Tell us about yourself and your books.:
Alicia Yost is a writer and teacher. She loves Jesus and her writing encourages people to live in the freedom God offers. She’s written for The Upper Room devotional, various blogs and is a featured monthly writer for the GoMobilize app which helps connect and build community for believers as they seek Jesus. She also co-leads a women’s ministry called “Something To Chew On” which provides a platform for women to share personal stories of how God is working in their lives. Alicia’s writing is honest and relatable. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, three kids and two dogs
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
It’s probably not unusual but I write very early in the morning. I wake up while it’s still dark. I always begin my writing on my computer because I’m a fast typist but it’s always easier to revise by reading in print. I write whether I have something to write or not. Sometimes my words are just a jumbled mess of nothing but somewhere in the nothingness, my brain will spark and idea will come to life. I may write five thousand words and only 500 will be usable. I mine through a lot of ideas before I find something useful.
What authors have influenced you?
I love Anne Lamott, C.S. Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Honestly there are so many to list. I am a binge reader. I especially love to read during the cold winter months and the hot summer months. Every six months or so, I will binge read for weeks at a time and consume startling amounts of material. It’s not unusual for me to read a book a day during these times. Each book has something special, a thought an idea or a story that sticks with me.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
We can’t do it alone. Get around other writers who will encourage and support you, people who are invested in your writing and in you. I was held back in my writing for too long because I had this crazy idea that I had to do everything myself. Writing, as with most things, requires community. We cannot do things on our own. I’ve had to learn to trust people. I also had to learn to set aside my pride and separate myself from my writing. This enabled me to accept critique without taking it personally. It allowed me to improve my writing dramatically because my goal was not to be perfect but to present something beautiful to God. In order to do that, I had to let other people tell me what needed to be improved.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I was told to not be afraid of writing a messy first draft. This was very freeing because up until then, I believed my ideas had to be in order, spelled well, that I needed to be perfect out of the gate. Because of this, I never felt fully free to create. Also, a fellow author told me to set a schedule and write. This seemed to take the romance out of writing because up until that point I had written when I felt inspired but I realized how limiting that was for me and began writing every day at the same time in the same place and low and behold my mind began to respond creatively during that time. It was like I developed a circadian rhythm for creativity.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading “Rumours” by Philip Yancey. I’m only in chapter one but so far, I’ve already been reminded how often I don’t stop to marvel, to be in awe of the wonder and beauty that surrounds me. I’ve had it on my shelf for a long time and never got to it but I’m so glad I’m reading it. Last week I read three books. I finished, “One” by Diedra Riggs, “Partly Wrong” by Roger Martin Jr. and “Miles From Where We Started” by Cynthia Ruchti. My reading taste is all over the spectrum.
What’s your biggest weakness?
There are so many. I’m prideful, selfish, stubborn, controlling. I’m an absolute mess but I’ve learned to love my weaknesses because despite and even through them, God uses me. I learn and grow and get better every day but I also fall short every day. That I accomplish anything is a miracle and since I know I didn’t do it in my own strength, my weakness reminds me to give thanks to God and recognize that were it not for Him, I’d be a hopeless mess. Because of Him, I’m messy but full of hope.
What is your favorite book of all time?
This sounds so cliche’ but I have to say the bible. The bible is amazing because every time I read it, I find something new, something amazing. It shifts to meet me where I am at any time during my life. It’s alive and while it never changes, it moves and meets me where I am.
What has inspired you and your writing style?
My writing is inspired by Galatians 5:13, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” I know what it’s like to live in bondage and have been freed by the blood of Jesus. I want to encourage others to live in freedom. There are many people who still wear chains and I long to see them living unburdened and standing in the power of Jesus.
As for my style, I’d have to say what inspires me most is my readers. I want to serve them well and the best way to do that is to give them what they want in the way that they want it. Readers want realness and so my style is greatly influenced by this. I write with honesty and I work very hard to be vulnerable, to not hold anything back. I believe readers can see right through anything contrived and it’s a waste of their time so I write something that I hope will be useful to their lives in a way that is easy to read and is honest.
What are you working on now?
I’m researching for my next book. I will be writing about fear and anxiety and how to overcome it. I’ve struggled with both for years and have learned some great ways to deal with them. I’m mapping out the outline and planning for when it will be completed. I hope to release it June of 2020.
I’m also working on calls to action for GoMobilize which is an free phone app which connects believers by building community. I write for them monthly.
What is your method for promoting your work?
Since I’m an independent publisher, I have limited time and financial resources. My reach extends only so far but I stretch as far as I can go and cover as much ground as possible. I employ the use of social media in many ways and try to do it strategically. I ask for help from family and friends to spread the word. I run ad campaigns and collaborate with other authors who have their own platforms. I attend conferences to make new connections and tell others about what I’m working on. I try to find new resources every day. I take it very seriously. I’m still new at it and have a lot to learn. I’m sure I’ve made many mistakes but always keep my eyes open for ways to improve.
What’s next for you as a writer?
This coming year, I want to grow my platform and increase the connections I have on social media with writers and readers. I will work on my new book while also contributing to blogs and working on content for my own website. My tagline is “Called To Be Free.” All of my content will flow out of that, encouraging people to live unchained lives, free from bitterness, resentment, fear, anxiety, worry, etc… I hope to continue writing non-fiction books and contribute to online magazines and apps.
How well do you work under pressure?
I guess it depends on how much pressure. If it’s just enough to light a fire under me, I do very well. If I am very low on time and I have many other things pressing on me, I tend to dig in but I don’t think I do my best work that way. I do best working slowly but surely. A little tension is good but for me, too much stress doesn’t make for good writing.
How do you decide what tone to use with a particular piece of writing?
When I’m writing a book, I get to choose my tone and it’s usually the same. I am not the expert so I approach things as a friend speaking to another friend. Many people have mentioned they like the relatable voice in my writing. When I’m writing for others, I match the tone to what they are looking for in their prompt.
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