A Writer’s Beatitudes

In the famous “Sermon on the Mount” passage in the Bible’s Gospel of Matthew, Jesus presented a series of eight “beatitudes.” Each was a saying that turned conventional wisdom on its head, showing how in God’s eyes the oppressed are blessed and the despised are prized. No one can improve on those inspired beatitudes, of course. But what if we tried to capture their perspective and redirected them to apply specifically to the writer’s life? Such as:

Blessed are the writers, for to write is to create, and to create is to reflect the image of God.

Blessed are those who write in weakness and pain, for their honesty and vulnerability will enrich their writing.

Blessed are those who are humbled by success as well as failure. One is sun, the other rain; both are needed to grow.

Blessed are those who do not love their own words too dearly but hunger and thirst for helpful criticism and accept the work of an editor with wisdom and grace, for they will be valued.

Blessed are the writers who are readers, for whom books and stories and articles are their food and drink, for they will be filled, and out of the abundance of their hearts and minds they will write.

Blessed are those who delight in non-monetary rewards, for they will be richer than those who write only for money.

Blessed are those whose manuscripts are rejected, for (like saplings that withstand the storm) they will be strengthened by adversity.

Blessed are those who seek God’s glory more than their own, who are warmed by their names in print, but set aflame by a spiritual truth well expressed, for great is their reward in heaven.

Do you see yourself in any of the above? Would you delete or revise any? What “beatitudes” would you add to the list?

50 Responses to A Writer’s Beatitudes

  1. Avatar
    Nancy Massand July 18, 2018 at 4:13 am #

    Beautifully done! “To create is to reflect the image of God” resonates with me. Eph.2:10 we are His workmanship. Just as any created thing reflects the mind and heart of its creator, we have God’s imprint on us. It’s why we write. Or paint. Or invent. Or love. Or any of the countless creative callings we pursue.

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    Mermaid Scribbler July 18, 2018 at 5:15 am #

    Beautiful!

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 18, 2018 at 5:33 am #

      Thank you, Mermaid Scribbler (I almost called you “Mermaid”).

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    Shirlee Abbott July 18, 2018 at 5:17 am #

    Not a Beatitude, but continuing in the Sermon on the Mount:

    Love all your readers–those who like what you write and those who reject it–and pray for those who disdain its deeper meaning.

    Thank you, Bob, for this positive example, to go deeper into familiar Scripture and uncover God’s custom-crafted message for my specific calling.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 18, 2018 at 5:34 am #

      Yes, Shirlee, thank you for the addition.

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      Cathy Mayfield July 18, 2018 at 6:03 am #

      Wow, Shirlee, that’s so needed in today’s world. Blessings as you write to His glory!

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    Sharon K. Connell July 18, 2018 at 5:33 am #

    Beautifully written, Bob. I agree with Nancy and Shirlee about writing for the glory of God and loving your readers. I’d also add, Blessed are they who shake off the occasional discouragement that comes with trying to make it right. For in the end, with prayer and supplication for guidance, you will be given the right words.

    Loved having this to start my day. Thank you.

  5. Bob Hostetler
    Bob Hostetler July 18, 2018 at 5:35 am #

    Sharon, I can feel a followup post coming on…. 🙂

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    Rebekah Love Dorris July 18, 2018 at 5:52 am #

    Blessed are the encouragers, for they shall be of good courage. 🙂

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    Jennifer Hallmark July 18, 2018 at 5:57 am #

    I love this! 🙂

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    Elisabeth Warner July 18, 2018 at 5:59 am #

    Thank you, Bob, for this beautiful tribute to writers. I identify most with this one:

    “Blessed are those who are humbled by success as well as failure. One is sun, the other rain; both are needed to grow.”

    As a debut author, I run into roadblocks and hurdles on a regular basis, but I look for those small windows of opportunity to shine my light and be used of God to tell my story. Although I don’t like the rejection letters (or lack thereof), with each rejection, I keep going back to my manuscript to see how I can make it better. Both success and failure are necessary for my growth and for God’s glory.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 18, 2018 at 6:04 am #

      Well said, Elisabeth. We need thick skin and open hearts as writers.

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    Cathy Mayfield July 18, 2018 at 6:07 am #

    Thank you, Bob, for your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading to write things like this. Scripture blesses God’s people in various forms, and I believe personalizing it in this way feeds our souls. My commissioning verse for writing from Isaiah 50 came through the Spirit’s leading and fits me to a T. Blessings as you continue to fill writers’ lives with His Word.

  10. Bob Hostetler
    Bob Hostetler July 18, 2018 at 6:10 am #

    Thank you, Cathy. That is much appreciated.

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    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser July 18, 2018 at 6:22 am #

    Love this, Bob, though after a fraught night I misread the title of the piece, sooo…

    The John in me is expressively bold
    and incisive, but those granny-glasses!
    That my Paul would never wear, for old
    isn’t something to appeal to masses,
    while my spiritual George could have told
    them both that vanity always passes,
    so look to my sensible Ringo’s mold
    for good cheer; it impresses the lasses!
    Yea, Biblical Beatitudes they surely ain’t,
    but they inspired me – I’ve no complaint.

    • Avatar
      Judith Robl July 18, 2018 at 8:26 am #

      Ah, Andrew.

      Without your incisive wit and broad spectrum vision, those of us who read this blog would be infinitely poorer.

      Thank you for keeping on keeping on. Grace, peace and love, Judith

  12. Avatar
    Vicki Gordon July 18, 2018 at 6:27 am #

    Wow! I can truly relate to these! It definitely touches this writers heart!

  13. Avatar
    Colleen Phillips July 18, 2018 at 6:41 am #

    These are wonderful. Since you wrote and published it, this work is copyrighted. Nonetheless, would you consider allowing us to share? I always follow your posts and appreciate them, but usually keep silent about it. Thank you for your work.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 18, 2018 at 6:47 am #

      Share the link as much as you like, Colleen. Make me famous.

  14. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson July 18, 2018 at 6:51 am #

    Love, love this post. This one came to mind: Blessed are the mentors who give of their time to encourage fellow writers and keep them on track. Great are their rewards.

  15. Avatar
    Deborah Clack July 18, 2018 at 7:20 am #

    This is absolutely beautiful, Bob. Thank you for blessing us with this today.

  16. Avatar
    Mary-Anne Crooks July 18, 2018 at 7:52 am #

    Hi Steve

    This is not a response to the current blog even though I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I wanted to thank you for the wisdom, encouragement and inspiration you so willingly share with us.

    Being an author is pretty insular even when in contact with other authors as they are more interested in advertising their books on Twitter and Facebook which is totally understandable.

    I realise as a literary agent you have a heavy workload. I look forward to reading your weekly emails and gleaning as much information as possible from you.

    Thank you once again. You are greatly appreciated!

    Kind regards

    Mary-Anne

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 18, 2018 at 8:05 am #

      Steve gets all the credit.

      • Avatar
        Mary-Anne July 19, 2018 at 5:34 am #

        Hi Bob,

        My apologies! I should have used another post to comment on all the information I have gratefully received.

        I must thank you as well and everyone, plus Steve, for your wonderful insight, your encouragement, humor and helpful information you provide authors with your thoughtful, amusing and informative messages.

        I appreciate all the team and how you inspire me.

        • Avatar
          Mary-Anne July 19, 2018 at 5:41 am #

          Hi Bob,

          Apologies for the above post. In my embarrassment, my grammar went “out the window” with my flushed face!

  17. Avatar
    Marilyn Turk July 18, 2018 at 8:03 am #

    Bob, I love this post. I identify with each “beatitude,” and I can certainly delight in non-monetary rewards. However, the pressure to reach sales figures comes from others in the publishing industry who need a writer to make money so they can survive. If I don’t sell enough books, they’re not delighted.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 18, 2018 at 8:05 am #

      Marilyn, right you are. Some people actually try to feed their families from their jobs in publishing. Cuh-razy, right?

      • Avatar
        Marilyn A Turk July 18, 2018 at 8:09 am #

        Bob, you mean you don’t live on “delight” alone?

        • Bob Hostetler
          Bob Hostetler July 18, 2018 at 8:11 am #

          Oh, I wasn’t talking about myself. Lord knows, this isn’t a “living.” 🙂

  18. Avatar
    Tisha Martin July 18, 2018 at 8:11 am #

    Bob . . . I would delete them all—and insert the Writer’s Manifesto. Only problem, I can’t come up with any manifestos, so I guess I won’t be deleting anything. 😉 And I’d much rather create with God and have the support of friends than create on my own and have the banishment of solitude.

    One more to add to the Writer’s Beatitudes:

    Blessed are the writers who give, for they shall have that faithful cloud.

  19. Avatar
    janis hutchinson July 18, 2018 at 8:13 am #

    Thank you so much, Bob. While I related to all of them, the one that encouraged me the most was: “Blessed are those who write in weakness and pain, for their honesty and vulnerability will enrich their writing.” I write in pain every day with spinal stenosis and torn miniscuses in both legs. But, as the saying goes, I can’t NOT write. God sees me through and gives me the words. Sometimes they flow so well, I think *Where on earth did that come from?* Please tell me where I can subscribe to your site.

    • Avatar
      Tisha Martin July 18, 2018 at 8:19 am #

      Janis,

      To subscribe, go to the top of this page, and under “Blog Updates,” there is a red “Subscribe” button with white letters. Can’t miss it. That’s where you can subscribe to get blog posts delivered to your inbox. 🙂

  20. Avatar
    janis hutchinson July 18, 2018 at 8:14 am #

    Oh, I just found where I can sign up.

  21. Avatar
    Claire O'Sullivan July 18, 2018 at 9:39 am #

    Hi Bob — and everyone,

    Love these beatitudes and the comments. I do relate to all (and laughed at most, and said amen to all).

    Here are mine:

    Blessed are the writers who are poor with words, for God has given us a Thesaurus… (and Bible, and other books)
    Blessed are the writers who mourn over their grammatical errors, for the CMS will (not really) comfort them.
    Blessed are the writers who humble themselves, for critiques will teach them patience..
    Blessed are the writers who hunger and listen to their editors/agents for they shall see their errors and correct them
    Blessed are the writers who recognize failure as one step closer to success, for failure is the ultimate teacher as the Holy Spirit directs.
    Blessed are the merciful toward those who spurn them, for others will be satisfied.
    Blessed are the writers whose intentions are pure, for their agents/editors will correct them anyway.
    Blessed are the writers who have patience over the years, for they shall gain the understanding of the publishing world
    Blessed are the writers who feed the spiritually hungry, for sharing the good news brings those who’ve stood afar or fallen shall be raised up.

    AND a few for agents/editors:

    *Blessed are the agents/editors for they shall strengthen the weak
    *Blessed are the agents/editors who counsel the newbies, for they shall inherit lotsa praise
    *Blessed are the agents/editors in the writer’s sorrow (of rejections) for they will help them improve
    *Blessed are the agents/editors who have patience with the authors, for theirs is great in their heavenly reward
    AND *Blessed be the agent/editor when they are persecuted (maligned) for they shall be called Senior Editor.

    • Avatar
      Nancy Massand July 18, 2018 at 8:20 pm #

      Claire, you are a class act. Love your voice and humor.

  22. Avatar
    Jane Baker July 18, 2018 at 10:12 am #

    Im posting these on the bulletin board in my office. Thanks

  23. Avatar
    Holly O'Brien July 18, 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    Poignant. Love this. Thank you for creating this. Helpful!
    Holly

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    Marlene Anderson July 18, 2018 at 12:06 pm #

    What a great post and great comments. Oh how we as writers can identify with all of it. I love it

  25. Avatar
    Robin Mason July 18, 2018 at 12:12 pm #

    love this so much!! thanks, Bob!!

  26. Avatar
    Kay DiBianca July 18, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

    Lovely post! Here’s mine:

    Blessed are the writers who encourage their friends and colleagues (as you have) to continue their literary journeys.

  27. Avatar
    Cindy Burger July 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm #

    Beautiful! Thank you!

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    Janet Ann Collins July 18, 2018 at 1:25 pm #

    Like Jane, I’ll print and post this in my office. It’s brilliant!

  29. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D July 19, 2018 at 9:23 am #

    Bob, your postings are always so beautifully expressed. I never fail to learn from you, and to be blessed by what you have written.

  30. Avatar
    Sharee Stover July 23, 2018 at 2:30 pm #

    I absolutely loved this!

  31. Avatar
    debby September 15, 2018 at 11:58 am #

    Thank you, Bob.

    I am going to forward this to my critique group. They are a “blessed” bunch of writers and a deep blessing to me.

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