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

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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.

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 

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.

Quotes from Mark

The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. Click To Tweet I'm not just typing on the keyboard. I’m doing what God has called me to do. Click To Tweet The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory. Click To Tweet A book sold is not a book sold. It’s a prayer answered. Click To Tweet

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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.

Lead With Confidence and Clarity. Grow Your Church.

As leaders, we tend to see the challenges and roadblocks before other people do.

We've all been there before...

  • You need to refresh your vision for the future but know that change will be an issue for that person.
  • You're overstaffed (or missing a key role) and can't find the right person to fill the role.
  • You aren't reaching enough new people even though you've tried everything that's working for other churches.
  • You can see the issue but aren't confident in what to do about it.

And with another Sunday morning coming up, it'll just have to wait until next week when you have a few minutes to figure it out.

Now ask yourself this:

What would it feel like to have those answers at your fingertips 24/7?

Whether it's reaching new people, improving your preaching, increasing volunteers, refreshing your vision, engaging your staff, or any of the countless challenges we face as church leaders, The Art of Leadership Academy will equip you to lead your church with confidence and clarity.

Between comprehensive church leadership courses, live coaching calls, staff and volunteer training resources, and direct access to an online community of senior-level church leaders, you'll get the exact insights and answers that fuel your church for growth.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.