instead of “drop the mic” – try passing it to someone else.

Listen as Wisdom calls out!
    Hear as understanding raises her voice!
On the hilltop along the road,
    she takes her stand at the crossroads.
By the gates at the entrance to the town,
    on the road leading in, she cries aloud,
“I call to you, to all of you!
    I raise my voice to all people.
You simple people, use good judgment.
    You foolish people, show some understanding.
Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.
    Everything I say is right,
for I speak the truth
    and detest every kind of deception. – Proverbs 8:1-7

One of the key elements of writing is listening. Listening to the people around you, listening to yourself, listening to the world, listening to God. Writing with insight requires a kind of intentional humility because there is always so much to learn.

On the other hand, people who demonstrate an unwillingness to pay attention (to anything other than the sound of their own voices) typically present an impoverished point of view. The “blowhard,” the loud, the condescending, and the “know it all” tend to have very little that’s helpful or original to contribute to actual conversations.


I believe this principle is dangerously at play in Washington. There is so much bluster, attention-seeking, posturing, and browbeating – with very little listening and even less humility. Everyone wants to figuratively “drop the mic” at the end of their sound bite, or rant, or announcement, or Tweet – when what should really be happening is passing the mic to someone else with a different take on the issue. Or, better still, leaving the mic turned off while making the rounds with a notepad, listening, asking great questions, and actually learning something for once.

Which leads me to the other thing writers need to be good at if they want to know anything – “asking good questions.” People who practice the art of asking insightful questions end up knowing a lot more than those who spend the time they could have been listening preparing their next answer.

Before destruction one’s heart is haughty,
    but humility goes before honor.
If one gives answer before hearing,
    it is folly and shame.
The human spirit will endure sickness;
    but a broken spirit—who can bear?
An intelligent mind acquires knowledge,
    and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. – Proverbs 18:12-15

That’s it for this short post. Watch this space for more later – DEREK

Derek’s new novel is now available at


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