The Ultimate Secret to Effective Writing and Preaching.

Are you ready for it? You’ve been wanting it your whole life, that one secret that will make all the pain, sweat and hard work of communication disappear into oblivion. You’ve always wanted to know that one shortcut, that one tip, that makes everything else extraneous. It’s what every reader wishes you would put into your writing. It’s what every listener wishes you’d put into your preaching. It IS the difference maker between effective and ineffective communication.

The secret is…

Effective communicators work hard. They rewrite over and over and over and over again. They rewrite their sermons. They rewrite their essays. They rewrite entire books, multiple times. It’s so devastating to me when I read someone’s debut novel and think, “This person is incredibly talented, and this book could have been as good as they are…if they had re-written it 2-3 times.”

Roald Dahl admitted he rewrote/altered/edited his first chapters 150 times before he reached the last.

Michael Crichton rewrote his novels in entirety 6-7 times each.

Hemingway rewrote the ending to “Farewell to Arms” 39 times.

Tim Keller spends 5 hours a week researching a sermon, 5 hours writing it, then 5 hours re-writing it for speech communication.

Mark Dever spends 30+ hours a week crafting and re-crafting a manuscript for his Sunday sermons. 

John Stott encourages young preachers to “get something on paper” sooner rather than later, for the purpose of rewriting, again and again.

And that takes 2-3x the time most communicators are willing to put into their work. But in communication, it’s the dividing line between average and awesome. There are no well-written books, only well re-written books. There are no well-crafted sermons, only well re-crafted sermons. If you want to be an effective communicator, take your grandpa’s advice: there’s no substitute for plain, hard work. Are you willing to pay the price?


Opt In Image
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Gmail
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Print Friendly
Don't Read Another Word.
99% of what you read is drivel. Avoid the drivel. Sign up and receive:
  • The Top 150 Fiction Books of All-Time. I researched scholarly and popular polls, and whittled the best down to these.
  • 125 Books that Changed the World. Get your classical education right here, folks. I took all the most famous "Great Books" lists and compiled this list of non-fiction greats.
  • The Scribblepreach Awards. My acclaimed weekly roundup of the top articles around the web: "No one does a better weekly 'A La Carte' feature than Nick!" - Tim Challies.
  • ...And more!





Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

Nicholas McDonald is a blogger, pastor, and author of the book "Faker: How to Be Real When You're Tempted to Fake it." He studied creative writing and communication at Oxford University and Olivet Nazerene University, and received his M.Div from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He currently resides in Lexington, NC, with his wife and two boys, Caleb and Owen.


  1. This is hard news, but needed news — for me most of all. Thanks for putting this out here.

    Just curious, where did you find Dever’s 30+ hour stat?

Comments are closed.