CNLP 032: How Mark Batterson Writes—A Behind The Scenes Look at the Publishing Life of a Pastor and NYT Bestselling Author

New York Times best-selling author Mark Batterson has written 12 books in ten years that have sold millions of copies.

What’s even more remarkable is he’s done this while planting a church and raising a family. Mark takes us on a rare behind-the-scenes tour to show us his process for writing and how he gets it all done.

Welcome to Episode 32 of the Podcast.



Guest Links

National Community Church

Mark Batterson on Twitter 

Mark Batterson on Facebook

Mark Batterson on Instagram

The Grave Robber

The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears

Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny 

Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity 

Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Purusing God

Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge 

Links Mentioned

Jeff Goins

Geeks and Geezers by Warren G. Bennis

Ted Talks


Video Version of this Podcast Episode (Unfortunately, the video is not currently available due to bandwidth issues. We are working to get it uploaded again soon with a better format. Thanks of your patience.)

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Mark didn’t know he was meant to be a writer until he received a calling from God at 22. No one in his family was a writer. Aptitude tests discouraged Mark from writing. The cards didn’t seem to play into his favor until he set out to obey God, and he became a New York Times best selling author. Mark talks about three things you can do to get started:

  1. Obey what God has called you to do. If you believe God has called you to write, it’s more than just a talent; it’s a way to worship and honor what God has given you. Mark says that the shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory, so figure out your theme and start writing. What’s your life story? What gets you fired up? Start keeping a journal or writing a blog. If it’s about money, stay out of the game. Don’t worry about an agent or publisher, and don’t be too consumed with your audience. If what you’re writing is good, you’ll attract the right readers. The key thing is to be obedient to that calling.
  2. Start writing. Mark says that a dream without a deadline is dead. He had written six half-completed manuscripts before he was 35 because he didn’t give himself a time frame for completing an entire book. “If I didn’t set a deadline, I would have written my first book for the rest of my life,” he says. Find a reasonable deadline and then reverse engineer how you’re going to get to that goal—even if you don’t have a publisher. Since birthdays often commemorate milestones, Mark suggest using your birthday as a deadline.
  3. Read as much as you write. Readers are writers, and writers are readers. Mark says he’s read about 3,000 books to study the style of writing and to become in tune with the author’s writing voice. He became a student of life to educate himself on a variety of subjects to give more credibility to his craft. He also kept a master document with all of his ideas so he could go back and reference them as he needed to, and he never read a book without having a pen so he could underline and take notes.

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Quotes from Mark

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Next Episode: Caleb Kaltenbach

Caleb Kaltenbach has an incredible story. Born to parents who soon divorced to pursue gay relationships, Caleb grew up to become a Christian and then a pastor, much to the alarm of his parents. Caleb shares his honest, gutwrenching story of confusion, hope and reconcilliation with his mom, his dad and their partners.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 33.

In the meantime, got a question?

Scroll down and leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

CNLP 032: How Mark Batterson Writes—A Behind The Scenes Look at the Publishing Life of a Pastor and NYT Bestselling Author


  1. Shelly on March 16, 2021 at 8:22 am

    I was really hoping to watch the video version of this podcast. Will it be uploaded again soon or is there any other way to access it?

    • Carey Nieuwhof on March 16, 2021 at 10:58 am

      Hey Shelly,

      This episode was actually recorded before I started recording podcasts for YouTube. Here’s my recent interview with Mark on Youtube though:

  2. Studydriver on March 9, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    As a fan of literature, I have always been interested in how famous authors write and how great books are created, so this article was interesting and useful for me.
    Also, my favorite book is “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. This is a very interesting book that raises interesting questions about one of which you can read on the site. I’m sure you’ll be interested, so give it a try.

  3. Isaiah on September 18, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Carey,
    It looks like the actual recording is missing from this site. I love your content and these show notes look promising but… no recording.
    Thanks for looking into this when you get a chance.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on September 19, 2019 at 3:18 pm

      Hey Isaiah,

      We just updated this now! It should be in there for you.

      Carey and team,

      • Isaiah on September 19, 2019 at 7:38 pm

        Thanks so much! Like I said, I love the work you guys do. Keep it up!

  4. Yemia Glen on April 12, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    i have been seeing my fiance for over 8 years and yet the physicality is somehow lacking. We see one another roughly 4 times yearly, she says she doesn’t want to rush in and neither do i, although i would like to see some progression. There is some future faking on her part which i disagree to, i know she’s been out of a long term relationship four years ago and it ended ‘messily’ in her words.

    i do not know the details since she has not felt telling me and whenever i talked about it, citing that she needs to be in the right mood for marriage. i have not pushed this too much however as she clearly doesn’t feel to talk about it.
    All She says ”You need to be patient” but i was wondering whether she is really being honest with me and our relationship because i loved her so much and her past seems to take her away from me. i knew a friend who had similar situation and i consulted for advise where i ended up with a love spell with Dr MUNA from marvelspelltemple @ gmail. com.. i had no regret at all taken the step because its improved my love life and we got married expecting our first child any moment soon .

  5. […] Episode 032: How Mark Batterson Writes – A Behind the Scenes Look at the Publishing Life of a … […]

  6. G. Michael on May 11, 2015 at 4:04 am

    Carey: Thanks for sharing the conversation with Mark. One question about writing that was not covered in the podcast is this: when you(or Mark) writes, how much do you give credit to the source of an idea? Mark mentioned several sources of inspiration: academic books(Circle Maker), another person’s sermon(In a Pit) or even a TED Talk. When you read 3,000 books, it is not easy to remember the source of inspiration.

  7. Chris Shumate on April 23, 2015 at 6:47 am

    As an aspiring, new Christian writer, this episode is one of my favorites. I love the view on one book being sold is a prayer being answered. I wish I could I sell all the books I have sitting at my home, but the ones I have sold are prayers answered. I also have a few writings that are nearing completion, but I need to get them finished.

    I love the quote about sitting on at the keyboard and answering God’s call.

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