Friday, March 2, 2018

Who are You to be Writing a Novel? By Melinda Viergever Inman

Melinda Viergever Inman

Who are You to be Writing a Novel?

Dear writer, don’t despise your humble beginnings, whether these include your level of education, the size of your community, or the poor and simple family life from which you emerged. Don’t fear, even if people look down on you for your “lack of credentials.”

You’re in good company.

When Jesus appeared on the scene, the people expected Messiah to be an earthly king. They didn’t look for him in a carpenter’s shop or as a baby born in a barn. They didn’t expect him from a backwater town like Nazareth of Galilee, though Isaiah had prophesied. They didn’t yet grasp all that he would be. Nor could they see all God intended to do with his Son.

 “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him of whom Moses in the Torah and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see’” (John 1:43-46 NIV).

“Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked. ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offense at him” (Matthew 13:54-57 NIV).

As a writer, you will face comments and attitudes like these, if you haven’t already. Who are you, by the way, to be writing a novel, of all things? Who are you to be a published author? How could this happen to you?

When my first book published, some of the comments I heard were along these lines. One woman from my hometown whispered to me, “You copied that out of someone else’s book, didn’t you? You can’t write like that.” I assured her that, no, Refuge was an original novel written solely by me. She walked away shaking her head.

Another woman came to me in church, gazing upon me as though she were seeing me for the first time, as if I were a strange and exotic creature. She said, “Here you’ve been, sitting here all these years, and I had no idea you could do such a thing! How did you write that? You’re just . . . you!” It didn’t seem to occur to her that she was belittling me and my hard work.

Apparently, these women saw no sign of promise. In fact, they didn’t see me at all.

Only God sees us clearly.

Our friends, our church body, even our family often don’t see who we really are. Usually, we’ve been pigeonholed into a category—wife and mother, single woman, the lady who teaches the Bible studies, the neighborhood homeschool mom, the kid I grew up with, the offspring of Dan and Elaine, that quiet brainy girl. Some people you know and love will never read your work, because mentally they can’t get past this hurdle. This will hurt.

But, no matter where you’re from or who you are, no matter whether you’re seen clearly by those around you, no matter what others think, God can and will use you and your work for his glory. He alone sees you with crystal clarity.

Write what he places on your heart. Go out into the wider world with your offerings. Those whom God intends to be blessed by your words will read them. They will see you through the appreciative eyes of ones who benefit from the gift that God has placed in you.

Write for them. And write for the One who gifted you.

Melinda V Inman, Author of Refuge, Fallen, and No Longer Alone

Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda Viergever Inman now spins tales from her writer’s cave in the Midwest. Her faith-filled fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives. Find her weekly at To find her work and to be notified of future published novels, follow her at



  1. I love this, Melinda. I smiled.the whole time while reading it. I've received the same reaction. Yesterday, in fact. Thank you for the reminder. Blessings, dear friend. ♥️

    1. This is what I'm hearing from many. It's a common experience for writers, even of old. And it can hurt. It comforts me that Jesus understands and gives us the fortitude to continue on!

  2. Well written, Melinda. It's so true. Even some of your family can do that to you (or ignore your writing, as in my case). All we can do is forgive them. We're in good company. We're not alone. Thank you for putting that so beautifully.

    1. I'm glad I could encourage you today, Sharon. If Jesus, who was perfect and flawless God can experience this, so certainly can we, who are broken and flawed. I'm glad he understands and can hold us up in our hurt over these types of comments and neglect of our work. Press on, sister!

  3. You and I have chatted about this, but I'll also mention here that friends and family didn't take me seriously when I started writing. It wasn't until they had a book in hand, that some accepted that I could/would do it. And friends who supported me during the process (only because they loved me),seemed surprised at how much they enjoyed the stories. ;-)

    1. That's another amusing reaction - the surprise! No one sees us as clearly as the Lord. We continue to amaze! :)


We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!