Make your emotions work for you (not against you)!

Best Friends Having Fun On A Bike

How has your writing gone this week? Is your current project still exciting, or is it causing you intense anguish? Is the work moving forward, or have found yourself stumped and at standstill?

How are you doing this week? Are you proudly declaring yourself a writer or do you secretly fear being outed as a “fraud” because you just can’t get the right words down on paper (or any words out at all)?

Me, I’ve gone through all of the above. And that’s just the last 48 hours!

As writers (and members of the human race), it’s common to feel an entire range of emotions regarding our writing and ourselves—sometimes all at once. The good news is, the emotional roller coaster doesn’t have to be a curse. In fact, it can be exactly what our WIP needs.

Our lives are unique and complex, but the emotions we experience are universal. That’s what makes the characters we love so much so relatable.

Feeling the arm-hair-raising thrill of anticipation? There’s a chapter in your book where one or more of your characters feels the same way. Take that excitement and work it into a scene.

Are you being pulled down into the darkness by the invisible weight of fear? Time to tap into that boiling stomach acid and pour it out onto the page.

Uncertainty. Happiness. Heartache. Boredom. Take whatever describes your current state of mind and put it to use. Don’t think about how the words sound, don’t worry about form or grammar. Just get it out and set those words aside in a special file for later. Now you won’t have to rack your brain trying to convey feelings that may be contrary to your own later on.

We were intentionally designed to be emotional beings, so let your characters (and your readers) “feel all the feels.”

The best stories, after all, are the ones in which whatever is at stake for the characters impacts our real lives as well.

By the way, I honestly do wonder…how are you doing this week? If you need encouragement (or someone to cheer alongside you), let me know in the comments below.

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Posted by on March 18, 2017 in Creativity, Encouragement, Writing


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When writing loses its charm

In his introduction to Revising and Self-EditingJames Scott Bell shares a story of attempting to learn golf. He bought books, he listened to tapes, and nearly chucked his clubs into the dumpster. Then he met a well-respected teacher who showed him what he’d been missing all along. In putting all of his focus into technique, Jim wrote, he overlooked the feel for the game.

The same is true for me.

In focusing on doing everything “right” I’ve forgotten the feel of writing. I’ve lost sight of the joy of creating and, too often, miss what I set out to do: Write. Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar.

So, what’s a writer to do when she’s ready to chuck the laptop out the window?


1. Trust your instincts.

You’ve done the exercises, read the books, and sat through the seminars. You have the tools and the capability. It’s time to put them to use. If the internal critic is harassing you, write those words out. I captured the voice of my antagonist for my current WIP using this method.

2. Be intentional.

There’s a time for learning and a time for writing. Our writing time needs to be about being creative and enjoying that process (and all the challenges that go along with it). If a question arises in how to handle a certain issue, make a note and move on. Use your learning time to brush up on the subject.

3. Take a break.

Sometimes you just need a break. That’s okay! Use this time to try something you haven’t gotten around to doing yet. Take a drive. Dig in the dirt. Play! Experiences are what feed our creativity. Once your creative spirit is well-fed, you’ll have plenty of things to write about.

4. Re-read the book that first inspired you to be a writer.

I have several of these! By revisiting the stories, I can recapture some of those original memories and feelings. They might not be exactly the same, but they’re usually enough to kick-start the enthusiasm and desire to get back to my own work in progress.

Your turn: What re-inspires you when you feel like calling it quits? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!


Posted by on March 11, 2017 in Creativity, Writing


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The Writing Challenge

Last month I made a commitment to write 500 words a day for 31 days straight. And for the most part I stuck to it. However, I stepped away from writing during a weeklong trip to Germany to see my brother. In all reality, I could have easily made my daily word count while on vacation. I had the time. I had the ability. I could have taken a lot more pictures, too.

But I didn’t.

I opted for a full vacation instead. I used my own two eyes to take in the sights. I allowed my fingers to brush against the leaves in the Botanical Gardens, my feet to feel the unevenness of the cobble stoned streets. I allowed my ears to take in a language that is made to sound harsh by Hollywood, but in actuality is actually quite soft and beautiful.

When we weren’t exploring, I allowed myself to read for enjoyment’s sake. I picked up a book I hadn’t read since my teenage years and reconnected with characters I’ve loved since early childhood.

Sibling Games

I jumped in on games with my brother’s barrack-mates and learned a new line dance.

Storming the Castle

I climbed a mountain and then explored a castle while wearing Hagrid-sized house shoes.

Lindsay Sib Vacation

I ate. I drank (responsibly). And (a few unexpected bumps aside) was merry.

Writing is an important part of my life, but I also recognized during that week that it isn’t the only important thing in my life.

I have a quote by Henry David Thoreau above my desk that says:

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

I don’t keep it there as an excuse to procrastinate, but as a reminder that I tend to lean more to the obsessive at times. Growing up, I would open a book and refuse to close it until it was finished…no matter how thick the book. When I first began my journey as a writer, it’s all I did. I ignored friends, I ignored family, and I ignored life.

When the rejections started coming in, I was devastated. I felt as if I’d wasted my time, my efforts, and I began to believe I would never be a real writer.

The day I discovered the quote by Thoreau it was like a locked door in my brain finally opened to reveal not a room, but a blinding summer light and the world beyond.

As writer’s we’re told to write what we know. If all I know is the rules of writing and what other writers have penned before, what good does it do me (or anyone who stumbles over my writing)?

But, if I take the time to engage in the world, to learn and experience new things, that in turn will translate into my craft.

So I didn’t make my 31-day goal. I’ve still got 31 days ahead of me to try again. I’ve also got some incredible goofy memories with three of my siblings that will somehow nurture the characters of my future work.

And look. It’s April 1st and I’ve already passed my goal for the month so far!


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Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Creativity, Life, Writing


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Five ways you can help end human trafficking in your community

Stop_Trafficking_Badge-Yellow-3Perhaps you’ve heard the word “trafficking” in passing but never gave it much thought. Perhaps photos of a red “X” on the back of your friends’ hands have filled your social networking feed this week and you’re wondering what it means. Perhaps a news story caused you to do a little research and now you feel overwhelmed by the ugly reality that slavery still exists in our country.

You want to do something. But perhaps you think the problem is too big. You hate knowing what’s happening in the world, but you just don’t know what sort of difference you can make. Or even where to start.

Trust me; you’re far from alone in this feeling.

Standing up against human trafficking doesn’t have to mean grand gestures. It’s in the little things we do together that add up to make the biggest difference and make the greatest change.

Mother Teresa once said, “We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.”

In other words, you don’t need a lot of money. You don’t need to dedicate all of your free time. And you don’t have to tackle the entire issue of human trafficking on your own. Instead, you can make a world of difference by doing something small in your own community.

First, learn what trafficking is and what it isn’t. Whether it’s forced manual labor or sex trafficking, there are incredible non-profits and governmental agencies around the globe that have joined forces to educate the public about human trafficking.

I have the privilege of working for one such organization. Shared Hope International exists to intervene on behalf of victims of sex trafficking. One of the ways in which we do so is through public education and policy reform. You can learn more at

Second, become a volunteer or mentor at your local homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or pregnancy resource center. It might only be for an hour a week, but that hour could change the life of a victim of trafficking without you even knowing it. Regardless of who you meet there, you’ll likely discover that your life is one that’s changed for the better.

Third, donate to local shelters, ministries, and organizations that serve victims of human trafficking. There’s always a “big” financial need for medical care, shelter, and operational expenses, sure. But there’s also the “smaller” need of new clothing, shoes, and toiletries. Don’t underestimate what owning a warm coat or a new pair of shoes in the middle of winter can mean to someone living without them. Especially if they come with no strings attached. Reach out to groups in your hometown to find out what their most urgent needs are, then plan your giving accordingly.

Fourth, be vigilant. If you see activity that you suspect may be connected to human trafficking of any form, contact your local authorities, or an agency such as the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. You can also alert your pastor, teachers, or school administrators.

Fifth, be smart and stay safe. Unless you have been properly trained, don’t engage in any activities that may endanger you or the victim. Your good intentions could make a bad situation worse. I repeat what I said above: always report suspicious activity to the proper authorities. Let them take it from there.

When it comes to ending human trafficking, there is no such thing as “Go big or go home.”

This is a fight that can only be won one battle at a time with the help of many active hands and compassionate hearts. Armchair awareness is well and good, but it’s just the start.

What will you do now that you know?

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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in Community, Encouragement, Life


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Putting the anxious heart to rest


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This is how we know we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:19 NIV

“The heart” is my conscience. It’s the part of me that remembers all of my shortcomings. Like Satan, it likes to accuse me of not living up to God’s standards and it can drive me deep into the pit.

But, neither my conscience nor the devil has the final say. God does. He knows all, unlike Satan. He sees all, unlike my heart. And He forgives all for those who are in Him.

I do not need to feel shame when I can’t make large monetary donations to noble causes. I do not need to feel I’m a lesser Christian if I’m not working in a foreign field.

Am I showing God’s love to the people around me? Do I consider the well being of others when I choose my words and actions? If the answer is yes, then my heart can be put to rest. If it’s no, then that’s something I can change.

The truth is, God does not expect his children to be all things to all people at all times.

God doesn’t condemn me for not being able to perfectly align myself with His holy standard. He isn’t disappointed in me when I stumble, even if the stumble is great.

God loves me. There are not strings. There are no conditions. God loves me!

My circumstances are just that. Circumstances. The heart will try to tell me unbearable hardships occur because God is angry with me. The truth is, they’re just another opportunity for Him to show His great love.


Posted by on January 6, 2016 in Encouragement, Life, Spirituality


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Keep the innocent, innocent


It’s the middle of the night, but I cannot sleep.

In the past two weeks God has moved me very quickly from a very long, very difficult season of waiting into a field where there is so much work to be done.

I was recently offered a position as the assistant to the President/Founder of Shared Hope International, a Christian nonprofit dedicated to ending human trafficking. My first day Monday, October 5th. Apart from learning the administrative portion of my job I’ve been given a rather long reading list that includes briefs and reports that have filled my head with dizzying numbers. Then there are the testimonies.

The stories of the girls who have been brutalized beyond anything imaginable.

The stories of the ones who’ve been rescued.

The stories of those who haven’t.

And each of them are right here in my home country. In my community.

A chief focus at Shared Hope International is the 100,000 children here in our nation who are being stolen, coerced, or forced into prostitution every year.

One Hundred Thousand American Children. Right here. In our communities.

And we barely even notice.

I sit here, safe in my own bed, but my lungs feel trapped in epoxy. My heart is weighed down by the tears that can’t seem to work their way to my eyes. A small part of me says the job is impossible. They rest of me says I can’t turn away now.

What’s been seen can never be unseen. The exploitation, the torture, and the cruelty that the commercialized sex market has foisted on the innocent cannot be allowed to continue.

This isn’t about race, color, or religion. This is about the dignity that is forcibly stripped from the children we should be going out of our way to protect.

It has to end. We have to end it.

And that’s exactly what Shared Hope International aims to do.

Through programs such as “Ambassadors of Hope” and “The Defenders,” along with additional online and on-site educational trainings, as well as sharing ways to report suspected trafficking, Shared Hope International is leading a worldwide effort to eradicate sexual slavery.

By training and empowering communities to recognize the signs of domestic sex trafficking of minors here in our own communities, Shared Hope is combating slavery head-on and helping bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.

Will you join the fight?

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Posted by on October 11, 2015 in Community, Life


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Who needs CGI when you have a vivid imagination?

trialrunThere have been several movies out this summer that were on my “must see” list, and I have to confess, I haven’t made it to the theater once this season. That’s quite all right because when I haven’t been working, I’ve been kayaking at a nearby lake, taking hikes, and visiting open markets. When it’s too hot for that (and it has been HOT this year), I’ve buried my nose in a pile of books.

One of the books I’ve had the pleasure of reading doesn’t actually release until next week, but if you’re a fan of Techno-Thrillers, you’ll want to take note of Trial Run by Thomas Locke.

The premise: What would you do if you could break the bonds of time and space?

In Trial Run, two rival groups working from the same notes are attempting to do just that. One group is an ultra secret team led by Reese Clawson trafficking in secrets. The other is a group of European scientists seeking to discover where perception ends and reality begins.

Both groups have the same problem: members of their teams are in jeopardy and time is about to run out for everyone involved.

Trent Major is a UCSB graduate student in theoretical physics who has spent his entire life trying to be invisible. Now a series of impossible dreams have led to revolutionary breakthroughs in quantum theories, landing him in a spotlight he is completely unprepared for. Should his work fall into the wrong hands, the cost will be catastrophic.

Trial Run is a fast-paced, mind-twisting adventure that will easily keep fans of techo-thrillers turning pages and clamoring for more. Locke masterfully weaves the complexities of human relationships with our insatiable quest for ever-expanding knowledge, while offering a solid reminder that time isn’t as simple as we’d like to believe.

The story itself is filled with a rich cast of diverse characters from nearly every walk of life and offers mind-bending concepts that had me re-reading the same page on a few occasions. That said, Trial Run is written in such a way that even the most complex elements of the story still seem feasible.

I found it easy to get lost in the pages of this novel. It took me about a 12 hours spaced out over a week to read, during which time I nearly returned late to work from lunch and stayed up long past bedtime. The most difficult part of reading Trial Run was the realization that my copy was an advanced reader, which means I have to wait that much longer for the sequel.

I believe Trial Run will appeal to fans of Asimov and Philip K. Dick, and I have already recommended it to friends who enjoy the works of both. For more information about the Fault Lines series, author Thomas Locke, and for a free digital download of Double Edge — the prequel for Trial Run, visit

Trial Run releases August 4, 2015 in both digital and traditional print versions.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.





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Posted by on August 1, 2015 in Creativity, Recommended Reading


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