What Is 'Proper' Writing?

I haven’t done any proper writing over the last two months, too busy doing other things:

  • composing the 31 December More Than Writers post and this post
  • gathering content for a volunteer newsletter for my local Foodbank, and editing it
  • posting on my own blog for the Insecure Writers Support Group
  • trying to integrate Stripe on the ACW website
  • cooking
  • entertaining family
  • uploading images and text on to my church website
  • jotting down my pizza recipe for the church magazine
  • gathering together articles for our own village’s ‘notes’ section, for inclusion in the local community newsletter.
No.  Not writing at all. 

By my chair I have a folder in which I’m attempting to write planning notes for my next novel.  Have I picked it up even once?  No!  I also have short stories and flash sitting unvisited on my computer, waiting for editing, which are going nowhere, certainly not to any editor.  This is what I call ‘proper writing’ and, assuredly, I am not doing it. 

But, wait a minute, don’t I pray every night that my writing may be acceptable to God and work to His praise and glory?  God has given me much enthusiasm, and a little ability which I have tried to develop, but, although I may want to write the Great Twenty First Century Novel, is this all He wants me to do?

#Iamwriting and, at the same time, #Iamnotwriting.  Which is it?  We should write where there is a need.  Small pieces are also proper writing.  They may not win us the Booker Prize – but then what does?  If they contribute in some small way to cheer someone reading them, and help bring together our dispersed rural community, they are contributing to God’s work.  At the same time, maybe I am supporting writers, Christian writers and others.  It’s not got to be about me.  It’s got to be about Him.


Rosemary Johnson has had many short stories published, in print and online, amongst other places, Cafe Lit, Scribble, Friday Flash Fiction, The Copperfield Review, Fiction on the Web and Paragraph Planet.  She has also contributed to Together magazine and Christian Writer.  Her historical novel, Wodka or Tea with Milk, which is set during the Solidarity years in Poland, is… deep breath… due to be published in February 2023.  In real life, she is a retired IT lecturer, living in Suffolk with her husband.



  1. I'm feeling this too at the moment - lots and lots of bits and bobs of smaller writing and related jobs, but not much 'real' writing.

  2. I am struggling with all word forms since heart surgery. It is so hard to focus. Even so, God has given me some new poetry. Not surprisingly, some of it is rather dark, but then, some of the Psalms are the same. Encouraging blog Rosemary.

  3. Writing is writing - I'm not working on a book at the moment and I wonder what I am doing, and yet I'm writing every day. Thought-provoking, thank you

  4. It's still only January! You have plenty of time to pick up those notes and start work back on your novel with renewed energy and inspiration! I too have put my latest WIP novel aside for a few months as there are so many other forms of writing and editing & planning that have taken up my time. As you say, all your writing in any form is for God. (Sheila Robinson aka SC Skillman).

  5. Rosemary Johnson31 January 2023 at 11:54

    Thanks for all your comments. I wrote this some time ago, having just returned from 2 weeks holiday. While we were away, we had a pipe burst and house partially flooded but our wonderful (Christian) neighbours called emergency plumbers and electricians and did everything they could. Arrived back yesterday and still sorting out!
    Fortunately I’d scheduled the post on Blogger!

  6. Really thoughtful post : every bit of writing we do is 'writing' and for anyone who has just completed something 'proper' it is helpful to remind ourselves that bogs, personal letters, contributions to the church magazine, letters to the local newspaper, all are equally 'writing', using our gifts.

  7. Thanks for this Rosemary. When I think about my writing, I always default to my main WIP, work on which comes and goes and is frequently stuck somewhere for extended periods of time. Recently I've had much more satisfaction from short stories which I had no intention of writing but emerged from a spark of an idea, a bonus being the reward of completion.


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