Writing: Who? What? How? by Mandy Baker Johnson

Can I write? Should I write? Why am I bothering, it's all been said before. Who do I think I am? I can't do this, I'm wasting my time....

After a decade of writers' angst, I made the decision to just get on with it. To help me, I've typed out some statements and pinned them on the noticeboard by my desk.

Write for an Audience of One

I have a bad habit of posting a link to my latest blog offering on various social network feeds and within seconds revisiting each one to check if anyone has liked, commented or retweeted. Not good.

It can knock my confidence if there's little response. If I get ten likes, I need a bigger hat size.

I suspect it will take a while to break this habit, it's deeply ingrained. But I want to write for an audience of One. It's His opinion that really matters.

If Jesus was physically sat in front of my laptop reading my blog post and He turned and gave me a delighted grin at the end, my heart would sing and dance and I wouldn't give a toss what anyone else thought. Just because I can't see Him reading it doesn't mean He isn't.

Write from the Heart

I have a tendency to skip over issues and write what I think I'm meant to write as a Christian, rather than being real and pouring out what's really in my heart. That may sometimes be messy, but people recognise and relate to authenticity. It can be surprising what's there when you look under the surface.

Write Prophetically

I'm learning (slowly) to listen to the Holy Spirit. He's nudging me for a reason. When I sense a check in my spirit or my heart burns, I take a minute to see what He is saying. Sometimes it means hitting the delete button. Other times inspired words fly from my fingertips.

Paul talked about being a co-worker with God. We are called to be co-writers with Him.

Write what I want to Read

I must be honest and admit that I am one of my own favourite writers. I'm cringing as I type that, but it is true and no use pretending otherwise.

But sometimes the words I put together are boring and my eyes skip over them to get to the good bits. So why do I keep the boring bits in?

If I'm bored, so will my readers be. I need to write what I want to read.

My aim is to partner with the Holy Spirit so that He can bring fruit from my writing to delight the Father's heart and glorify Jesus.

Mandy Baker Johnson is a self-employed medical secretary and freelance writer. She enjoys blogging and has recently co-authored a book Drawn from Words. She volunteers with a Christian charity working with women in the sex industry.

'Girl cupping face' photo by Stuart Miles used with permission via Free Digital Photos.


  1. I am sure that many readers of this blog will share your feelings expressed so well here, Mandy. Sue

  2. Mandy, once again you have dared to be honest and in doing so you have hit the spot again. Doubt may always be the unwelcome "tagger on" as you walk forwards, but you keep walking anyway, knowing the truth that's in your heart.
    PS I'm cheering you on from the sidelines, and I don't think I'm the only one!

  3. Aw thanks Janey :) xx
    We are cheerleaders for each other!

  4. Honesty about the messiness of life is so needed in our often messy world! Thank you for being open and encouraging us to do the same! :)

  5. Mandy, I've been blogging about 4 1/2years and your take aways listed above are similar to my own. I think Paul spent so much time in the New Testament on words like "remind" and "remember" because he knew we'd need it.
    Thanks for the reminding and may God bring new windows of self-discovery as you journal or write.

    1. Thank you. And may God bless your blogging too x

  6. I love that you are one of your own favourite writers! I would never have dared to write that either, but now that I think about it, it's probably true...well, I'm at least in my top ten...and you've helped me dare to think that could be a positive thing!

  7. Hee hee :) But I guess if we didn't enjoy what we'd written, no one else would.

  8. I loved reading this, Mandy. The bit about skipping over the boring bits really spoke to me. If we do it, others will. Great post.

  9. Yes: never, ever, write what you think you 'should as a Christian'! People want to find that you are a human being like they are ... you have sound advice to anyone who's starting out as a writer who wants to write for the Lord! On the other hand, with enough .evidence you're a real person, they'll read the 'very Christian' bits and know you really mean them, they work for you, and they are not 'being whatI should be not who I am' stuff. Good ideas here...

  10. Thank you, Mandy, it's really good tutorial for writing. Especially first one. You know I never thought how arrogant may be while sharing own writing and how much do I depend on feedback (no matter who's). I felt really bad not getting approval. I was also anxious about errors but had no editing skills to deal with it. Tried some grammar check tools, however they do not allow to muster own skills. You helped me understand that I need a hard work and different mood.

  11. You're welcome Daniel, so glad you found it helpful.

  12. Wow, that's actually inspiring, even though I am writing for over 10 years now! Thank you Mandy for great article! When I started, I was afraid of critics and negativity that as I thought will be surrounding me everywhere. And I got into a problem with self plagiarism as well, which I managed to fix using this paraphrasing website. Anyways I appreciate your help!

  13. Great Article… I love to read your articles because your writing style is too good, its is very very helpful for all of us picbear


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