What is a measure of true success? Borrowing from Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young (https://www.writefromthedeep.com/), speakers at the Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference, I’m writing about what being a successful writer means to me. Principles for everyone.
Success doesn’t mean getting published. Of course, as a writer, that is a goal; it’s just not the goal. Other people have other goals – acquiring wealth, providing for their families, moving up the corporate ladder, a new car, a new house, getting married, having children, etc. Don’t get me wrong; those things are good and worthwhile to an extent. They may bring a measure of happiness to people’s lives, however, the thrill of achieving this kind of “success” will fade and people will want more. It’s that way with writing and getting published, also.
True success that lasts over long periods of time – may I even say, “over eternity” – comes from bringing God glory in all that is done. As a writer, my material or manuscript may be rejected by big publishing houses or by smaller publishing houses. That’s really out of my control, but I’m not going to measure my success by what publishers have to say. It would be nice to be appreciated and published, but that is not why or for whom I write. I write because God gave me this gift, this talent, and the mindset to pursue writing. It’s part of who I am – since childhood. It’s how I figure out what’s going on in my head and in my life. It helps me make sense of the world and my role in it.
Writing for God’s glory means I use the gifts and talents He’s given me to the best of my ability. Striving for excellence is part of it. I define “excellence” as doing the best possible with the resources, tools, and time available. Success is measured by how well, how often, and how lovingly I carry out the tasks God has given me. This is true for everyone no matter what gifts and talents God has given to an individual. If a person has the gift of being the perfect hostess (hospitality), let them exercise that skill by serving others. If a person has the gift of preaching, they better be about preaching. True success, again, is using the gifts God has given to minister to others. I do that through my writing.
Whether I ever get published or not, as long as I’m writing with God’s purposes in mind, I am being successful. If only one person reads my blog each week, if I have faithfully written as God has directed me, I am a success. That one person may be God’s intended audience. That gives new energy to my writing practices. It also gives me new motivation for doing what God has directed me to do: WRITE.