Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Statements I Hate to Hear from Writers (Part 2 of 3)

"God gave this to me so I know you'll publish it." I've heard variations on that one, but they all say something like this:

• "God gave it to me."

• "God dictated every word."

• "God awakened me in the middle of the night and said, 'Write!' "

My wife has heard all the stories. For several years, she was the acquisitions editor of a devotional magazine. Even though she received a number of such manuscripts, she never found one worthy of publishing.

Here's my suggestion: If God gives you a message to write, don't tell an editor; let an editor tell you. Early in my writing career, I wrote an article called "Grace Builders," and I honestly felt God had given the article to me. I changed exactly one word after my first draft.

I sent it to a publisher and it was accepted. After that, 16 other magazines reprinted it. This is the first time I've ever said God gave me a message and I can do so now because the results provide strong evidence for my claim. (I didn't tell that to the publisher when I sent the article.)

When I hear people declare they have received divine inspiration, I believe it's a defensive statement. It's as if the person says, "God gave it to me and you can't argue with God or reject God." God's words can stand scrutiny.

One editor told me she responds this way: "God may have told you to write it, but God didn't say I would publish it. When I prayed today, God told me to reject your manuscript."

If God inspires your writing, others will know because it will inspire them when they read it.


  1. Such wisdom!! Thank you so much for clearing our paths of unnecessary debris.

    Bless you!
    Nan Jones

  2. I sat with an editor believing with my whole heart that my manuscript that she held in her hands was a gift God had given to me to share with others. I kept my mouth shut on the issue knowing that only God sees and knows the truth inside my heart. Instead I asked her to teach me whatever she could about making my manuscript better in the brief 15 minutes we had together. She chose to read my entire 1000 word children's story and turned to me and said, "I know you didn't say this to me, but I believe when a manuscript moves me, as yours does, it has been inspired." So glad I kept my mouth shut.

  3. That's a great story, Carolyn. Thanks for sharing it. :-)

  4. I am reminded of a woman in my church who said to one of the men: "God told me that you are going to be my husband!"

    "Well," he replied, "I'm sorry, but God hasn't said anything about that to me."

    I don't expect a reply to my comment, I realize this post was written more than seven years ago. I only discovered this wonderful blog a few days ago, and now I am reading every post from the beginning.

    Thank you, Mr. Murphey, for this incredibly generous gift of your hard-earned wisdom. You are a great mentor.


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