…that’s a great book topic….” I quit journaling long ago; but I need to get back to it again.

  38. 238
    Valeire Berry says:

    Beth, I just had to share with you how much your writings of transparency, which is your gift from God, is such a blessing and encouragement to me and other believers in Christ! I have just read your book “So Long Insecurity” at just the right time of going through insecurities I didn’t even know I had! I cannot put into words the depths the Lord has spoken to me, but I had to put to word a “thank you” for allowing God to work through you for such a blessed time of growing faith. I will pray for you always as you seek to alow yourself to go through all that you go through to allow the Lord to Speak.
    Thank you and many blessings…………Valeire, sister in Christ

  39. 239
    Marj says:

    The pen pauses over the paper and words fail the writer before reaching the hand.
    Thoughts come only to stutter, halt, and vanish while silence occupies spaces that once were full and flowing.
    Nothing stirs in the imagination.
    Nothing visits the mind.
    Nothing urges the pen to make its marks.
    No great thought.
    No clear directions.
    The questions come and the head puts the heart to the test.
    Is there an attitude, motive or impure thing that‘s blocking the mind and causing the pen to falter?
    The soul waits…..listening….hoping….questioning.
    Then quietly He gently pulls the soul toward Himself and He leans in to whisper,
    ”Come….sit awhile with Me.”


  40. 240
    Susan says:

    Dear Beth,

    I could not believe it when I read this, it is so like the way I think..I started a book several months ago, after my mother died and the tradey of her death, and the hurts she left behind. You are so right, writing is so diffcult, it is something one must do if they feel in their soul, that there are experiences in life, that only you have lived, but others can benefit from and the pen to paper will glorify God!! Thank you for this article! I put it in a save folder to remind me..writing is what you love to do, so do not stop…there is a purpose God put that desire in your heart and soul, so do it. Even if it takes a life time!!!

  41. 241
    Julie says:

    Thanks for this post. I am a “not so young, but new” writer. My love of writing that began when I was in fourth grade has been rekindled since then.

    My first ebook was published on Amazon last July. That book was in process for ten years…more off than on. It was born out of my own personal struggle with compulsive fantasies and behaviors that had me frighteningly held captive for twenty-six years. After God set me marvelously free of that bondage, I ran across 2 Samuel 22 and found that passage jam-packed with treasures from the heart of God. I HAD to write about it. Even so, it took a long time to finish.

    I currently am working on a children’s book about a little girl, who is remarkably like my own daughter. The little girl goes through the everyday trials of a first grader, and her mother tells her an appropriate and related parable of Jesus to help her figure out what she should do.

    Once I get going on each new chapter, I have a lot of fun trying to bring the world of a first-grader to life. I also enjoy fleshing out the parables in a way that helps a child understand what Jesus was talking about. It is getting started on each chapter that is difficult for me. I am working on disciplining myself to write every day, though, so I don’t take ten years to get this one done.

    Once again, thanks for the post. I will certainly keep in mind what you have said.

  42. 242
    Barbara says:


    First of all may I say that every time I read one of your blog posts I experience what a great writer you are. Each time I read one I think to myself what a gift you have with words and how it would be nice to be able to write half as well as you do. You draw the reader in with such original combinations of words, your descriptions are vivid, you can be succinct or poignant or hysterical – you steer our minds and emotions with perfectly crafted words. If I wrote such posts, it would take me a week to get it down on paper and it wouldn’t be nearly as well written. You have a gift, my dear.

    Secondly, thank you for the encouragement, the reminder and the swift kick to get going on writing. I finished writing a book a while ago. It needs heavy duty re-writing now, but in the past three and a half years my dad got sick and has since gone to heaven, I haven’t the desire to pick it up and do the hard work.

    Thank you for the timely and beautifully written post. XOXOXO

  43. 243
    Nichole H says:

    Thank you. I needed to read this today. I look forward to reading your new adventure. No pressure. 🙂

  44. 244
    karina allen says:

    Beth, This may one of my absolute favorite posts ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I may print and laminate it. 🙂 I just love and appreciate you SO much and how you are just legit! You are a MOM to us all. That definitely comes through in this post. I like how you just get to the heart of the matter because you have been there. I will take your advice and hold it close to my heart and my notebook. I really needed this encouragement, “A true writer has to write even with no one to read.” I need to keep writing and wait for God to speak. And I need to embrace the day of small beginnings. Thank you for sharing your heart and what you’ve learned so willingly. I LOVE YOU TONS!!!!!!!!

  45. 245
    Lynn says:

    I can’t wait to read your latest book or Bible study. As a child, I wrote stories and poems. One of my poems was published in “Highlights” children’s magazine. No money changed hands but I was thrilled.

  46. 246
    AJLaubach says:

    Ummm…in the midst of these 250-some comments, I don’t want to comment. I’ve had a lot of don’t want-tos these past few days. Commenting on blog posts is one of them. I hate the thought of commenting into a sea of words with no one to hear. But God. Thank you for the words, they scare me in a I-don’t-have-control-here sort of way. You know when God takes ahold of you and throws into a new current (or is it currant)? I was sitting in the middle of the neighboring college-town bookstore and reading your story of your sister-in-law going through the carwash and talking to the automated voice. Oh my word. I snorted and laughed and cried. All the while, there is this man (very old-reading a magazine about heart attacks kind of old-seriously) who was sitting all up in my space, staring at me as tears rolled down my eyes, which made me laugh all the harder. Thanks for the encouragement. Thanks for the laugh. Much love. Keep pressing on…

  47. 247

    Dear Beth,

    Thank you so much for sharing your writing tips. I’ve written two Bible Studies and just started my first blog on November 1st – The Thankfulness Experiment. ( Your words were so encouraging. Why, you ask? Because while I’m only on day 14 of this 66 day blog experiment, I’ve already experience the anvil in a major way AND wondered why 66 days? This blog was just what I needed to hear. God is using you in a mighty way, Beth. Thanks for caring and sharing with us newbies!
    Heather Snider

    • 247.1
      Heather Snider says:

      Just discovered I left the “d” off experienced… I guess I need an editor like you suggest too! 🙂

  48. 248
    Melanie says:

    I’ve seen references the last few days to this and even think I clicked over to read, but interruptions came. Now I see it was that God had this for me to read tonight.
    The night before my husband and I leave (for the first time in 5 yrs, as many as having our son) for a few days alone. We are looking forward to dreaming and resting and reading- our favorite things to do together.
    Especially on my heart is my writing and feeling in the now and not yet of my faith, of life.
    Your last sentence spoke to me, write on sister. Even with no one to read.
    For now I write. Deeper not wider.
    Thank you and can’t wait to see the fruit of your writing season.

  49. 249
    Linda Trammell says:

    Dear Beth, Thank you for the encouragement, the warning of the snags involved in writing, the tips for writers block, and just the inspiration. This is so timely. I have facilitated several of your Bible studies and stick pretty close to the Leader’s Guide when we meet, but during the week I email my thoughts as I do the homework. Such fun!

  50. 250
    Tanya says:

    Write to ignite is a good resource book I got when I first had thought to write. Deborah Joyner I think.

    Everyone is so encouraging. I’m not the only one who feels a call without the ability to determine it exactly or know what precisely to do About it. Guess Abraham left not knowing exactly to where he was going or precisely how He’d get there.

    Oh Lord for heart to follow THAT hard after you!

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