Author Bob Hostetler

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?

Leave a Comment

The Art of the Sentence

A month or so ago I asked some social media friends what sentence from a book rocked their world. The replies were delightful, and I shared some of them in my June 27 post on this site, titled “In Praise of Memorable Sentences.” There were too many, however, to include …

Read More

In Praise of Memorable Sentences

In her book, The Writing Life, Annie Dillard tells the story of a well-known writer who was collared by a university student, who asked, “Do you think I could be a writer?” “Well,” the writer said, “I don’t know…. Do you like sentences?” Dillard continues: The writer could see the …

Read More

How an Agent Reads

I’m seldom at a loss for words (though often at a loss for something of value to say), but the question took me aback for a moment. I was on an agents-and-editors panel at a writers’ conference within a few months of becoming an agent. I’d done this sort of …

Read More

What Does Your Reader Need?

I attend many writers’ conferences, as an author, speaker, and agent. As a result, I meet and become friends with many fine people and outstanding writers. At a recent gathering, I enjoyed a spirited and stimulating conversation with an aspiring author who has a passion for reaching readers with the …

Read More

I Feel This Post May Hurt Your Thinkings

Everyone has pet peeves. I have a menagerie of them. One of my favorites is the common (and fairly recent) tendency of English speakers and writers to confuse and conflate the words, “feel” and “think.” But feelings are not thoughts and thoughts are not feelings. That might seem obvious and …

Read More

Five Ways Getting an Agent is Like Dating

At a recent writers’ conference, I enjoyed my first “speed dating” experience. Maybe I should clarify. “Yes, you should,” says my wife. These were “speed dating for writers” sessions, in which writers sat down for rapid-fire five-minute appointments with editors, agents, and authors (many conferences provide writers with the opportunity …

Read More

A Title Wave

Some writers find it hard to title their work; others have as much (or more) fun creating titles as they do writing articles, stories, or books. So, just for fun, I asked some of my colleagues and clients: “What title of a nonexistent, imaginary, unwritten, or unpublished work do you …

Read More

Finding Time to Write

How do you find time to write? You don’t. Non-writers try to find time to write; writers make time to write. A couple lifetimes ago, after having been a pastor for seven years, I took a desk job—the first time in my adult life when my job wasn’t 24/7. But …

Read More