Brianna Lambert is a wife, mom to three young children, staff writer for GCD, and personal blogger on her website, www.lookingtotheharvest.com. She delights in homeschooling her children, raising their pet ducks, serving in her local church, and writing about it all. I’m thankful for her friendship, writing, and was thrilled to interview her on books that have shaped her life and writings.
What are some books that you are currently reading?
A couple years ago I discovered I need to read one book at a time. So, I’m actually only reading one book! I do try to intersperse different genres and styles, and I like to branch out and try new books to avoid getting bored. Right now, I’m reading fiction, and it’s Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. I read East of Eden last year and it was so good. I left that book knowing I was going to read more Steinbeck. I just love his writing. I love how he writes characters. I read some descriptions and even though I’m not in that situation, it’s like, “Yes! That’s how it feels.” (I would add though that some difficult themes and language do appear in his writing.)
What are some of your favorite books from the past? Ones that have influenced both your outlook on life and the way you write?
My favorite fiction book is Jane Eyre. I’ve read that one several times. The first time I read it, I liked it for the romance, but each time I read it I realized just how much depth the story had. I love that one.
Non-fiction, I would say that Pilgrim Theology is one that’s influenced me quite a bit spiritually. I read it a few years ago and it was one of the first systematic theologies that I read, and it helped me learn a lot about the Reformed perspectives. Then along with that, I would say biographies of Christians always stick with me. I remember in middle school I read one of the kid’s biographies of George Muller from YWAM. It really moved me at the time, and since then I’ve read several of those biographies to my children. It’s just really encouraging to hear about saints from church history.
What would you say is something God has been teaching you through writing lately?
I think just the slow and patient work in my life, in people in my life, in various circumstances. I do think that kind of mirrors in writing too, both because God is patiently working in me through my writing and also just teaching me to be patient with ideas. I don’t have a strict writing schedule, which has left me to enjoy more of the writing in my head, just thinking about things. Some pieces that I’ve written, they were mulled over in my head for months. It was months of slowly letting it develop. It’s really encouraging because the longer I think about something, the more it shows up in my life and really sticks. I’ll hit something in my Bible reading that speaks to it, or a news story that makes me consider a different application for a topic. I’m not saying that God makes all things happen for the sake of my writing, but it’s just really neat to think on some topics for a longer amount of time and see God working overtime to show you more ways that it applies.
What is a word of encouragement you would give other writers who are seeking to share Christ in the writing world?
Honestly, my advice is, I don’t have any advice for you. And I don’t mean that in a mean way, but I don’t know you and we’re all so different. I sometimes get overwhelmed with the rules or the things people say about “if you’re a writer you should or will do this…” My advice is to just relax, and rest, know that everyone is different. Every season is different. Every family is different. I think we’re all writers in a lot of different communities, in different seasons, with different backgrounds, with different situations in our lives, with many different relationships demanding our attention. So, my advice really is to keep clinging to Christ and write what you think He’s given you to write. Don’t write out of obligation. Listen to advice, but rest and know that there are so many different circumstances and we need to remember that God ordained those circumstances. IT’s not like we have to pretend they aren’t there. Some of us have personal struggles that take away from our time or ability to write all the time, some of us are caring for families and their needs are constantly changing which affects our ability to write. Your life affects your writing. Let those other things in life affect your writing, and be sensitive to what the Lord is giving you to do, in the time that He plans.
We can be in different places, our writing can look different, and our schedules can look different. The beauty of the body is so many different talents, and abilities, and schedules, and lives working together for a common goal. I would say that before you set down what you think “writers” should be doing, seek the counsel of people who actually know you, who know the weights you’re carrying, the energy you have to spare, and can offer you advice. My advice is to take in good writing advice, but also listen more to the advice of those closest to you. God knows your context, and He has put people in your life to help you. Value their advice, even if they aren’t writers. The people who know and love you are the best ones to give you advice.
Brianna writes regularly for the Gospel Center for Discipleship and her own blog, www.lookingtotheharvest.com. Below are links to several of my personal favorites you’ll find there. I hope you were encouraged by my conversation with Brianna to read, write, and live for the glory of Christ.
Links to Brianna’s writings:
Links to books mentioned in this article:
Brianna and I are both part of the Gospel Center for Discipleship’s Writers Guild. If you are a writer looking for rich community to sharpen your writing skills for the glory of God, check it out.