How did you become an author? It’s one of the questions I get all the time and today, my dear friend and author of over 75 books, Tricia Goyer joins me to encourage you that YOU can find your voice! God has good things in store for you as you share His words with others. Be encouraged!!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- John 15:16-17
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- 7-Day Writer Challenge
- Write That Book Subscription Group
- MomStrong International
- Scripture Writing Challenge
- Becoming MomStrong
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Tricia Goyer is a prolific author of more than seventy books. She is a homeschooling mom of ten, grandmother of four, and wife to John. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Center in Kalispell, Montana and now leads a teen mom support group in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Hey everybody, this is Heidi St John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Friday, June 7th—this is episode number 776. You guys know that I love to have friends on the show with me on Friday’s who are going to encourage you in your walk with God and to find out what it is that God has uniquely created you to do. And today’s episode is right in line with that. My friend Tricia Goyer, who has authored 75 books, roughly, is on this show with me today and we’re going to talk about how you can learn to tell your stories.
Stick around. I think you’re going to be encouraged.
All right, so I want to thank everybody who’s been coming out to say hello out on the circuit. My son graduates from high school tomorrow, from our homeschool tomorrow. So I’m in kind of graduation mode. Today is rehearsal for us rehearsal. Oh my goodness. All those things, and tomorrow’s graduation. And then next week on Wednesday I’m going to head to Denver for the CHEC conference. I’ll be there with my friend Ken Ham. So come on out—that’s June 13th through the 15th and I cannot wait to see you guys come on out to the CHEC invention in Denver, Colorado. Also want to let you know that we are right at the very beginning of a brand new study at MomStrong International. We’re studying the fruits of the Spirit and next Wednesday I’m going to be diving into week two of that, and we’re going to be talking about how to become free from it anger. And that’s another thing I love about Tricia. She’s written about this topic extensively, so I’m excited to see what God’s gonna do in your life as you study the Word with us—you can find that study at MomStrongInternational.com. We’ve got almost 13,000 over there now doing the Scripture Writing Challenge with us every single day. So we’re excited that you’re there. Speaking of the Scripture Writing Challenge today’s versus found in John 15:16-17, it says You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another.
I love that Jesus is saying, listen, this isn’t up to you. It’s up to me. I chose you. I appointed you. I’ve got something I want you to do. I want you to bear good fruit and that’s what my friend Tricia and I are going to be talking about today. Tricia is a mom of 10, and she’s written at least 75 books. She’s a prolific author and an incredible writer and just a good friend of mine. And we’re going to talk a little bit today about how you can tell your story. I’m really excited about this. It’s a question I get a lot at the podcast. Tricia, my friend, welcome back to the podcast.
[Tricia] Thank you Heidi. I always love chatting with you.
[Heidi] Well, we’re going to have a hoot and holler and a good time today because I was telling you before the show started that I get this question a lot. People will say—how did you raise seven kids and become an author, and a speaker, and a blogger? And the first thing I always tell people is—it’s grace, right? So particular grace over my life to do this particular thing. And so that has to be at the very forefront of our conversation. We want to do what God asks us to do, but there’s so many, men and women who listen to this show and they have a story to tell and they’re trying to figure out how they can tell it. And nobody knows better about that than you. So I thought—let’s start there. I’m sure you could ask this question at least as much as I do and probably more. When someone comes up to you and says—Tricia, I want to write a book. Like this is a massive question, right? This is not your, this isn’t your 30-second answer that you can give on your way to a workshop at a homeschool conference. But when someone comes and talks to you about that and they want to be become a blogger, they want to become an author. What the first—I’m dying to know, cause maybe you’ll help me. What’s the first thing you say?
[Tricia] I think the first thing we need to do is realize that if you are asking that question, that God has a call on your life—because no ordinary people who want to do this, want to put their words out there, want to get criticism, went to get edits, want to get rejection, went to get bad Amazon ratings, or all those sorts of things.
[Heidi]Oh, that’s brutal too—those bad Amazon ratings. It’s a thing.
[Tricia] Exactly! So if you are asking it, then God has called you to spread the gospel. And the cool thing is today, I mean through blogs, you were mentioning, and you know, Facebook, and the Internet—we can reach people all over the world. It’s so amazing when I check on my website to see there’s people from all over that are able to hear the gospel. So, you know, before missionaries had to travel and, you know, get in boats and leave their families, and going to other side of the world—we can do it right from their homes. But the first thing is dedicating yourself to God and saying—God, I know that you’ve called me through this. Help me. And kind of giving it over to Him. And for many years I wanted to get published because I wanted to look good. I’d been a teen mom. I wanted to prove myself. And it wasn’t until I relinquished my kind of pride and said—God, this has to be your thing and not what I want—that God started opening doors. So the first thing would relinquish yourself to God. But then the second thing…
[Heidi] Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I must, I must stop you. I’m going to stop you right there because I think you’ve touched on something really important. I don’t want to miss it. What is coveted right now in the culture? So much of what is covered is platform. So we’re looking for how many likes can we get on Facebook? How many followers can we get an Instagram, how many reviews can be get on Amazon, all those things. And basically what you’re saying is—that’s a wrong motivation.
[Heidi] So if our motivation is—and most of the time, and I don’t know Tricia, how that worked for you—but certainly it was the case for me. I didn’t set out to be an author or a speaker. I saw something that God was doing in my life and it became an active surrender. And so I’ve talked to lots of people at conferences and I know you do too who, you know, for whatever reason want to get into it. And I think what you’re saying is so important because the very beginning is—check your heart.
[Heidi] Why, do you want it? Because really, it’s actually no fun to have people give you bad reviews on Amazon. It’s no fun. You know, hello—social media is not that fun anymore.
[Heidi] And so, I love that you’re starting there because if we’re going at this because we want platform, because when accolades, or because we want people to know who we are—it’s probably a bad motivation.
[Tricia] Right. And it really, that’s what it was. Me getting on my knees, like literally on my knees, and lifting my open palms to God and saying—this is your thing and it’s not about the book sales or the publication. If you just want me to write for our church newsletter, or to speak for…
The first time I spoke was when I gave my testimony about God healing me from abortion in front of my church. Like, that was the hardest thing.
[Heidi] That’s hard core.
[Tricia] That’s hard. The hardest thing, like, being vulnerable. But if you’re not willing to start there, like, in your local Bible study, in your local mops group—I mean you need to start just sharing your story. And that’s what the next thing I was going to mention is—care for the people that God has already brought in your life.
And you mentioned the big platform, like we all want to be seen, and known, and be on these bestsellers list. But if you’re not caring for the people that God has given you—that’s your neighbor across the street, you know, this right in front of you. I for years have been led a post abortion Bible study in my church. It was just those women there, you know? And if you’re not reaching those people and ministering to them—why is God going to give you a huge platform if you’re not going to take care of just the people He’s already brought you.
[Heidi] Yeah. So to be faithful, I mean, I love that the Bible says, you know—he who is faithful, this little, can be trusted with much. And I think it’s that faithfulness in the smaller things, and just recognizing that God is at work within what you’re doing.
A long time ago, when Jay was a pastor in Portland, I started a newsletter for the church worship team and it was called The Worship Team Word. So funny, because as you’re saying that, I’m like—oh my goodness, I still remember doing this. And I loved it. I loved going to people and talking to them and saying—Hey, can I get an article from you? I have always loved words and always loved writing. And I think you’re probably the same way—while other people are, you know, knitting a baby blanket, learning how to crochet—we’re figuring out how to start a blog and how to, you know, because you just, you love it. It’s that natural bent inside of you. So I love that. Like, what has God put in front of you right now? Start there.
[Tricia] Yeah. And then I think the next thing we need to do is to clear the time in our schedule because if it’s a calling, we need to be diligent on doing it. And I think this is the busy moms hardest thing, busy parents—the hardest thing is carving out that time. And so for me, I wake up before my kids get up, you know, have my quiet time with God, which I definitely need that before I start my day. But then I just sit down for the first, you know, 30 minutes or hour of the day and just start writing. And if you write 30 minutes a day, by the end of the year, you will have some good stuff there. Like there’s stuff that will—especially if you’re doing it—like coming straight from reading God’s Word, or having that time with Him—He’s just going to pour through you. But we get so busy about things that don’t matter and I, you know, I talk to people like—turn off your Netflix, don’t watch TV, don’t scroll Facebook for an hour. Like all this stuff that we’re busy doing, but we’re not busy sitting down and doing the calling that God has called us to. So really, it’s clearing this schedule, even if it’s 30 minutes a day. And you know, I started writing, I had three little kids at home. I had like a one year old, a three year old, and a five year old. And I would say—this is Mommy’s writing time. And I would set Barney, this ages me that Barney was on the TV.
[Heidi] Yup, that was me too!
[Tricia] But they learn to respect that time and it actually has been the best thing for my kids because they have seen like—look at how God is using mom. And they’ve got to meet amazing people and travel with me, and see me speak, and see these books come out. And you know, we want to tell our kids like—you can do amazing things and God wants to use you, and He has good plans for you, but we’re saying we can’t do it because we don’t have enough time. Because, you know, we need to make sure that our kids are the priority—which we definitely want to make them the priority. But it also trains them to see that this is important to follow what God has asked us to do.
[Heidi] Yeah. And that they have a gift that God wants to use. You know, and you’re saying—hey, you can actually do this. God wants to use you and you’re setting the example. So like we’re always saying over here at the podcast—if you want your kids to walk in right relationship with you, let him see you walk in right relationship with God, right? If that’s what we want for our kids, it has to start with us. We can’t give them what we don’t have.
And so I love that you’re saying—hey, set the example, let your kids see that it’s important to you. I also think it requires, at least it has for me over the last six or seven books that I’ve written—different seasons require a different commitment level from me.
[Heidi] So sometimes I’m writing books very late at night or very early in the morning, and I can’t do it at all during the day because I’m taking care of my kids, or I’m running the homeschool resource center, or whatever it is. Talk to the mom right now who is, she’s, you know, hip-deep in little people and she’s thinking— I’d love to write, I want to be Tricia Goyer. I want to write 75 books. Um, where does she start? She’s hip-deep in little people. She she really wants to focus on her marriage, the most important thing is to set that foundation. How can we encourage her?
[Tricia] Yeah. Well I think definitely we need to say—you know, if you’re not taking care of the people in your life, you don’t need to be writing words. It’s like—be loving your husband, make sure you’re giving that to your kids, make sure you’re making sure their needs are met. But also there is time in the day. Like if we can take time to go shopping or hit the clearance rack or whatever, if we have time to do those things, we can make time to do the writing thing, to do the calling. And like I said, 30 minutes a day, at the end of the year—you have something. So just know that it’s those small steps, those small obedience that makes a difference. And also don’t feel like as soon as you sit down and write something—it’s no good, and this is horrible. Like, it takes practice. It takes time. Writing takes knowing yourself, trusting yourself, and putting away that fear. And I think fear is another thing that really stops us.
[Tricia] We don’t want to be embarrassed. We don’t want to get that rejection. Actually I went to a Christmas party once and this lady, I had just had my first book publishing and she was like—I’ve written three books. I’m like, really? Tell me about them. She says—Oh, there in a desk drawer. I don’t want to get a rejection. So I haven’t done anything with them. Which of course, what is the enemy want to do? He wants to silence us. He wants us to keep those stories inside. And you know, at first it may not be publishable. Like we might need to have a critique partner, or have editing, and hire an editor, or have a friend that we know, you know, they can look over and give us honest critique. But it’s a learning process and you know, I just have my high school diploma. I don’t have any creative writing degree or anything. It was just me going back and forth with my friends. I met some at writer’s conferences, which I highly recommend Christian writers conferences. But it was just us sharing back and forth until finally one of us got published, and then the other. But it is the diligence of getting the words on paper, sharing it with other people, being able to take that routine and keep going.
And I’ve, when I first started writing, there was people that were way better writers than me. They had degrees and they just were perfect with their words. But they weren’t diligent. They gave up too easy. And I was like the little engine that could, that—here I am with my three little kids running around my ankles as I’m jotting down notes as I’m, you know, checking to see if the chicken pot pie is done yet in the oven. And it’s just that diligence of keeping going. And it goes back to—that if God has called you to it, why aren’t we doing it? And just knowing that your story will make a difference. Like, you’re the only one that can tell your story.
I tell my story, of you know, my past abortion and finding healing from that and being a teen mom—I’m the only one that can tell that story and people are impacted by it. And just this last convention season, I was there at a conference and this woman heard me on this podcast talking to you, Heidi, about that. And just, it’s amazing that she’s able to share her story now because I was willing to step out and share my story. And so someone else not only needs to have the encouragement to share their words, they need to share their stories, impact other people.
[Heidi] Yeah. And it is scary, but it’s worth it. And I love, you and I talked about you sharing about your abortion. I know it’s so powerful because this topic of conversation is so hot in the culture right now and I feel like the wind is at the back of the pro-life movement largely because women like you have stepped up and said—this isn’t the answer.
[Heidi] And—I’ve been there and I’ve done that and let me tell you there’s healing, but there’s also a better way. And it takes courage to do that. You have to be able to step out of your comfort zone and get your words out there. What happens when you are criticized, because I know you have been, I’m sure. And I have also been criticized because as a person who puts my thoughts out on paper a lot or even out on social media—you know, the nature of it is that you’re opening yourself up criticism.
[Heidi] How do you, how do you handle that critic? Or maybe a better question is—how can you prepare for the criticism that will come?
[Tricia] Exactly. We’ll just know, I mean—there’s people that will disagree with you. You know, when I first talked to you in about my abortion, or being a teen mom, there’s people that say—no that couldn’t have happened. You know, cause they told me it was just a blob of tissue. I mean, this whole story of just being lied at a planned parenthood. I had actually had a director called me on the phone and telling me I was lying, which is unbelievable.
[Tricia] But even when I wrote my book for teen moms, I ended up getting a whole bunch of bad reviews on Amazon saying I was just trying to get popular from all these teen moms. I mean, just a crazy stuff that like—why would I, like, be vulnerable just to get popular? That like, it makes no sense to me. But what I realize is, first of all, the enemy wants to shut us down. So of course he’s gonna, you know, be whispering in people’s ears, he’s gonna have people attack us because he doesn’t want to share in our story. The second of all be like—only God really knows our heart that knows that I’m doing it for the right reason.
Like I’m doing it because I found healing and I want other people to be healed. I found hope and I want other people to have hope. I found truth and I want other people to have truth. So even now when I read a bad review, first of all, I’ll think they probably are someone who doesn’t agree with my message, so that’s why they’re shutting me down. But even if someone loves Christian fiction and they just don’t happen to like one of my novels are one of my books. It’s just—I’m not the author for them. Like there’s other authors out there that they can go and read and that’s okay. Like, I cannot make everyone happy. Like, if I were to cook dinner, I mean, I do it every night. I’m going to have someone, one of my kids is gonna complain about something they don’t like carrots in the pot pie, or whatever.
But knowing that when we send our work out there, there’s always going to be people that is just not—that’s just not our audience. That is not who God has given us to share the message with. But just knowing that there’s other people that are the ones that God has given us, this is kind of our territory that He’s given us to share with. And if we’re being silent, if we’re letting fear hold us back, if we are not either speaking the truth or sharing the truth, or writing the truth, then other people are not hearing it and they’re in want of that. And so we need to be the ones to do it for the good of the gospel and the good of the glory of God—and realizing that it’s about that. And so, sometimes those criticisms do hurt. Just going back to like—that’s not my audience, that’s not who God is sending me to—and I’ll just continued to speak, and write, and encourage those who God is sending to me too.
[Heidi] Yeah. And I think once you do that and you realize that you’re worth comes from the Lord, and that He’s the One—it’s the audience of One that you’re trying to please—I think it takes the fear out of it. The other thing that, and a you and I’ve talked about this before too, but I love that the Bible teaches us that God didn’t give us a Spirit of fear.
[Heidi] Because we learn that fear is a spirit, right? It’s a spirit that’s not from God, that comes in to keep you from doing what God has created you and gifted you to do. So, these are awesome. I kind of want to get to the nitty-gritty cause there’s a mom who sitting there with a pencil and paper and she’s like—what do I do next?
So you know, people always say—how do I get an agent? And I always telling people that is not the first place you start. You want to see—am I going to be able to stick with this thing? Can I carve the time out? Do I have, what it takes? Is this something that really just makes my heart sing? And so, if someone wants to figure that out, they want to figure out how can they tell their story—you are doing something really awesome right now called the 7-Day Writer’s Challenge. And in the next like minute and a half, tell us what that is.
[Tricia] Sure. Well this is what I get all the time— how do I become a writer? And so I did a 7-Day Writer’s Challenge and it just steps people through seven things that they can do to start their message. So first of all, they need to understand what is the theme of their life. Like what story do they have to tell? It’s also making a white space, you know, how to put your words on paper, how to think about your market. So through these seven days, and it’s a free course that I have and we’ll have the link in the show notes—bui I just want to encourage people. And I have to tell them, like, email me, respond to this message. Let me know who you are and let me know your story because I want to be there to encourage people.
I remember being that 22 year old, being at my first writer’s conference. Totally like—am I supposed to be doing this? And there was this women that came along beside me and said—yes, I believe in you. I want to support you. And that’s just what I want to be. It might be probably a short email from me back. But just knowing that someone cares, someone believes in you, and that you can do this.
[Heidi] Yeah. So it’s totally free, right?
[Heidi] This is a no strings attached thing. And then after they do that, can they continue on or is at the end of it or does it work?
[Tricia] Yes, we’ll actually have an online subscription group, it’s a monthly group. And I do lessons every day from writing book proposals, how to write a blog post, if you want to start a podcast. So I’ll have those lessons and videos there. And then we have experts who are either writers, editors, agents, publicists that come Monday through Friday for an hour and do a teaching.
[Heidi] That’s awesome.
[Tricia] Yea, and so that’s $29 a month. But if you just want to do the seven day course—I am going to love you through that seven day course. If you want to continue on, we do have—it’s called Write That Book Subscription Group and we are just pouring into this community. We have about 120 women in there now that are just like I was, and just like a lot of your listeners that are wondering—am I supposed to be doing this? And I’m there to encourage them and give them the steps. Like, this is what a book proposal looks like. This is how you write one. This is how you talk to someone at a conference, and…
[Heidi] You should do a whole teaching on how to prepare your heart for editing.
[Tricia] You know what? I think I’m going to write that down cause I think that would be really good when you get, you know—and I tell people that I’ve written 75 books, two books ago, I got it back and there was more red than white on the paper, which the book ended up being so much better because my editor’s like—you’re just glossing over the stories. Let’s dig a little deeper into here. I mean it ended up being so good, but yeah, you have to realize that God has also brought people like editors to help you clarify your message and tell it in a better way.
[Heidi] Yeah, I agree. And one of the things I said to my editor…I’ve been privileged to work with several great editors over at Tyndale and one of very first edits they came back from Becoming MomStrong— I mean, I was in tears. I was like—oh my goodness, like, chapter 13 just became chapter seven. And I was like—this is upside down. Wackadoo, and all messed up. And I was praying about it and I came back to my editor and I was like—you know what, I think you’re gonna make me a better writer. And she did. She made me a better writer. And so I think we gotta beat you, you know, kind of peel back the layers and get ready for that. And, yeah, but writing is an exciting thing to be doing. I love it. I know you love it and I thank you so much Tricia, for sharing your gift.
If people want to find you online, they can find you at TriciaGoyer.com. Is that right?
[Tricia] Yep. TriciaGoyer.com
[Heidi] And then for the seven day challenge. Do they email you? What did they do for that?
[Tricia] I will send you a link that you can put in your show notes, and it will take you right to the page where they could click on it. They also get a free little ebook about not to give up on the book of your heart. It’s a little ebook that I put together that they’ll get for free. Yeah. Then they’ll join the challenge and then they could email me and we’ll get going.
[Heidi] I love it. I love it. Tricia Goyer, I love you. Thank you so much for taking the time to come and encourage the listeners here at the podcast today. I think you’re fantastic.
[Tricia] No, I think you’re fantastic too. I love you and I love all your doing. Heidi, thank you so much.
[Heidi] For those of you who want more information about my friend Tricia, you can find them in the show notes today. If you haven’t noticed, we are having the notes now transcribed, so we’ve hired a transcriber and she’s doing a great job so you can get all the notes, all the links, everything HeidiSt.John.com/podcast. Thanks for listening to everybody.
As always, please leave a review for the podcast over at iTunes. We really appreciate your comments there. It helps us to get the podcast out to other listeners, and I hope you’ll join me in Denver. Have a great weekend everybody. I’ll see you back here on Friday.
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