Write from the DeepGuest post used with permission from Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young’s website, www.writefromthedeep.com.

Karen will keynote at the February 9-10 Write to Impact Lives Conference in Lansdale, PA. Her topic:

Write From The Deep
God’s call to us is clear: come away with Him, let His words sink deep into us first, then take His truths to the world. This session, based on Ezekiel 2:1-3:22, will challenge writers to go deep with God in their call and their craft, for it is in the Deep that writers find refreshment, renewal, and restored passion.

Erin will present a continuing session at the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference on “Write From The Deep.” She says,

“In these interactive sessions, writers will be challenged to go deep with God in their call and their craft. We’ll explore what it means when God calls us to the deep, and we’ll see how God uses the deep to help us find our story, hone our message, and understand our audience. Finally, we’ll talk about how to equip ourselves to face down obstacles—external and internal.”

To view a list of the 58 agents, editors, and authors on faculty at the Colorado conference, click here.

And now, here is an excerpt from Karen and Erin’s podcast. I urge you to subscribe.

Did God Really Ask You to Write?

Have you ever sat back and wondered if you heard wrong about being a writer? If God really did give you the task to write, then why is it all so…difficult? Frustrating? Disappointing? And why isn’t He confirming that He gave you this task?

Most of us are doing this task of writing because we believe God has given it to us. So why do so many writers struggle with doubt? Why do we wonder if we really did hear God correctly? Or struggle to know what He’s leading us to do right now?

The good news is that you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for writers to wonder if maybe they heard God wrong. Or to want, down the road, some sense of confirmation that God really said what they thought He did. . . .

This issue really isn’t about hearing God at all. It’s about knowing Him. As well as—or even better than—you know your closest friends and family. Think about it, when your best friend calls you on the phone, do you recognize his or her voice? Of course, because you know that person so well. You know the inflections in his words, the sound of her laughter and weeping. You know her as well as you know yourself. That’s how well you need to know God.

You have within you the very spirit of the living, Almighty God. If you don’t know Him, or His spirit, as well as you do your friends and family, you need to focus on getting to the point where you, the sheep, are so well acquainted with the Shepherd’s voice that your response to it is immediate. That the sense you have when He speaks is one of trust and obedience. And you don’t doubt that you heard it, because you know it too well to do so.

The way to hear God, to know it’s His voice speaking to you, is simply to take the time to build relationship with Him.

Doubt isn’t an issue of not hearing, it’s an issue of not knowing and, as a result, not trusting.

If you don’t really KNOW Him, then of course you’ll start to doubt that He put you on this path when it doesn’t go the way you think it should. The key is knowing, deep in the fabric of your soul, that how the journey goes isn’t a validation—or invalidation—of God’s call.

We’re called to follow a suffering Savior, so you can be sure there will be difficulties and suffering. But we endure because He’s there with us. And we don’t take a detour unless it’s clear, deep in our soul, that He is the one telling us to do so.

Click here to read on for solutions to doubt and much more.


Come to what? When? Where? The NEW

Write to Impact Lives Conference
February 9-10 in Lansdale, PA

And why?

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8. To give your writing the jumpstart it needs in the midst of the winter doldrums and prepare to meet with editors and agents at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Attendees will receive 10% off GPCWC’s registration fee .

7. To participate in our Friday evening author interviews and book signing. If you’re not yet published, you’ll be encouraged by their testimony and by fellowship with other conferees and our faculty. We need to

Encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

6. To be challenged, encouraged, and inspired through three powerful keynote addresses.

  • “Christians Are Hateful” – The Cultural Challenge for Today’s Christians – Bill Watkins
  • Write from the Deep – Karen Ball
  • Keeping Your Dreams Alive – Jim Watkins

5. To discover the advantages of “Going Indie” with Sarah Bolme, Director, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). Self-publishing is no longer viewed as the last resort for writers unable to land a contract with a traditional publisher. Even best-selling authors often choose to go indie. This 4-hour learning lab will give you the knowledge and tools you need to publish and market your book.

4. To keep growing your writing skills in a 3-hour continuing session.

  • Taming Fiction Dragons with Karen Ball who has built fiction lines for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and B&H Publishing Group. As an editor, author, and former literary agent with The Steve Laube Agency, Karen has over 30 years publishing experience.
  • The Five Rs of Nonfiction with Jim Watkins, an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles. Jim will give you practical, step-by-step methods to get into print and pixels.
  • Writing that Changes Lives with Bill Watkins – Writing that connects, challenges, provokes, inspires, casts vision, provides hope, and refuses to back away from telling the truth can change lives and eventually cultures. During his 35-plus years in publishing, Bill has worked with hundreds of authors including Chuck Swindoll, Josh McDowell, Leslie Vernick, and Mike Huckabee. He is also an award-winning author with 7 published books, the president of Literary Solutions, and senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group.
  • Develop a Personalized Marketing Strategy for Your Book with Karen Whiting, an award-winning author of 25 nonfiction books. Whether it’s still an idea or an already published book, learn how to use your strengths to develop a marketing strategy that fits you and reaches your potential readers.

3. To learn ways to build your “platform.”  Whether you land a contract with a traditional publisher or go indie, you need to learn how to effectively reach your audience. Our faculty panel will share what works (and doesn’t) and answer your questions.

2. To take advantage of the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a faculty member for a paid critique or marketing consultation for just $25. Barb Haley, our registrar, says: “Learning in a classroom is awesome, but to have someone give specific feedback about your  writing is so valuable. There have been conferences where I’ve scheduled 3-4 of these!” Space is limited and available on a first-come basis. Your manuscript (first 7 pages and a one-sheet) or marketing questions (and more click here) must be submitted by February 1.

1. Last but first, to hear from the Lord and recommit yourself to write to impact lives!

God can do anything, you know—far more
than you could ever imagine or guess or request
in your wildest dreams!
Ephesians 3:20 MSG

For more information and to register, click here.

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Looking to overcome winter doldrums and jumpstart this year’s writing?

A brand-new conference is coming up quickly this February 9-10 (Friday/Saturday) in Lansdale, PA (just off the north/south PA Turnpike) at Towamencin Mennonite Church (Friday afternoon) and Dock Mennonite Academy (Friday evening and all day Saturday). Friday night lodging at the Holiday Inn is $89 plus tax with roommate matching available to split the cost with one, two, or three other writers.

A small but highly qualified faculty will provide three inspiring keynotes, valuable 20-minute paid critiques and marketing consultations, a “Build Your Platform Panel,” and in-depth teaching.

Sarah Bolme, teaching a 4-hour learning lab Friday afternoon on Going Indie. Sarah is the author of the award-winning Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace and the director of the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Karen Ball, teaching a 3-hour session on Taming Fiction Dragons. In her more than 30 years in publishing, Karen has built fiction lines for major publishers and worked with some of the best authors, including Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury.

Bill Watkins, teaching a 3-hour session on Writing that Changes Lives. In his 35-plus years in publishing, Bill has worked with authors such as Mike Huckabee, Charles Swindoll, and Josh McDowell. He is an award-winning author of 7 books and senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group.

Jim Watkins, teaching a 3-hour session on The Five Rs of Nonfiction. Jim is an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles. He has spoken across the United States and overseas.

Karen Whiting, teaching a 3-hour session on Developing a Personalized Marketing Strategy for Your Book. Karen is a freelance writer and award-winning author of 25 nonfiction books.

Feb flyer for webFriday evening,  in addition to Bill Watkins’ keynote, Christians Are Hateful – The Cultural Challenge for Today’s Christians, includes author interviews and a book signing. Bring your book(s) to sell and sign.

Click here for the conference flyer.

And for more info and to register click here.

Conference Bonus:

An extra bonus for conferees is to attend and participate in the Munce Christian Product Exposition (CPE) February 11-13 at Eden Resort in Lancaster, PA.

Munce, the largest association of independent Christian bookstores in North America, holds two CPEs each year, the second in Nashville, TN, in the fall.

It is a real privilege to come and interact with 100+ bookstore owners. Karen Whiting will do a special training at the CPE in how to make the most of this exciting opportunity including: 

1. There are several limited spots open to sign complimentary copies of books for retailers at the Sunday afternoon (4:30 – 5:30) author personality event. Authors need to provide 50-80 copies of their book to give retailers. This is a great opportunity to get your book in the hands of retailers who might choose to carry the book, or have you come to their store for an event. You can include your speaker one sheet, bookmarks, and other promotional materials.

2. Experience a book trade show. The exhibit floor is open on Monday and Tuesday plus there are workshops on marketing and other retail topics. You’ll see the latest in products and have the opportunity to talk to retailers and sales reps (you cannot interrupt the sales happening between retailers and sales people).

Click here for the schedule. If you’re interested in attending, email Karen at authorkarenwhiting@gmail.com.

Matt mountain.png

What is the biggest obstacle you face in accomplishing what God has called you to do?

For me, it’s faith – or rather, to be honest, lack of faith.

Despite all the amazing things I have seen Him do, when faced with a new challenge, I still struggle to trust Him. Some mountains seem too big, too steep, too treacherous. It’s easier to question His call, to explain why I’m not the best person for the assignment, to suggest He choose someone else who is more qualified.

But then, I remember,

 You can never please God without faith, without depending on him.
Hebrews 11:6 (TLB)

I think of the exciting adventures I would have missed if I’d said no. More than that, I would have missed the lessons learned through needing to depend on Him. Most of all, I would have grieved the One who has been and is so faithful.

What mountain are you facing? How can I pray for you?

~ *~ *~ * ~

To encourage you as you climb your mountain:

Written by the women who are part of Linda Evans Shepherd’s Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA). Click here for a free subscription.



I’ve been a member since Linda founded AWSA seventeen years ago.  It’s an incredible group of over 450 women. Click here to view a message from Linda and receive a free gift.





Between the Lamp Posts front cover





I was blessed to edit this book last fall and was so impressed with it that I purchased copies for fifteen of my friends for Christmas. I encourage you to visit Becky’s website and watch her video where she talks about why she wrote this devotional book. There is also a link to order it from Amazon or Kindle.




Obstacle # 4 – Self-doubts

This is a biggee for me and for most writers.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins

― Walter D. Wintle

The  bottom line? It’s normal to have self-doubts. In fact, it’s far better to doubt our abilities and thus, hopefully, to be teachable than to have an inflated ego.  But it’s critical that we not doubt the One who has called us and who promises:
Now you have every grace and blessing; every spiritual gift and power for doing his will are yours during this time of waiting for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7 (TLB)

Nurturing our doubts not only can cause us to give up before we even begin, we grieve our Heavenly Father when we focus on our self-doubts rather than Him.

I’ve written a lot about self-doubts in my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers and on this blog. See my June 2013 post and the link you’ll find in it to an interview with best-selling author Joel Rosenberg and his battle with self-doubts.

Obstacle # 5 – Lack of fellowship with other writers

I will always be grateful for the pastor who paid the way for me to go to my first writers’ conference about 45 years ago. Little did I know that conference would change my life and lead to a 35 year ministry directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and 22 year ministry directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Both 2018 conferences are in the planning stages with registration scheduled to open February 1 for Philly and April 1 for Philly. I’ll begin posting info on the websites soon.

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But a once-a-year conference isn’t enough! Check out the new day and a half Write to Impact Lives Conference February 9-10 in Lansdale, PA.

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Beyond going to conferences, you need to be part of a critique group. A morning group meets one Thursday morning a month in my Lansdale home. An evening group for advanced writers also meets in my home every other Thursday evening. For info go to http://writehisanswer.com/critiquegroups. Sorry men. Both groups are for ladies only.

CWMG 2018
You’ll find info on critique groups around the nation in The Christian Writers Market Guide 2018. This 578-page must-have resource is available through the Write His Answer Bookstore for $19.99 (retail $22.99). It’s also available through a monthly subscription.

I also encourage you to subscribe to The Christian Communicator to keep your Market Guide updated and for helpful articles.

I’ve been writing for the Lord for 45 years, so I’ve got more obstacles to address and how to overcome them. That’s the key – not to be blindsided by them. We need to remember the Girl Scout motto, “Be prepared!”

Click here for a Goal Planning Chart that includes columns for expected obstacles and how you will overcome them along with Scripture promises to claim.

I’d love to hear what obstacles you are facing and to pray for you.

This year I will

I confesss – I did not make any new year resolutions! But then I haven’t made any for many years. Why? Because I know I’m better at breaking resolutions than making them.

I do believe in goal-setting. Why? Because goals are something that require me to work to make them happen.

Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness,
and there is ruin in a flood of empty words.
Ecclesiastes 5:7 TLB

Setting and reaching goals also increases my dependence on the Lord for I’ve learned that without His help I will surely fail.

I especially need His help to identify and overcome the obstacles that will defeat me if I allow them to.

Obstacle #1 – Not enough time
“When we say we don’t have time, we’re not stating a fact but a priority,” Dwight Robertson said in a keynote at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference a number of years ago. What is fact is that we all get 24 hours in a day – no more and no less. We don’t find time, we make time for what is most important to us. But . . .

Obstacle #2  – Procrastination
Someone has said,

Procrastination is a sin
It brings me so much sorrow
I know I should stop doing it
I think I’ll start tomorrow!

But why do we choose to put off until tomorrow what we should do today? Click here for the answer in my article, “Overcoming Procrastination.”

Obstacle #3 – Time-Wasters
For me, and more than likely for you, too, one of the biggest time wasters is my computer that is supposed to save me time! Beyond the unexplained glitches that always seem to occur when I’m on deadline, I’m increasingly frustrated by  technology that keeps advancing faster than I can keep up. I’ve often said, if only someone would sit down with me for an hour and walk me through the stuff I can’t figure out . . .

I’m glad that in my effort to find the bottom of my inbox I didn’t delete this email from Udemy. I hadn’t heard of them, but their well-written email offering online courses worth as much as $200 for only $10.99 compelled me to view sample lessons. The price break is only good for nine more days, so I encourage you to check them out.  This tutorial especially captured my attention:

WordPress for Beginners 2016 – Perfect for authors & bloggers
Seven video hours of 77 lectures without any technospeak!

Check tomorrow’s post for more obstacles and how to overcome them. And be sure to “Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor” (Hebrews 12:2 TLB).

Christmas tree lg 2017
Dear friends –

We are praising God for His presence in our lives during the blessings and challenges of 2017. He is so faithful!

A springtime blizzard in Colorado that dumped 41” of snow during the Colorado Christian Writers Conference was an unbelievable challenge. I’m so grateful many conferees heeded my email to come early and attend the Wednesday afternoon workshops free of charge before the roads were not passable.

The time pressures that go with directing the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences were more intense than ever thanks to events beyond my control.  A slow recovery from surgery prevented one of the Colorado keynoters from coming. I knew Father wanted me to bring the message. I’m grateful for the new handicapped bathroom at the Y where I hid Friday afternoon to prepare a rough outline and PowerPoint slides. As someone has said, “I could write a book.” Having directed over 50 conferences, I definitely have a lot to share. It’s on my never-ending to-do list!

Paul’s fishing trips resulted in several fish dinners this year. His help around the house and running errands enables me to be in full-time ministry.

We’re thankful to live within walking distance of our three grandkids – well, walking distance for them but not for us. It’s becoming obvious that I’m not going to be able put off the replacement of both knees much longer. Paul’s arthritis makes walking difficult for him too.

September 30 we brought home an eight-week-old puppy. Emmy is a Labradoodle and the most energetic and strong-willed puppy we have ever had. She is definitely keeping us and our nine-year-old Golden active.

Emmy & Lady & tree 2017

Our oldest daughter, Sharon, and her husband, Howard, are both finally getting disability benefits. Please pray for them and the health challenges they face daily.

Our son, Rob, Nicole, our daughter-in-law, and their two dogs moved out the same day we got Emmy. We miss them but are so happy they are  in a beautiful new home of their own.

Deb, Rob, and our three grandkids have had an exciting year of travel including two weeks in Europe.

As another year draws to a close may you know His peace and joy because He came and is coming again.