“Am I famous?”
“Am I on a bestseller list?”
Often, we writers ask questions like these as we try to measure our success.
The problem? Most of you, like me, have to say no to these questions. Unless we’ve been fortunate enough to author beloved children’s books or a series of YA novels that launch a box office smash, most of us aren’t household names.
The questions listed above point toward the world’s measurement of our success and threaten to place our writing focus where it doesn’t belong. Too much reflection on these thoughts can tumble us into the Slough of Despond, where we wallow like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress.
The real problem? Those questions don’t reflect how God measures success. While it’s wonderful to craft a picture book that ranks high on Amazon or a nonfiction hardcover that funds a major purchase for the family, perhaps we need to consider the questions God asks.
“Do you trust Me?”
“Are you obeying Me?”
Hopefully, we’re saying yes to those questions about our daily living. But we should also apply them to our writing:
- Are we obeying God by writing the truths He wants us to convey?
- Are we pleasing Him by being good stewards of the gift of words He gave us?
- When we’re writing in obedience to His prompting, do we trust Him with the words He gives us?
- Do we trust His timing for those words?
The solution: In the push to finish manuscripts, find an agent, sell a series, and so on, focusing on God’s questions can take the pressure off. We can trust that God has a plan for us and our gifts.
As we move forward in our writing journeys, let’s be sure to ask the questions that measure success in God’s eyes. Will we trust and obey?
During the 2018 Write2Ignite conference, Kim will teach several workshops, including “Is My Manuscript Ready for an Agent?,” which will help writers evaluate their manuscripts.
Kim Peterson mentors aspiring writers. She has taught writing for twenty-five years, working extensively with both published authors and those seeking careers in writing, editing and publishing. Currently, Kim teaches in the online professional writing program of Taylor University (Upland, Indiana). She also leads two productive online writers groups—one for mixed genres and one for writers of children’s books and articles.
Kim, who is a regular conference speaker, previously served on the writing faculty at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana, and mentored writers through the Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. A long-time professional book reviewer, Kim reviews novels for CBA’s Christian Market magazine. She recently concluded more than eight years as fiction reader for the Les Stobbe Literary Agency until Stobbe’s retirement.
Working as a freelancer for forty years (she started young!), Kim has written for Indiana newspapers and various periodicals and websites, including AppleSeeds, Encounter, Evangel, Vista, and devotional markets. Her work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Rocking Chair Reader, the Moments series, and other anthologies. She blogs about nature and loves writing for children.
Kim says of her childhood, “My mom made reading a priority. She surrounded me with books. When my morning chores were finished, she let me disappear up our cherry trees with a good book and a thermos of juice. I don’t climb trees to read anymore, but I can still disappear into a great story.”