There's No Point to Dull Pencils

I love the feel of a pen in my hand. It’s a religious experience for me, akin to what Eric Liddell said in Chariots of Fire: “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” Except when I run I fear my lungs will explode. But when I write, I feel God’s pleasure. 

I suppose I should feel His pleasure no matter my writing instrument, but I’m picky about the pen I use. There’s a certain feel and flow that makes me happy. My current favorite is a Pilot Precise V5 RT. Yes, that’s a pen, not a sports car. 

Several years ago my pen ran out of ink when I was doing interviews on a mission trip. Luckily I had refills with me, but by week’s end the last one gave up the ghost in the middle of an interview. My interpreter quickly handed me another writing instrument. A pencil! And a dull one at that. Once I regained my composure, I was able to scratch out the rest of my notes using the thick lead of the dull pencil. But I was not happy about it. And I did not feel the flow. 

Finding a pencil sharpener helped matters immensely, and I actually begin to enjoy the feel of the pencil and the look of the graphite strokes on the paper. I suppose I could have persevered with the dull pencil. But a little sharpening made a world of difference. 

Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend."

I’m posting this blog from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference where I am surrounded by hundreds of people who put words together in ways that encourage, entertain and educate. These folks are super sharp.

  • This morning I met with Vonda Skelton, an award-winning author and member of the National Speaker’s Association. She critiqued one of my articles with wisdom and wit.
  • I ate lunch with Dr. Dennis Hensley, director of the department of Professional Writing at Taylor University. Among many notable accomplishments, he’s written 54 books. It was a casual conversation, but I took notes on my napkin!
  • This afternoon I sat across from Jessica Kirkland, a Marketing and Literary Agent, who shared her keen insight regarding this very blog. 

I feel a bit sharper this evening, and here’s why: “It takes iron to sharpen iron. A knife is not sharpened by cloth, bread, wood, plastic, or even copper. A knife may cut and shape these things to be more useful, but they will only dull the knife. Sharpening a knife requires iron at least as hard as the knife. Once sharpened, a knife is bright, sharp, and ready for much more productive service” (Jonathan Crosby). 

I thank God for the “sharpeners” He continues to bring into my life. And whether the process is pleasant or painful, I pray God’s purposes will always be the point of my life.


  1. So fun to hear who is "sharpening" you this week. Looking forward to being sharpened by on your return.

  2. Kim, thank you for including me with such inspiring people. It was a joy to finally meet you in person. Can't wait to see what God does with your amazing story!


Each week I write a BOG (Brag On God) post. My prayer is that my words will invite you to brag on God, too. And together we'll make God smile.