Ep.19 – A Better Encouragement for Writers with Lindsey Carlson

by | Oct 6, 2022 | Ink and Impact Episodes

A Better Encouragement for Writers

Today I have a special guest with us.

Lindsey Carlson is a pastor’s wife, the mother of five and a native Texan, whether inside her own local church or while writing or speaking more broadly, Lindsey delights and teaching women to grow in their love for God’s Word and God’s people. Her writing can be found online at the Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, Risen Motherhood, Christianity Today, and more. In her newest book, A Better Encouragement: Trading Self-Help for True Hope, Lindsey aims to help women seek and find a better source of encouragement than the kinds they’re often promised by the multi-billion-dollar self-help industry.

Lindsey, welcome.

Lindsey Carlson headshot  A Better Encouragement Book Cover

Lindsey Carlson 

Thank you for having me.

 

Dalene Bickel 

I’m so glad to have you. I was sharing with you earlier that because of the title of your book alone, I just had to reach out and hope that you’d be a guest.

Before we dive in, you’re a first-time guest. And I always like to ask my guests the same question, which is: What is one book, in addition to the Bible, that has significantly impacted you in some way?

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Okay, so I went ahead and went the direction of more recently. I think my desires, and what I’ve enjoyed has changed drastically over my life. So I think right now, currently, the most impactful book is called Be Thou My Vision by Jonathan Gibson. It has liturgy-kind of prayers and devotional readings for each day of the month. I’ve been using this since probably January, and I love that it has 30 days. So it’s going alongside while you’re reading through the Bible in a year. So I love that it’s kind of like an add-on while I’m reading through my normal scripture yearly plan. But it adds prayers, and confessions and assurances, a pardon and all of this. And so it’s been really, really wonderful this year; I’ve just been loving it.

 

Dalene Bickel 

I’m going to have to look that up for myself.

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Yeah, it’s very good.

 

Dalene Bickel 

Like I said, I was drawn to the title of your book, which, again, is A Better Encouragement: Trading Self-Help for True Hope. I was wondering what led you to write this book.

 

Lindsey Carlson 

I would say that I am constantly aware of all of the different ways that I want to make my own life better. Anytime I find a problem or something that’s in my way, like I have this bad habit, or I need to make my schedule more efficient, or wow, I really need a better way to exercise or eat healthy. All of these different things that it’s so easy to run into the world and say “Okay, who can help me with this?”

There are encouragers everywhere we look, especially online with all of the social media availability now. And so it’s very easy to go and find influencers anywhere that we want, for any subject that we want.

But then what I started to realize was that whenever I would come across something that I couldn’t really seem to solve on my own, I would lose hope. And I would always blame the method that I was looking to, like the encourager or the method.

I started to realize like this is actually a really deep problem with encouragement; it’s a bigger issue in my faith. I actually was having problems with believing that what God says in His Word is true, and applying it in a way that encourages my heart to persevere in faith and to trust the promises of God.

When I started to realize that, I started to see how often women are lured away from the promises of God to trust in the promises of the world: If you do this, you will have better household management or if you follow this, your kids will be better behaved or if you do this, then you know you’ll have a grip on your life, or your exercise plan. Instead, we need to say, “Hey, let’s get at the real root of this. Why are you discouraged? Why does your heart lack the hope that it needs?”

And so I just decided to turn to Scripture and see what Scripture had to say about encouragement.

 

Dalene Bickel 

Wow. I’m guessing this was a long process; this wasn’t just a one year, “Oh, I’m not doing this correctly.”

I’m thinking on my own, as a writer, and going into bookstores and seeing all these self-help books, and of course, you jump on to YouTube – all these tutorials of how to do things. I personally think that it’s just ramping up and getting even more intense. Would you agree?

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Yeah, I mean, I think the methods probably are ramping up. But I think it’s always been a culture of self-help. When you look back into like, the power of positive thinking back in the ‘70s with Norman Vincent Peale.

I know, growing up for me, there’s always been lots of messaging that’s trying to point to false saviors. But I think the Internet kind of magnifies the availability, because people don’t have to go to a bookstore anymore. They’re everywhere online.

 

Dalene Bickel 

And it’s 24/7. So when you started diving into the Bible, what exactly did you find? What did you determine was the definition of a better encouragement? What was that true hope?

 

Lindsey Carlson 

I think that for me, understanding encouragement is important to set aside the difference between encouragement for worldly people. Like if a teacher in a public school is encouraging a child, that’s one kind of encouragement, but then is there a better encouragement that exists that is specifically for God’s people. And I think that’s kind of where I began to drill down.

As Christians, we have been given a better encouragement, meaning that better promises are intended for God’s people specifically; they’re not for just any random person. It’s for people that specifically have professed faith in Christ – we have a better hope of God’s promises being given for us, and that God will fulfill every promise through Christ Jesus.

We have the better hope of forgiveness, through Christ; we have a better hope of being reunited with God and heaven forever; we have a better kingdom that we’re longing for. So there’s all of these different promises that God has given and fulfilled through Christ, that when we actually believe them, and take them to heart and consider them, we should be stirred to a greater affection toward God.

And ultimately, when we try to fill those deep longings with any promise from the world that isn’t going to actually prove true, we’re going to be disappointed because they don’t always prove true the way that God’s Word is always going to prove true.

 

Dalene Bickel 

That’s such a great message. And I love the distinction because yes, there is encouragement in the secular sense. And there’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily. But I love how you share – and it is in the Bible – that so many verses are directed to believers. I love that thought. And yet, we are so easy to forget those promises, in the daily grind.

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Well, it’s so easy to kind of think of encouragement as offering compliments or affirmation or making statements that make people feel better.

But when you look at Scripture – like when God is encouraging Joshua to go in and take the promised land and He says, “Be strong and courageous for the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.”

That is not an encouragement that’s based on Joshua’s skills. As a leader, it’s not addressing what great preparation he’s made in order to be delivered into the promised land. It’s based on God’s plan.

God had a plan. He wanted to deliver his people, He appointed Joshua to go in and do this work. It was by God’s plan that Joshua was going to face this success in the Promised Land.

And so, when we encourage others by the strength of whatever we hope might be true, we’re setting them up to be disappointed. If we say, “Oh, don’t worry, tomorrow will be better because I’m sure you’re gonna get a job tomorrow” when you’re out of a job, we don’t know that. That’s not a promise that we can offer someone because we don’t actually know that that’s true. But when, as Christians, we are encouraging by God’s promises to say “God has a plan and a purpose for you. And here are His plans and purposes as defined by Scripture,” we can trust that that encouragement is always going to pay off and provide, because it’s going to resonate as true. It’s backed up by Scripture.

 

Dalene Bickel 

So good. I know, even as writers, we like to encourage other writers. There are so many people out there – especially in the secular world, but a lot of Christian writers listen to a lot of influencers like that, too – that say, “You can write your book in 30 days” and “You can write a #1 best seller – just follow this plan.” It’s so easy to be enticed by that.

But it’s also easy to be disillusioned by that when the reality is that most of us can’t write a book in 30 days and the reality that the vast majority of us will not have a #1 best seller.

Then, a lot of times we take it to heart and think that it’s our problem, that we’re not good enough. And then it becomes self-focus.

So, as you’re saying, we should always turn our focus to God and seek what His plan is in all of our endeavors, whether it’s reading a book, or finding a job, or whatever that may be.

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Yeah.

 

Dalene Bickel

I was listening to your interview on the Crossway Podcast, when your book first came out in June, and you mentioned that technology fuels disconnection.

I thought that was a really interesting statement. I was wondering if you could explain that a little bit for our listeners?

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Sure. So I think that the temptation is to say, “Well, I’m really discouraged about something, or I don’t understand something, or I’m looking for help in some way.” And the easiest way to fulfill that longing is to jump online, right?

It’s easy for me to go to Google and say, “Help me fix this problem.” It is much more difficult to pick up the telephone and call another mature believer in the body and say, “Hey, I’m really struggling with what it looks like to stay engaged in the Word of God.”

So it’s going to be much easier for me to help myself to a solution that makes me feel better about myself, so that I can cover my shame and how I feel, because the Internet is never going to shame me. And the internet is always going to have answers that pretend to be good and pleasing.

But if I go to a friend who says, “I don’t know, Lindsay. You say, you don’t have time to be in Scripture, but you sure seem to have time to do this, this, and this. So where’s the disconnect here? Why do you not want to be in Scripture?”

I’m going to sit in front of someone who’s going to look at me and know me, and see into the depths of my heart and see the reality of what I’m dealing with in my life, and be able to speak truth in a way that Google isn’t going to be able to speak to me.

I think sometimes when we’re looking for encouragement, it’s much easier to look into technology, and find stationary images that are going to give us encouragement like just a one-size-fits all, instead of going to people and being connected with the body of Christ that is meant to encourage us in ways that are active and loving and attentive to our needs.

I think that is one of the ways that technology tends to stunt our connection within the body of Christ.

 

Dalene Bickel 

It leads us to want to find the encouragement we want to hear, rather than necessarily the encouragement we need to hear.

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Yes, absolutely. And I mean, that is the thing about staying engaged in community life, where we have people that can insightfully see into what’s going on in our hearts and pay attention to the patterns of our life, behavior, attitude, mood, all of these things. They know what we need sometimes better than we know. Technology isn’t going to be able to do that.

For me, technology isn’t going to call to my attention the ways that I need to be discipled or say the hard things. Look at Scripture and how Scripture encourages: It’s not encouraging only by giving affirmations like, “you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, you can do this, you’ve got this.” That’s not what Scripture is doing.

And God is not giving us His Word just in order to make us feel warm and cozy. He does comfort us through His Word a lot, but He also uses His Word to encourage us toward holiness and to encourage us toward righteousness and to bring to light the ways that we don’t have the fruit of the Spirit in our life.

So I mean, there’s all kinds of warnings that serve as an encouragement for believers to draw nearer to God and to be purified and cleansed by Him.

 

Dalene Bickel 

It’s a definite shift in focus. That’s so good. And something that I’ve noticed, too, is that Scripture is used out of context or part of Scripture dropped off, like “I can do all things…”

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Yes. “Through Christ who strengthens me.”

 

Dalene Bickel 

Yes, not “I can just do all things on my own.” Don’t leave out Christ.

 

Speaking of technology, this audience, our listeners, are all writers in various stages of their writing journey. But one thing we all have in common is that we’re trying to build an author platform and in today’s world, that automatically involves technology and social media, in particular.

How can we balance on this tightrope of not turning so much to technology, but focusing more on God?

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Yeah. I think I think first and foremost, we have to have a desire to let our love be genuine.

Are we seeking to write and to publish in order to disciple others because we genuinely have love for them? That because we were loved by Christ, we love others, and we want to serve them? Or are we doing it because we love the sound of our own voice, and we love for people to pay attention to us?

I think that it’s very, very tricky when you’re building a platform to think about ways that you can convince other people to listen and like your words. But I think that ultimately, the path of discipleship is saying, “follow me.” But it’s saying, “Follow me, I will make you fishers of men. Follow me, as I am following Jesus.”

I think that as we commit our ways to the Lord, and we trust not on our own understanding, but in all of our ways acknowledge Him, I think the Lord opens doors. I mean, I think writing has been one of the clearest paths that has helped me to trust Christ’s path for my life because I don’t necessarily know where it’s going.

I might feel like, “Oh, I’m supposed to write a blog, or I’m supposed to write this next project or whatever.” And I might, or I might not – I don’t know. All I can do is show up, put forth the effort, say, “Lord, I love you. Out of the overflow of my love for you, I want to serve in this way. If it’s your desire, will you open that door for me?” And we have to keep showing up and doing the labor.

But I think that being able to openhandedly say, “Lord, however you choose to use this, may it be to Your glory, and help me to be surrendered to You.”

Writing is just one path that I think we can take of discipleship. It’s not a better way. It’s not the only way. It’s one way. And I think it’s humbling.

 

Dalene Bickel 

It is humbling. And if I’m hearing you correctly, you’re not saying to avoid technology. But use it wisely and seek God’s counsel throughout it.

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Right. Yeah. There’s a big push right now, I think, even for Christians to kind of abandon social media. People are always trying to say things like, “Oh, well, it was so distracting to my family, or it was so distracting in this way. Or that way. I’m just gonna get off social media.”

As someone who has been called to write and to disciple online and in many capacities, I don’t feel like I have that privilege to step away from an online platform.

If you tend to your work faithfully for 10-12 years, to then just walk away and say, “Oh, this is really distracting. I don’t want to deal with this anymore.” I don’t know if that’s good stewardship, personally, for me.

But I do know that when I show up, I have to do it in a way that says this is a tool; technology is a tool. It’s not the only way to do this. But it is a very powerful tool when I’m trying to consider how I might make disciples.

If I’m showing up with the heart that says, “How can I be careful about how I use technology in ways that doesn’t lower my heart into idolatrous ways?” and instead shows up use technology in order to get the message of the gospel out and to encourage and strengthen God’s people, then I think that helps me keep my eye on what it’s supposed to be on, which is loving others.

 

Dalene Bickel 

Right. Another reason that I’ve heard people getting off, particularly Christians, is because of all the negativity.

While we need to be wise about what groups we’re in, and what kind of news sources we’re listening to, and the comments we’re allowing into our lives, we also have to realize that if we’re called as a Christian writer, we’re going to encounter negative feedback, and we’re going to suffer. Our pride is going to be wounded. Our feelings are going to be hurt. That’s part of the writing process that we have to grow through and work through.

Jesus suffered to and he didn’t give up. And we’re called to be like Christ.

So, I just wanted to share that as well.

Now, some of our listeners might be thinking, “This all sounds great, but you know, I’m going to be an indie published, self-published author. I’m really on a tight budget. I need to look at those self-help tutorials and listen to some of these influencers.”

How is that different from the self-help culture that you’re talking about?

 

Lindsey Carlson 

That’s a good question. I don’t think it’s wrong to be a self-starter or to be someone who loves to educate themselves. I should make that very clear.

I have always been the kind of person that when I want to understand something, I like to learn how to take something apart and put it back together by myself. I’m in absolutely no way saying that we shouldn’t access tools that are freely available to us on the Internet, or in libraries, or wherever they might be.

I think it’s great to have that godly curiosity and hunger to grow and to refine our craft. And to get better and better at what we do. I think those can all please the Lord. I think that the difference becomes when we’re chasing something with the false understanding that God has promised something in return.

If we think by showing up to this self-help tutorial, or by showing up to this class that I might pay for online, or a book or whatever it is, and investing my time in this, God now owes me a blessing in this form. If I take this class that promises me in 30 days, I’m gonna grow my business. And after 30 days, my business looks exactly the same, then I feel more discouraged and I’m disappointed.

Is that because I’m a failure or because God has disappointed me? Absolutely not.

But I think what happens by nature is that people sell products in order to sell the promise of hope.

If you are buying into a product with the understanding that this person is going to give me something in return for my money or my time, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment, because we’re assuming that God is working in a formulaic way.

The Lord is not working in a formulaic way. He’s working in a way that considers how we might be made righteous, and be sanctified, becoming more like Him.

And so when we come to a class, there are ways that we may learn and grow from things. And there are certain skills that we might take away.

But as Christians, we have to come to those processes with a clarity in mind to know ahead of time that the Lord is on His throne, whether or not I walk away with the outcome that I desire.

God is ruling and reigning over my life. He opens doors. He shuts doors all the time. He equips me, He gives me resources, He gives me opportunities. And I’m just trying to show up and be faithful.

I think that the twisting of that is when we believe promises that people make, which are extra biblical promises. There’s a difference between what people can say (“This is a good way to learn, this is a good rule of thumb away to practice”) and separating the hopes of our hearts and our deepest longings from what the world is maybe making promises about.

 

Dalene Bickel 

So good. Yeah, I like that.

So, as authors, we’re trying to build our platform. We’re putting in the work to write our book and learn how to write. Then we get to the marketing stage. And this is where, at least in my experience, self-focus can set in because you’re thinking, “What can I do to sell more books? I need to sell XYZ number of books to meet my financial goals or needs; in some cases, in order to pay the bills.” What are some biblical ways we can guard against self-focus while marketing our books?

 

Lindsey Carlson 

That’s a good question, though I think it is different depending on which direction you’re going with the new publishing ways that exists.

I want to be careful, because I think in many ways, because I had the advantage of publishing with a traditional publisher, that I recognize is just mercy, the way that I have to approach marketing is very different than the way that someone that self-publishes is going to have to approach it.

Whether or not someone else is marketing your book, or whether you are the only one marketing your book, both of those things are ultimately controlled by the Lord and His call on your life and your words. The Lord is going to oversee the message. If your voice and your hands are writing a message and speaking a message that is pleasing to the Lord, that He wants to go forth, nothing that you’re going to say or do is going to stop His hand from getting it out or prevent that message.

But also, we can show up and be faithful with our efforts. I think it has more to do with the strivings of our heart. Are we anxiously toiling, trying to get a message out as though the Lord is worried that we’re going to do it wrong or not get it out? Or are we resting as people who know that the Lord has been ruling and reigning and calling people to Himself since the beginning of time and that He is capable of speaking to His people in the ways and the manners and the methods and the books that He wants to?

I think a lot of it, for me, has to do with going, “What can I control and what can I not control? What can I do in my pursuits to make sure that I am keeping my heart steadfastly grounded to the Lord, and in that trust?”

I think marketing has a way of pulling us away from that grounded anchoring that says, “This is all up to you. And if you fail at this, you’re going to ruin your chances at being read, you’re going to never get your message into people’s hands.”

Really, ultimately, if the Lord has called you to do this, and the Lord has given a message that is grounded in His Word, then the Lord is going to be the best publicity director that you could ever hire. And He’s free, you know? I mean, His grace is infinitely better than your marketing skills. And that should be a relief to us.

 

Dalene Bickel 

I agree. That’s good. You were mentioning there about in your own experience, and so forth. And I was just wondering, this was your second book. How have you seen God at work throughout your writing journey?

 

Lindsey Carlson 

How have I not seen God at work? I mean, I feel like the only reason that I still am writing at all is because of how much it draws me closer to the throne of grace and helps me recognize my need.

I never honestly set out to be a writer. I’m probably a rare case, because I actually hated reading growing up. I hated writing.

I loved theater, and I loved communication and talking and speaking, but I hated reading. And I hated writing. I think it was because school made me read specific things, and not getting to have my own choices of reading and everything.

But when I came to faith, the Lord started working on my heart and calling me to be obedient to him. I felt this desire to teach women the Bible and to help women find Christ in a way that I had been so excited to find Christ. It was like, “What can I do to help other people love Jesus the way that I love Jesus?” Because it’s just so incredible.

So writing was something that sort of fell in my lap, like accidentally. I just started writing blogs. But then, as I started connecting with other writers, my own desire started to change and grow. And that felt really scary for a while because I didn’t ever feel trained and gifted to be a professional writer. The Lord changed that path along the way as I followed.

As that happened, that was really scary. Because I thought, Well, if the Lord is calling me to write a book, and I don’t feel qualified, and I don’t feel skilled, or equipped, only the Lord is going to be able to make a way to do that kind of thing.

And so it became such a journey of trust and faith – not to believe that if I trusted God, and I obeyed, and I followed step by step that the Lord would give me a book contract, but [to believe] that the Lord would direct the desires of my heart and that the Lord would comfort me if I was disappointed in something, or He would strengthen me to do something that was scary.

Each and every step along the way, He met me in each of those sadnesses and joys. Miraculously, I ended up getting a book contract. But it was never something that was just “easy” or it just “whoops, happened.” It was hard labor and toil, and lots of self-loathing and doubt and lots of, “What am I doing? Why did I get into this? What have I done?”

Then you launch a book into the world and you go, “Well, there’s that. Let’s see [what happens].” It’s not glamorous, you know; it’s like any kind of service – you always wonder if you’ve done the best that you could, if you could have done better, and if your work is actually helpful. But the Lord is so faithful to continue to refine me through the process of writing; it’s captivating. I don’t want to walk away, because I know it’s how I learn. I love to study scripture and to write because it helps me to understand and draw nearer to God.

 

Dalene Bickel 

As you were speaking, it came to my mind that whenever we finally release the control of our books in the process, there’s freedom in that; we have freedom in Christ. We just lay it aside. It’s easier said than done, though, right? It’s a conscious decision that we have to do daily, really.

I appreciate you sharing that; we all learn from other writers and their experiences. And there was one experience that you had that I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing about – a challenge you had right before your book published? Something about a collarbone?

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Oh, yes. Oh, that was fun.

I signed a book contract to write about encouragement before there was a pandemic on the horizon, so I thought, Okay, I’ve got all my ducks squared away, like my people are in school; I can sit and write everyday while they’re at school.

Then the whole world kind of just stopped turning, and all five of my kids came home from school. And my husband is a pastor; he works out of our house. So there’s seven of us and we lived across the country from our family. So, you know, I started thinking, Oh, my gosh, how am I going to finish this book contract? It was terrifying.

All the pressure of wanting to perform and wanting to do a good job and be faithful, but also [recognizing], There are real limits here. I’m not sure that I’m going to make this deadline.

I don’t do well under pressure. I hate deadlines. I mean, I don’t know that anyone does. But in a kind of final Hail Mary pass, my family went to Texas to stay with my parents during the summer, maybe a month before the book was due. The idea was that we would go and rest at my parents’ house, they would help with the kids, I could get my book finished and everything.

One night, I decided I was going to just break free, go have some fun so I got on a waterslide with my kids, trying to be the fun mom. The way that I sloshed up in the waterslide at the very end, I hit my shoulder blade in just such a way that it broke my scapula (like in your back) and slammed into my collarbone and broke my collarbone. It was incredibly painful.

But it was two or three weeks before my book was due. I was immobilized with my dominant arm, so I couldn’t write, I couldn’t type without moving my arm and I was in massive amounts of pain. Of course, we’d had to go to the emergency room and I caught COVID at the emergency room.

 

Dalene Bickel

Oh, no!

 

Lindsey Carlson 

So we get back, my book is due in a week or two. And then my entire family caught COVID. So the last two weeks where I’m supposed to be in crunch mode, finishing this project that has already been stressed by the world being on hold, is now being completed from a bed with my arm in a sling with COVID and with all of my kids home. I had never felt so … discouraged would be the understatement of the year. Feeling like, Lord, if anybody should be finishing a project feeling encouraged, it should be me, right? I’ve done all these really hard things. And I’ve worked really hard. How could you make me finish this project feeling so broken in all these different ways?

It was really kind of eye opening to see how even though everything around me really seemed to be shaking and weak and broken, I really did have the hope of better encouragement grounding me and helping me to remember that even though everything seemed shaky and I didn’t know how it’s going to turn out, my hope was not in that the Lord would make sure that I finished my contract on time.

And I wasn’t embarrassed that the better hope was actually that even if I didn’t turn it in on time, that the Lord loved me, and that He was caring for me and that it surrounded me by a body of Christ that wanted to love and support me.

And He’d given me good gifts to sustain me as I was in a really hard time.

So to really be able to see myself from this perspective of like, Look, Lindsey, look what God has actually birthed in you through the writing of this book. Things are still hard; He didn’t take away everything. Things are still hard, but your heart is stronger because these lessons have really actually sunk down into the roots of your heart and there’s fruit coming out of it.

So it was actually a really sweet ending. You know, I think I did end up actually having to ask for an extension in order to get it in on time. But the body of Christ really came through and people were buying us dinner, giving us gift cards for dinner to get delivered, and groceries and really, the Lord just cared for us so kindly during that season.

 

Dalene Bickel 

Toward the end of it, you saw the blessing in it. But it’s so hard when you’re in the middle of it. And I thank you for sharing the perspective – the human perspective – because most of us right out of the gate would be flustered and frustrated and [asking] why, and [feeling] embarrassment. I mean, that’s a real feeling that we might have. But to be able to then catch ourselves and flip that switch.

That’s something that I need to work on more and I love that you’ve written a book to help all of us make those distinctions and turn those thoughts around to combat what’s out there in secular society that is trying to teach us and lure us away from the Father.

Thank you for sharing that personal experience, I do appreciate that.

One last thing that I wanted to share is, you mentioned about the body of Christ coming around you and supporting you. That’s one of my heart cries for writers – for us not to look at us as competitors. Sometimes that’s the case and I just would love for writers to draw alongside each other and support each other, encourage each other. So, I’m all about finding communities and building those relationships. Did you have a writing community when you were in the process of doing the book?

 

Lindsey Carlson 

Yeah, actually, I feel like I would largely credit the fact that I am still writing to that writing community. In the beginning days, when I first started, I was much better about reaching out and getting to know other writers that were in my current phase of writing. It was really, really helpful to have friends that had come in and started around the same time that I had.

But then also friends that were a little bit farther ahead of me. What that did for me was, it normalized the trials. Like when things were really difficult at the time and I didn’t know … like, I sent an article to a big platform and I hadn’t heard back for three weeks. And I thought, Well, I guess they’re not interested. And a friend might say, “Oh, no, that editor, they only answer every two months” and then I’d be like, “Oh, okay, so I should email them again and ask.”

It helped normalize some of the struggles and the trials for me, so that I didn’t grow weary and give up.

And then as we became closer friends, we also were able to edit each other’s things, and to throw things back and forth to say, “Hey, I think you could have clarified this” or “This statement could have been stronger.” Having editors that are friends is incredibly helpful.

Our family was called to move. We lived in Houston when I started writing, then we moved to Baltimore, and we were there for seven years. And now we’ve moved back to Texas again. So some of my closest friends are actually writers that I’ve had that whole time. Even when I moved, those were friendships that sustained me and allowed me to continue to do work, even when I had to start all over in a new church body, and really kind of start over in many ways.

These were friendships that were consistent, and kept me walking by faith and those journeys where I wasn’t just completely giving up on a craft that the Lord had called me to. So yeah, I would say that probably is the reason that I’ve maintained faithfulness [in writing] over the years; because of really good, strong, encouraging friends, which you can only have if you’re being one of those friends.

 

Dalene Bickel 

That’s reciprocal. Thank you for sharing that as well.

Everyone listening, I encourage you, if you’re interested in learning more about her book, A Better Encouragement, to feel free to check that out on Amazon and Crossway.

And if they’d like to connect with you on social media, can they do that?

 

Lindsey Carlson 

I’m on Instagram. I’m on Facebook. I’m not on Twitter. Or click the contact button on my website at lindseycarlson.net.

 

Listener Opportunities

If you would like to get connected with a group of fellow Christian writers, I have the perfect thing for you. It is called The Inkwell.

It is a group that I have been running for two years now at 10 am Eastern Standard Time. But the exciting thing that I wanted to announce today is that during the month of October – so starting right now – I am opening it up for a second session on Wednesdays at 2 pm Eastern Time.

This has been done primarily because I’ve been hearing from many of my West Coast friends who would love to join in, but the 10 am Eastern is just a little too early for them, especially when they have littles that they’re trying to get out the door.

I encourage each of you to consider joining a session of The Inkwell. It’s a great opportunity to connect with fellow Christian writers, pray together, share resources together, but most of all – get writing done!

If you don’t think you can write in a short amount of time, I want you to give it a try. You just might be surprised by how much you get accomplished in our hour together.

So again, it’s a trial run in October every Wednesday 10am Eastern AND 2pm Eastern.

If I get enough participants in the afternoon session, I will continue it after October. But it’s up to you to let me know if that is something that you would like to do, and you can let me know by joining. And how do you join?

Click this link to register.

It’s free – no money at all. I just need to know where to send you the login information every Wednesday morning. I hope to see you there!

 

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I also wanted to remind you that if you haven’t already, let me know if you have published a Christian book. I am curating a list of books that I am going to distribute in November. I’m going to share about it here on a podcast episode in November, as well as sharing those books to my private list of readers; my mailing list of readers that I have accumulated.

So if you haven’t already taken me up on this offer, it’s a fantastic offer for you to be able to get your book seen by new readers. Be sure to email me at info@inkandimpact.com and provide me with some basic information.

I need to know your name and the title of your book (or books, if you’ve written more than one); let me know about them. Of course, they should be Christian books, whether it’s a Christian theme (if it’s fiction), or a devotional or a how-to or whatever kind of Christian book you’ve written, I want to know about it. If it’s independent or traditionally published – either one – send them to me.

I need:

  • your name,
  • the book title,
  • a blurb about the book (the back cover blurb – let me know what it’s about), and
  • a link so I can see the cover and ideally read the first chapter or sample – the Look Inside feature.

Send those my way by the end of this month, October 31.

I’m so excited to take a look at those and curate that list for a future episode in November. Like I said, I want to support you. This podcast is all about supporting Christian writers. And I know that, especially when we’re indie published, it can be really hard to get our books in front of new readers.

This is my way to reach out and help you in a small way. But it could be a big way, too. You just never know!

So send me that information. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Next Week’s Episode

Next week, be sure to tune in when we have Douglas Bond, the author of more than 30 books of historical fiction, biography, devotion, and practical theology, who also is director of the Oxford Creative Writing master class.

He’s going to be joining us, talking about how all writing should be creative writing.

So, no matter what genre that you are working in, he believes that it should be creative. We are going to discuss that – unpack it – and you won’t want to miss it! It is a phenomenal interview.

Be sure to subscribe to Ink and Impact on your podcast player of choice (if you haven’t already!) or you can always go to the Ink and Impact.com website.

 

 

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That’s it for today fellow pen pusher.

Remember, don’t just write a book. Make an impact.

Subscribe to the Ink and Impact Podcast

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