200 – Writing Wisdom and Advice: A Celebration of Our 200th Episode

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Writing Wisdom and Advice A Celebration of our 200th Episode Write from the Deep Podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungIt’s been such an honor and delight to share your writing and spiritual journey with you! As we celebrate our 200th episode, we have a gift for you: writing wisdom and advice from some of our amazing guests! So come listen in and be blessed!

But first, thank you to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

Welcome to the deep, my friends! We’re glad you’re here with us. Today we’re celebrating! It’s our 200th episode! We started this podcast in September of 2015, everybody. Two episodes per month for eight years!

God has been so kind in giving us this task, showing his faithfulness and presence. Way back when, before we started this podcast, God spoke to us at the same time about how writers needed encouragement to help them deal with the struggles in their spiritual life on the writing journey. We’re so honored that he’s given us this task, and we’re delighted that you all are here.

Yes, God did lay it on our hearts. You have to know, we didn’t tell each other about it at that time. He spoke to us individually, and then we came together and discovered this and knew it was God.

We have to give a shout out to Thomas Umstattd Jr.,  too. Right about the time we were thinking about this, Erin mentioned it to Thomas at an ACFW conference. He said, “You and Karen doing a spiritual podcast for writers? Huh. That could be very interesting!”

It was so kind and so encouraging. Thomas and James L. Rubart gave us advice and tech help, too. We sure didn’t know how to do any of this, but Thomas did, and he was a resource and guide as we got started.

Thanks also to our awesome sound editor Mike at Podcast PS. He gets the brunt of all our bloopers and goofs, and he fixes them. Thanks, Mike!

For all of you out there who’ve supported us on Patreon, you’ve been a crucial part of these podcasts as well. We couldn’t have done this without you.

As we thought about how to celebrate this 200th episode, it occurred to us to reach out to former guests of the podcast and ask them for their advice and counsel for you. Our celebration is a special treat for you!  To keep the podcast from being an hour long, we’ve shortened some of the comments.

DiAnn Mills shared this:

“Karen and Erin’s interview with me…showed Christian sisterhood in action. They made me feel like I was the most important person on the planet. I valued the prayer time, professionalism, and insight into my book’s topic. The time sped by, and I regretted the ending of our conversation.”  DiAnn Mills

That’s how we always feel at the end of our time with our guests. Oh my goodness, we’ve laughed and cried and grown closer to God and each other. It’s fellowship in action. We’re so blessed by the body of Christ. That’s God’s design and purpose. We’re in this together, y’all. Stay connected, stay encouraged.

“You’re already doing a good thing for your life as a writer, because you are listening to this wonderful writing podcast. We can learn so much from one another. Be a writer’s writer like Karen and Erin. Cheer another writer on. Offer encouragement. Open doors. Someday another writer will do that for you, too. We can help one another.”  Karen Stiller, author of The Minister’s Wife, and Holiness Here coming out in Spring of 2024.

“I’ve always loved the title of your podcast, Write from the Deep, because it’s truly the only guarantee of a Christian writer’s success. No matter what degrees we hold, how many contracts we’ve secured, workshops we’ve taught or attended—if we don’t quiet the outer noise and dig deep to hear the still, small Voice inside, we have nothing of eternal value to write. So, no matter what distracts us, we can Write from the Deep when we LIVE from the deep. That’s why David’s psalms are so powerful. He wrote what he lived, and his words burn in our souls.”  Mesu Andrews

“When I was first published, decades ago, it was a challenge to find helpful information on the craft of writing. Writers groups were a rare gift and writer’s conferences became a lifeline. I’ve appreciated the way Write from the Deep has brought these necessary components to the next generation of writers. The variety of topics, personal stories and valuable insights from Karen and Erin have made this podcast a treasure chest for both new and experienced writers. Thank you, friends, for all your hard work. I’m honored to have been a guest and blessed to be a listener.”  Robin Jones Gunn

“God planted a love for words within the heart of every writer. God does not need our words, but he delights in using them in order to encourage, teach, inspire, and challenge – first us, and then others. Let God first have his way in your heart, then he will gladly help himself to your words to advance his kingdom purposes.”  Shadia Hrichi

We need encouragement, we need inspiration. This world can be difficult and dark. Lindsay Franklin shared with us that they recently discovered a would-be intruder trying to break into their house. While they were all home, in the middle of the day! How brazen. How disconcerting and eerie that must have been! So Lindsay Franklin gave us this bit of wisdom:

“Life is weird, but God is good. We’re never promised things will be easy or everything will work out perfectly. But we are promised God’s presence, and that’s more than enough.”  Lindsay Franklin

“I’ve been taking great comfort recently in these words of Jesus from John 8:12: ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ It gives me such peace to know that if I am truly following Jesus, I am walking in his light and I can trust him to lead me one step at a time, only as far ahead as I can see for the next step and the next and the next. I’m trying to live life that way—one step at a time, eyes on Jesus, all the way home!”  Deborah Raney

Robin Lee Hatcher gave us this Scripture from Isaiah 42:16 (NASB95):

“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.”

“God gave me this verse for a particular book when I was in a panic, not knowing how to tell the story in my heart. He made darkness into light before me then, and he has continued to do so for the many novels that have followed.”  Robin Lee Hatcher

These Bible verses from literary agent Steve Laube then tell us what happens next, when God makes our darkness light:

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire…Therefore, I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.”  Combined from Matthew 5:16; John 5:44; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Peter 1:3-4; Psalm 86:12

“My advice is pretty simple and something I’m still working on myself: Keep your focus on the Lord. Always. It’s so easy to be distracted by this world and all the things. Everything we do should be done to the best of our ability for the glory of the Lord.”  Kimberly Woodhouse

Kim is still working on that, like we all should be, because it’s hard!

Paul Hastings, host of Compelled Podcast – Christian Stories and Testimonies gives advice that echoes Kim’s:

“Sometimes when I grow discouraged by lack of progress, I must be reminded of an eternal perspective. Seek first the kingdom of God, and he’ll take care of the rest. Even if you never achieve fame or acclaim as an author here on this Earth, if you serve the Lord faithfully then at the end of time you will hear the words ‘Well done, good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of your Master’ (Matthew 25:21).”  Paul Hastings

“The Holy Spirit knows best about your career. Trust his voice rather than the siren call of social media. Faithfulness trumps fame and. Book sales don’t equal your worth.”  Mary DeMuth

“Don’t get your identity or self esteem from your successes and failures as a writer.”  Sharon Dunn

“We are beloved children of God. That is our identity whether we write or not, whether we have ‘success’ or not. 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us, ‘We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us (ESV).'”  Sharon Hinck

I like the focus Thomas Umstattd Jr. has on service in the advice he sent us:

“As a Christian author, your job is to honor God and thrill your reader. That’s it. At the end of the day, no one else matters. Not your agent, publisher, book store owner, book critic, English teacher, or editor. They are not your customer. They are not your God.  If your readers love your book, and you honored God in writing it, that is enough.  Love God, and serve your reader.”  Thomas Umstattd Jr.

Thomas also shared this Scripture with us:

“‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second [commandment] is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:30-31 (ESV)

“To my writing brothers and sisters, a simple word of encouragement: God is already preparing the hearts of your readers for the message or story he has called and equipped you to share. Even before you’ve written a word. Even before you’ve posted something about your W-I-P on social media. Even before you’ve sent the first email, the first newsletter, the first blog post. Before all that, God. You can trust him. You can rest in him. Take a deep breath, and write.”  Liz Curtis Higgs

“No matter what, when, or how God called you to write, the platforms and audience he gives you are HIS. Your career is HIS. Write as he guides you. And be willing to leave it all behind if he calls you to something new and unexpected. Your writing is not your life-path. JESUS IS.”  Brandilyn Collins

Elizabeth Ludwig says something similar:

“My advice to writers is don’t ignore your spiritual journey! God has much to teach you along the way. Sometimes, getting there is more beneficial than actually arriving.”  Elizabeth Ludwig

“I loved being part of Write from the Deep. During the two episodes that we visited, I especially loved connecting my health and spiritual journeys to the writer’s journey. And the Scripture that speaks to all of that is found in John 13:7, where Jesus is washing his disciples’ feet and he says, “You do not understand now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” After our conversations, it became even more clear to me that God is using each of our writing paths in ways we may not fully know this side of Eternity. And that gives me purpose and peace, knowing I don’t have to design and figure everything out on my own.”  Lori Ann Wood

“It can be difficult for authors to dig deeply into their own pain and past mistakes when shaping their stories, but the result can have eternal results in readers’ lives when they do…I would encourage young writers to set priorities in their life and writing, and then allocate their time accordingly, aware of the endless distractions that would divert them from God’s calling to write.”  Lynn Austin

Not only do we have to deal with distractions, we also have to deal with blank pages…sitting there…waiting for our genius…and waiting…and waiting…

Robin Lee Hatcher offers these words of wisdom for writers:

“You can’t fix anything you haven’t written. Give yourself permission to write ‘bad stuff.’ You can fix bad stuff. You can’t fix a blank page.”  Robin Lee Hatcher

I always find the blank page the hardest part, maybe some of you can relate. Once something is there, then comes the fun part—making it better, for me that’s easier, so I love Robin’s advice. Just get something on the page.

“Some of the best advice I’ve received as a writer is to invite God into my creative process. And so now, that’s the advice I love to give other writers, too. Pray before you write. Talk to God about the details, big and small. And ask him to show you the stories he has for you. It is such a gift to be able to create alongside our Creator.”  Becca Wierwille

To follow that up, Laurel Thomas says:

“My advice would be to receive with confidence from the Creator as we create!”  Laurel Thomas

I love that simple key: receive with confidence. That means we take note of the fact that God is the ultimate Creator, and he’s made us in his likeness, and he DOES gift us with creativity. It comes from God. We don’t have to manufacture it. We can be confident that it’s already ours through him.

Lenora Worth echoes that:

“Always, always, ask God first. Ask him when you get an idea. Ask him when you write the proposal. Ask him when you have doubts or when you hear good news. Ask him, ‘Lord, can you show me the way?’ And thank Him. He gives us the talent and the words. Never take that for granted as we tell the greatest story ever told. His story.”  Lenora Worth

Our creativity is important. Cathy Gohlke had this to say:

“Our world stands in great need of stories that discover the healing wonder found in relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Take stock of your life, of the unique experiences—the good, the bad, the victories and failures, the times you’ve shone in the sun, and the times you’ve had to rise from the ashes—and the lessons learned from those experiences.  Recognize the threads God has woven through your life—the themes—and objectively view the tapestry he’s created in you.  Realize that these life experiences and how you’ve grown from them, how they’ve brought you closer to God, are his gifts to you—gifts that you, as a writer, are able to use to inspire readers through your pen.  What the enemy means for evil God can use for good—as long as we open our hands and allow him. As writers we are constantly faced with discouragement and self-doubt.  Realize these are insidious, desperate tools of our common enemy.  Realize, too, that God has given us armor—the armor and implements of war found in Ephesians 6.”  Cathy Gohlke

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”  Ephesians 6:14-18

We can’t forget that last part about praying. Prayer is the thing we do while we’re WEARING the armor. We don’t just stand around dressed in armor. We use it in prayer battle.

Prayer isn’t the least thing you can do. It’s the greatest. We need to be bolstered by prayer because of another Scripture that Christy Bass Adams mentioned:

“I’m reminded of Matthew 10:16 (CSB) as Jesus is sending out the disciples and instructs, ‘Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.’ Answering the call to write is like sending the sheep out among wolves. This world needs confident, focused, and determined Christians. We must intentionally pay attention, research, and carefully analyze our partnerships and alignments. Writers are vulnerable. Rejections can often cripple us or steal our hope for a season. We must learn to speak up. Fight for what is true and right. Take a stand on faith and be firm about that stand. But also, be gentle in our tone. Innocent as doves. Kind in our responses. Careful and purposeful with our words. Words are powerful and we must use them for the greater and higher authority of Jesus Christ.”  Christy Bass Adams

“Do not be afraid, for He is ever with us. Claim your name—Image Bearer of the King—and go daily into battle for the Kingdom of Heaven as the pen warrior you are, remembering that victory and glory belong to Him.”  Cathy Gohlke 

What a blessing it’s been to talk and share with these amazing people and writers, and to share the experiences and wisdom God has given them with all of you. As we mentioned, our goal with this podcast was to encourage writers in their spiritual journeys.

Tina Yeager shared this encouragement with us, and with you:

“Karen and Erin inspire listeners to draw from the living wells of their souls for meaningful creative work. Write from the Deep delves into topics with profound impact. May all of us called by our Creator remember our purpose as a compass, to submit to his guidance, and to maintain an attitude of worshipful wonder. May anointing continue flowing from this podcast through all who experience it for many seasons to come.”  Tina Yeager

May each of you continue to draw closer to the One who guides and uses us for His purposes. Blessings to you all.

Join us for writing wisdom and advice from many of our previous guests as we celebrate 200 episodes! #amwriting #christianwriter Share on X

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?


Thanks to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

Thanks so much to our October sponsor of the month, Tammy Partlow! She’s a speaker at women’s retreats, and her debut novel Blood Beneath the Pines, a suspense set in the deep South, is now available. She’s hard at work on the next book in the series!

Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast P.S. for their fabulous sound editing!


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