What is your favorite craft book?
I’ve read many books on topics ranging from article and novel writing, as well as plotting, and editing. My current favorite writing book is Save the Cat, The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. I love to write screenplays, but I find that understanding story, whether for writing a movie, a book, or an article, will help you better connect your message to readers.
Which do you think is the most underrated craft book? Why?
I’d have to say The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White and though it’s not as colorful as Save the Cat, it covers the fundamental principles of grammar, syntax, and style. Today, with so many authors trying to figure out the writing and publishing process without the benefit of an editor, it’s more important than ever that they study writing basics. For brilliant books, with enlightening truths inspired by God Himself, can be not only tarnished, but possibly overlooked when the author ignores the basic principles of writing.
What is your favorite (or most anticipated) writers conference?
I’m a huge fan of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, but I’m in love with the Advanced Writers and Speakers Conference (AWSA.com), which precedes the Munce Christizan Book Expo for Christian booksellers. Yes, I founded AWSA and run the conference, which makes me a bit prejudiced. But I do this because I’m very passionate about helping women who both speak and write books not only develop a community and a support system but learn the latest from the best authors and presenters. Plus, we have the opportunity to serve the bookstores of CPE by leading the Sunday worship service and participating in their personality party, with book signings, as well as being a part of their expo.
What’s your favorite other source (YouTube, podcast, etc.) for writing tips/info?
I love Zooming in our AWSA mastermind communities. We have a monthly live training, a Superstar group for authors who have written five or more books and a Protégé group for writers writing their first book, plus we have speaker, screenwriting, as well as fiction and nonfiction writers’ groups. These groups offer community, prayer, and training. I’m not a member of every group, but I absolutely love the groups I’m a part of, not only because of the professional friendships, but because of the continual live training which helps keep me on the cutting edge.
Who is your writing mentor/inspiration? Why?
One of my dearest friends is the amazing Bold Vision publisher Karen Porter, who also serves as the AWSA steering committee president. I’ve often spoken alongside her, and now we work together to lead the AWSA Certified Speakers course. Her insights into organizing talks and storytelling turns out to also be excellent writing advice. We’ve also worked together on several book projects, including the AWSA-led devotional, Arise to Peace.
What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever received? Why was it bad?
The worst writing advice I ever received was to write faster by never making mistakes. I remember attending a writers’ conference and going to a class that promised to teach writers how to save time. However, the speaker’s emphasis on never making errors discouraged me. As a writer who struggles with mild dyslexia, I knew for me at least, that mistakes are a natural part of the writing process. Instead of striving for perfection in my first draft, I’ve concentrated on becoming a better self-editor. I’ve learned that by honing your editing skills, you can catch errors and improve your writing significantly. Turning in a well-edited manuscript is more important than turning in your first draft, no matter how much time you save by skipping the editing process.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Stop worrying about writing your first draft perfectly. The problem is that when you stop to edit, your inner perfectionist interrupts your creative flow. Work to perfect your writing once you start working on your second draft. You’ll not only write faster, but your writing will also have a better flow.
What would you say is the best writing tip for new authors?
New writers often struggle to find the time to write amidst their busy lives. However, even writing just one page a day can lead to a completed manuscript of up to 365 pages in a year. If finding time during the day is a challenge, consider setting aside time early in the morning before others in the household are awake, during a child’s naptime, or in the evening when the house is quiet. Another option is to make a weekly writing date with yourself, perhaps at a favorite coffee shop or other location outside the home. Remember, even writing once a week can lead to progress and ultimately a finished manuscript.
What is your best self-editing tip or advice?
Listen to your writing. I love to have my computer read my writing aloud to me as I view the screen. That way, I can hear if I’ve left out a word, or jumbled a thought. And I’m not ashamed to admit this, but spellcheck is a dear friend. If you aren’t aware that your computer can read your writing aloud, google for instructions.
Please share your most encouraging tip for frustrated/discouraged writers.
The thing that motivates me most is to imagine my readers reacting to my words. When I can “see” my words making a difference, it’s easier to push through the roadblocks to publication.
Tell us about your newest release/upcoming release.
Make Time for Joy, Scripture-Powered Prayer to Brighten Your Day paves the road to joy with scripture, then transcribes those verses into powerful prayers. Perfect for daily reflection. This is a book which will help you transform sadness into gladness as you rest on the love, joy, and provision that comes from God.
Despite the challenges that she faced as a young mother with a baby on her hip and a toddler in coma following a car crash, Linda Evans Shepherd was willing to say “Yes!” to God’s call to write a book. This led to a successful career as a writer, with thirty-eight books, many of which have won prestigious awards.
In addition to her writing, Linda has also been called to unite Christian women authors into an online group, which is now known as the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA). This group has grown to include 900 women communicators, who support and encourage each other in their mission to spread God’s love and compassion to a hurting world.
Linda has a new YouTube show called The Prayer Investigator, and is a publisher of the Leading Hearts Magazine, which has won multiple EPA awards, and she is also founded the AWSA’s yearly conference and the Golden Scroll and Christian Market Book Awards. Her latest book, Make Time for Joy, is inspiring readers to find joy in their daily lives.
You can interact with Linda at:
- Facebook: LindaEvansShepherdAuthor
- Twitter: @LindaShepherd