Month: August 2019

100 – Best Advice for Writers from Writers

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Best Advice for Writers from Writers Write from the Deep podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungThe Write from the Deep Podcast wants to thank you! We’ve reached a milestone, and you’re a big part of that. It’s our 100th podcast! To celebrate, we’ve asked proven authors from across the states to share with our listeners their very best advice for the writing life.

But first, a reminder that our newest Going Deeper Workshop: Overcoming Damaging Self-Talk is now available!

As writers, we understand the power of words. We want the words that fill our hearts, our minds, and our pages to sing God’s truth. Yet too often they don’t because we struggle with lies, unrelenting negative messages, and imposter syndrome.

But you can learn to stop those damaging messages in their tracks and replace them with specific truths to set you and your writing free.

That’s what this resource is all about! Learn more about Overcoming Damaging Self-Talk.

Welcome to our 100th podcast!

We’re so excited to reach this milestone, and so grateful to all of you for listening.

This podcast is all about equipping you—heart, soul, and mind—to be the best writer you can be, so to celebrate our momentous 100th podcast, we contacted established authors and asked them to share their best advice for writers.

“The best piece of advice I ever received was by Colleen Coble….she told me that writing was a business and I needed to invest in my business. Meaning, get the programs I needed to write in, take the classes from legitimate resources, attend writers’ conferences to learn and meet industry professionals and network, and join legitimate writing organizations to keep up with what’s happening in the industry as well as to keep learning and growing in the craft.”  – Robin Carroll

Robin Carroll’s latest book: Darkwater Truth

“Start saving now for a writer’s conference. Conferences can be expensive, but they’re an investment you’ll never regret. Besides invaluable workshops and a chance to get your work in front of editors, agents, and publishers, the contacts you make with other writers—people who get you!—are priceless.”  – Deborah Raney

Learn more about Deborah Raney

“Here’s my advice: Keep your butt in the chair. Perspiration beats inspiration hands-down.”  – Bill Myers

Learn more about Bill Myers

“As a full-time writer and a full-time administrative assistant, I’ve had to learn how to be disciplined about my writing time. That means setting manageable goals. Instead of being overwhelmed by a deadline and the sheer volume of words needed to meet it, I break the manuscript up into monthly, weekly, even daily word counts that are much easier to swallow. For me, one thousand words per day translates into about an hour and a half each evening. On the weekends, I try to double or even triple that. Using this approach has made me a better communicator and a much more prolific writer.”  – Elizabeth Ludwig

Learn more about Elizabeth Ludwig

“To quote writer Norah Ephron: ‘Everything is Copy.’ For the believer, this means that nothing is wasted.  Not one tear. Not one celebration. Not one wrong move. Not one right one. Every moment is precious. Golden. Worthy of capturing in a snapshot. The breathtaking, agonizing, seemingly unimportant moments we go through on a day to day basis aren’t just potential copy for future books; they are also copy in the great story God is writing in and through us. They shape, mold, and define us, and carve us into the image of our Creator. They also make us better writers. No matter what you’re facing today, God will use it to His glory.”  Janice Thompson

Learn more about Janice Thompson

“I think I’ve learned that the writing journey is full of the unexpected – because God often is. He’s more interested in shaping us, than concerned about the books we write. That means we might have twists and turns that can be hard – but they are for our good. Even if we can’t see it in the moment.”  – Sarah Jeffrey

Learn more about Sarah Jeffrey

“Dare to go to the places you are asking your readers to go to. Superficial writing makes for superficial impact.”  – Mary DeMuth

Mary DeMuth’s latest book: We Too: How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis

“Embrace being a beginner! No one expects beginners to be experts, and there’s a great deal of freedom in that. Instead of faking it and praying no one notices that you have no idea what’s going on, own the fact that it’s new, that it will take a while to figure it all out, and that you need some help. Then be prepared because after you get past being a beginner writer, you’ll publish a book and you’ll be a beginner all over again, this time as a first-time author. And again, you’ll benefit from embracing your beginner status and not being embarrassed to ask questions, learn from those with more experience, and accept that there will be a few bumps along the way.”  – Lynn Blackburn

Lynn Blackburn’s latest book: One Final Breath

“Writing is a creative passion; it’s also a skill that must be honed. Be patient. Take the time you need to learn the craft and the business side of writing before you take the next step, finding an agent to represent you to publishers. You only get one chance at a first impression.”  – Lori Benton

Learn more about Lori Benton

“God created us for community, and we shouldn’t try to do any part of life alone. I believe all writers need a group of like-minded friends with whom to share the journey. Some will have more experience and insight than you. Others will lean in to hear the lessons you’ve learned that they haven’t yet. You should seek critique partners who’ll help you craft your words, maybe brainstorming partners to help you develop your ideas. When you neglect to build a community of Christian writers, not only will you miss out on all you can learn from them, but they will miss out on the wisdom and knowledge God has given to you. We were not created to do life alone. If you don’t have a community of writer friends, start praying for one now.”  – Robin Patchen

Robin Patchen’s latest book: Legacy Rejected

“My best writing journey advice is aimed straight back at me, because it’s so HARD for an introvert! Stay connected to the real world by loving and serving people outside your writing cave. This will ensure that you have something worth writing about.”  – Beth White

Learn more about Beth White

“Don’t be afraid of a terrible first draft. It’s OK if you hate it. That doesn’t mean that you’re a bad writer, or that you should delete the work. On the contrary, it means that you see room for improvement, and that’s a good thing. I have more confidence in a writer who’s embarrassed by their first draft than I do one who is proud of it and thinks it’s ready for publication.”  – Regina Jennings

Regina Jennings’s latest book: The Lieutenant’s Bargain

“My advice is rather simplistic, but it’s so true. A writer must do two things: she must read, read, read and write, write, write. The habit of writing begets writing. When one style of writing stalls, try something else for a little bit. Whenever I need a break from fiction, I write more nonfiction and poetry for awhile, then dive back into writing fiction with a renewed sense of calling. I could also expand it to say a writer writes even when she doesn’t feel like it.”  – Darlene Franklin

Darlene Franklin’s latest novella release in the collection: Love and Hope at Christmas

“Once you have published, remember to take care of your self. Protect and nurture the creative force inside, or as some say, ‘Refill the well.’ It sounds cliche’ but it’s incredibly important. Spend time reading. Spend time with Jesus, with family, with friends. Anything that’s not writing. Make time to recharge. To do otherwise leads to burnout from which you may not ever recover. For new writers, II Timothy 2:15 says to “Study to show thyself approved.” This is true in our Christian walk, of course, but also in our writing journey. Writing is a craft that must be learned. So write, study, and then rewrite using what you’ve learned. Rinse and repeat. Don’t be impatient to get your work out there. You want it to be the best it can be.”  –  Linda Goodnight

Learn more about Linda Goodnight

“Persevere and never give up no matter how long you wait and learn all you can from those with experience. When the time is right in God’s eyes, He will open the door for you to enter the new adventures that wait with your writing.”  – Martha Rogers

Martha Rogers’s latest book: Diagnosis Love

“Don’t make any move in writing or publishing without waiting for that peace from God in your spirit. If you don’t have an answer from Him, don’t take a step forward.”  – Misty Beller

Misty Beller’s latest book: Hope’s Highest Mountain

“Do not fall in love with winning awards, making money or being published. That part of writing is an emotional roller coaster. Instead, make sure what nourishes you, what gets you out of bed in the morning, is sitting alone in a room listening to the keyboard click while you create worlds, watch characters grow and change and get at some deeper truth that only a story can reveal.”  – Sharon Dunn

Learn more about Sharon Dunn

“Writers have a tendency to procrastinate, then write like crazy near a deadline. That’s dangerous, as it’s highly stress-producing and too easy to miss that deadline. Whether you are a seat of the pants writer (pantser) or an outline/synopsis writer (plotter), it’s good to get a handle on that procrastination. Set a daily goal, even if it’s just 1/2 hour or four hours. Write something. Sometimes stream of consciousness writing gets the juices flowing. If you’re staring into space, think about something creative – preferably about your characters and your story. Write down those thoughts. Make writing something down a habit. Ideas begin to flow when we put our minds in gear.”  – Sunni Jeffers

Learn more about Sunni Jeffers

“Write what you need to read, and dedicate your work to the Lord from the beginning. Also, remember that You can’t run a race if you’re looking around at what others are doing.  You’ll stumble and fall flat on your face. We have to keep our eye on the goal – pleasing Jesus!”  – Francine Rivers

Learn more about Francine Rivers

“Soon after my move from the ABA (general market) to the CBA (Christian market), someone asked me how I measured my success. For many writers, measuring success is all about bestseller lists, awards, and/or the amount of money one makes. For someone writing for the Lord, that is dangerous ground. Measuring leads to comparing, and that’s a slippery slope. Back in 2000, I highlighted these verses, followed by a note in the margin:

So Peter seeing [John, the disciple whom Jesus loved] said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’ (John 21:21-22)

“The note in the margin said:

Jesus was saying, ‘Don’t look at what I’m doing with someone else’s life. Don’t look at what I’m doing with their career. All that should concern you is what I’m doing in your life.’ In other words, keep your nose out of John’s business!!

  – Robin Lee Hatcher

Learn more about Robin Lee Hatcher

“Don’t compare yourself to others. Because if you do, as the Desiderata instructs, ‘You’ll either become vain. Or bitter.’ Run your own race and cheer on the authors running beside you. Truly being able to rejoice with your author buddies when they get a movie deal or a major award or make the #1 Bestseller slot is one of the best things about writing. Because when you realize that God has your writing, your career, in the palm of his hand, it’s easier to let go of the comparison game. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever be tempted to look over at the next lane and think, ‘Wow, I’d sure like to be running her race!’ Hey, the ‘old flesh’ dies hard. But it does mean that you can ask the Holy Spirit to recenter your thoughts on Jesus and on the race that God has specifically set out for you to run (Hebrews 12:1-2).”  – Tamera Alexander

Learn more about Tamera Alexander

“Stay focused on God and on Jesus and on what they’re asking you to do. Don’t worry about marketing. Don’t worry about a publisher or an agent liking your manuscript. Don’t write for that reason. Write out of obedience and just focus on being obedient. All the details of your journey, whether or not you’re published, whatever God is seeking to accomplish through you on this writing journey, that’s His circus and His monkeys. The only thing you have control over is you and your obedience. That’s where you need to stay focused.”  – Karen Ball

“Go with God and enjoy the journey. Enjoy with God, and go deep with Him. This is all about what you and God are doing together. What are you learning from Him? What exciting things does His presence hold for you? Do that. Stay there and He’ll give you things to write.”  – Erin Taylor Young

Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young’s latest book: Finding and Working with an Editor: Everything You Need to Know for a (Nearly) Pain-Free Edit


What’s your best advice for writers?


Celebrate our 100th podcast with us as proven authors share their best advice for the writing life!


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

Special thanks to our August sponsor of the month, Bobbi Updegraff! You can find out more about another important cause she sponsors at

Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast Production Services for their fabulous editing!


Want the latest news from Karen and Erin? Click here to join our newsletter and get an exclusive audio download.


099 – Spiritual Footholds: When Words Lead Us Into Sin

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Spiritual Footholds When Words Lead Us Into Sin Write from the Deep podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungDoes what you say to people matter? Even some off-handed, albeit snarky, comment to a total stranger? Don’t some people deserve our disdain or even condemnation? Really, who cares if you use your skill with words to put someone in his or her place? The answer just may surprise you.

But first, some exciting news!

Our newest Going Deeper Workshop, Overcoming Damaging Self-Talk, is now available! 

We all hear those voices—the ones that tell us we’re not good enough. That we’re wasting our time. That everyone will someday discover we’re a fraud.

But you can stop damaging thoughts in their tracks and replace them with truth. This course will help you:

  • identify your damaging self-talk
  • recognize lies and replace them with truth
  • develop the mindset you need to eliminate negative messages
  • discover the connection between feelings and the words we speak to ourselves
  • and so much more!

Because we believe this material is so important, we’re offering an introductory price of $49, which will last through the end of August. CLICK HERE to start now!

Spiritual Footholds: When Words Lead Us Into Sin

In our first podcast on spiritual footholds (episode 94, “The Danger of Discontent”), we talked about what footholds are and why we need to be so aware of and careful about them. Today we’re looking at another foothold that can open the door to the enemy, granting him access to our hearts and minds: our spoken words.

We all know that words contain power. They can breathe life or death into the world and into the lives of those around us. They uplift and encourage. And they tear down and destroy. Words, especially our spoken words, don’t just go out into the world and have no impact. God makes that clear in Isaiah 55, especially in verses 9-11.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Consider if we rework verse eleven a bit and apply it to our own spoken words: so are my words that go out from my mouth: They will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I spoke them.

The trouble with us, though, is that we too often speak words not fueled by a desire to water the earth and make it flourish.

Far too often, our words are fueled by emotions, especially negative emotions. And what happens when we speak those negative emotion-fueled words? They will not return to us empty. They will accomplish what we desire in the moment we speak them and achieve the purpose for which we spoke them.

And they’re not good purposes.

That’s not a good thing. Not for others. And not for us.  When we let emotions fuel our words, we use the very gift God gave us—words—to sin.

We need to consider where our words stem from. In Matthew 12:34b, Jesus says, “…For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  (ESV)

Jesus calls us to a higher standard with not just our words, but with our hearts that birth our words. Listen to what Jesus says in the sermon on the mount:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’”

It’s easy for us to say, “Great, I’m in the clear because I haven’t killed anyone today.” But Jesus knows us too well, so he follows up with:

“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matthew 5:21-22

So, let’s take a look at what can make our words sinful. What are possible sources?

1.  Words that stem from anger

Angry words too often contain violence and are dishonoring to God and to His creation.

Anger in and of itself is not a sin, so long as it’s anger at things that anger God: Righteous anger. But when our anger comes from our self-focused emotions, and when we let those emotions build without seeking God’s work through it, it can become a cancer in our hearts and spirits. And it can lead us deep into sin, such as when it goes from anger to rage. Or violence, sometimes in actions, sometimes in words.

Consider James 1:20-26:

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you…Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

Did you catch that? Our human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires! There’s a word planted within us that can save us but if you don’t control your tongue, your religion is worthless! Hard truths that we need to take to heart.

Then there’s Ephesians 4:26-31:

“Do not give the devil a foothold…Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

When our words stem from those negative emotions, they can grieve the Holy Spirit! And they give the devil a chance to establish a foothold in our hearts and minds.

Even worse, those spoken words can give the devil that same opportunity in the hearts and minds of those to whom we speak those angry words. When we say something in anger, it can bore into a person’s heart and spirit and change their lives. But not for the better.

Two more verses about anger:

“Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” Proverbs 16:32

Anger, friends, can be a powerful weapon against others when we let it spark words that hurt and destroy. And when we do that, we give the devil an opportunity to form a foothold.

2. Careless Words

When we write, we’re so purposeful in what we put on the page. That book is going to be out there for a long time, right? We analyze our written words. We edit and revise to make sure what we write says what we want it to say, and that it’s clear in communicating what we want. But let’s face it, we’re seldom that careful and purposeful with our spoken words.

In today’s world, people seem to be more careless with words than ever before. Remember how in Ephesians 4 we’re warned not to let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths? But nowadays, criticism, sarcasm, even obscenities are everywhere. Even among God’s people. And all of that is unwholesome.

Webster’s defines unwholesome this way:

: detrimental to physical, mental, or moral well-being : UNHEALTHY

The second description is :


: offensive to the senses : LOATHSOME

How often have we laughed at a sarcastic comment without considering the feelings of the person that the sarcasm is directed at? It doesn’t feel good to them. It’s detrimental to their well-being.

Have you noticed how profanity seems to have seeped into everyday conversation? Again, even among believers. So many today say it really doesn’t matter if you use profanity. But it’s clear it does matter. To God. And to us. Profanity doesn’t belong in the life of a believer. At all. Why?

Because, according to Colossians 3:8, it belongs to our baser, earthly nature, not our new nature in Christ. “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”

According to Matthew 15:10-11, it defiles those who use it. “Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.’”

The bottom line of careless words, no matter what kind they are, is that each of us will have to give account for our words, and—get this—we’ll either be justified or condemned by them. Matthew 12: 34-37 says, “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

3. Words that stem from contempt

Words that stem from contempt give the picture of our heart. And it’s not pretty.

Here’s what Romans 3:13-18 has to say about people who speak such words:

“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness…ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Let’s go back to Matthew 5:22:

“…whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

Why is the judgement on these kinds of words so severe? Because what’s in our heart when we say, “You fool” is judgment. It’s Pride. It’s Contempt. It’s us saying, “I don’t value you. I’m better than you.”

There is nothing more arrogant than that, because all people are created in God’s image. He values them, they belong to Him. We have no right to place our own judgments ahead of God’s truth.

Judgment belongs to God, and we need to trust Him. Just because someone has insulted us or hurt us or cut us off in traffic, or whatever we consider wrong or unforgivable in the moment, that doesn’t give us the right to speak words of contempt. Or to let ourselves become bitter and judgmental. We’re not perfect either.

Psalm 37:7-8 says, “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm.”

4. Words from the enemy

Words that stem from the enemy wouldn’t be a problem if we didn’t listen to them. But for some reason, we seem oh-so-attuned to what he has to say. And what’s more, we take those words in and turn them into negative thoughts (John 14:27) and negative self talk. In fact, negative self-talk is so prevalent, and so pervasive, that we’ve developed an online workshop, Overcoming Damaging Self-Talk, to help people get rid of it. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

Practicing mindful speaking

How do we become better stewards of our spoken words? How do we ensure they don’t stem from any of these potential footholds?

First, the moment you start to let such words escape your lips, stop. Pray. Seek God’s truth.

And second, in place of such words, speak God’s words. For example:

  • In place of anger, speak peace

You can make it a prayer, here’s one you can adapt from Romans 15:13:

God of hope fill me with all joy and peace as I trust in You, so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • In place of hurt, speak restoration

Memorize this: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

  • In place of pride, speak appreciation

Focus on what touches you in others. Focus on seeing Jesus in others.

  • In place of criticism, speak God’s delight in them

Focus on the good things in that person or in what that person did.

“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” Psalm 149:4

  • In place of fear, focus on confidence

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

  • In place of regret, speak praise

Instead of fretting over the past, praise God for the path He’s put you on, for the way He’s working in it. The way He’s been present.

  • In place of discontent, focus on gratitude

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

  • In place of self-focus, focus on God

Think about God’s goodness, God’s character. Think about who you are in Him, and that without Him, we are nothing.

Confidence in God

The good news is we don’t have to do this on our own. Ezekiel 36:25-28 gives us an amazing promise:

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.”

we want to hear from you!

Have you ever regretted words you’ve spoken? What steps do you take to guard your mouth?


Are you letting your emotions fuel harmful actions and words?


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

Special thanks to our August sponsor of the month, Bobbi Updegraff! You can find out more about another important cause she sponsors at

Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast Production Services for their fabulous editing!


Want the latest news from Karen and Erin? Click here to join our newsletter and get an exclusive audio download.