Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Success Secret

We've been talking about setting and reaching goals here at Woman of Faith, so today I wanted to share some principles that work for all walks of life, even though I wrote them specifically for writers. As a workshop leader with Greater Harvest Workshops here in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, I know from experience that discouragement is a big snafu for writers.  (I've adapted the article slightly for you who are readers but not writers.)

The Success "Secret"

Sometimes newer writers feel like success (in the form of publication) is out of their reach, no matter what they do. Successful authors, they think, must know a secret or two they are simply unaware of. Why else aren't they published by now? (Perhaps there's an area of your life that feels unattainable even though you see other people reaching that goal, benchmark, or weight level. It seems that other people can get there, but not you, no matter how hard you try.)

If you feel like that, beware. 

While success sometimes is a matter of being in the right place at the right time or a result of who you know, more often it is a result of things completely within your grasp: Perseverance and hard work.

Perseverance can get you in the right place at the right time, and hard work will help you meet the people you need to know, or gain the skills necessary to reach your goal.

Colin Powell said, "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."

Before you start to feel that life is unfair or that all of your time spent writing and editing your work (or dieting, or studying, or whatever) is fruitless, ask yourself if you have prepared sufficiently, done the work that is necessary, and learned from your failures. 

If you aren't published in book length fiction and that is your goal, then it stands to reason that your work is not done. (Even when you get published, your work is not done.) Before snagging that first contract, however, it is doubly important that you prepare--and keep preparing.  Work hard--and keep working hard.

Many people fail simply because they stop trying. 
 "Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance."
Samuel Johnson

Learn from your failures, which, for writers, is a rejection letter or a critique. (Some criticism will not be accurate, but learning to find the grain of truth in it can be very, very helpful. Even your enemies can help you in this area--they are the first ones to spot your weaknesses, so their criticism will often contain a grain of truth that you've been blind to.)

Only the Lord knows the right time, the right publisher or the right agent for you. And every time you get a rejection, you can accept that it was not the right place, time, or publisher for you or your work. The key is to find the right one, or for your agent to do so. This takes time and patience.

It may be hard to keep believing that success will happen because it hasn't happened, yet. It's difficult to persevere in the face of rejection. But this is precisely what you must do. This is the time to lean on your God and remember that HE is the one who has called you to do this thing called writing (or whatever thing he has called you to do. Whether it is writing a book or being a homemaker and mother and wife, do it as to the Lord!) Your (publishing) success will come in His time and in His way.

In the meantime, remember that you write not because you may get published,
not to impress an agent or editor,
not to show your family or friends that you can,
but to serve the LORD; to steward the resources of creativity and imagination that He has entrusted to your care.  When you remember that it is GOD you serve, the outcome of your efforts is His concern, not merely yours. Serving God means that you are always a success so long as you are faithful. And that goes for everyone, no matter their walk of life.

His yoke is easy and His burden is light!

Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.  Psalms 37:5

What is your comfort when you've received a rejection or setback? Do you have a favorite verse you fall back on? Please share it with us. As always, any comment will enter you in the current book giveaway.


Caroline said...

Thoughtful, instructive (and encouraging) post, Linore. Enjoyed reading it.

chaplaindebbie said...

First of all, thank you Linore for adapting it to readers as well as writers. This housewife learned a lot from this post.
Just this morning I felt like ranting about something, but I had to stop and check myself. I've told this to at least three people already this week: There are two people who are watching us at all times, Jesus and Satan. Who do you want to make smile? Who do you want to flee with his tail between his legs? Each setback in our lives is a test in character and we need to stop and take a deep breath before reacting. Putting a smile on Jesus' face is all the inspiration I need to set me on the right track (reaction).
God bless.

Linore Burkard said...

Thank you, Carole (I forgot your whole name is Caroline! Pretty.)Nice to see you here. If you're interested in guest posting, just say the word. I'm sure my readers would love to hear something about your journey to your first (recent) contract. :)
And Debbie, thank you also. I'm so pleased that this article was timely for you. And thank YOU for the encouraging reminder about who watches us. I want to make my Lord smile, too!

DebbieLynne said...

Linore, Thank you for writing such an encouraging post. YOu are such a warm-hearted person and such an encourager. I love you, my friend. I consider myself very fortunate to have gotten to know you so well.

Debbie Lynne

Linore Burkard said...

The feeling is mutual, Debbie Lynne! You are an encourager yourself, and much appreciated! Thanks for stopping by, dear friend. :)

squiresj said...

Let me know Linore if you get this. I tried your email and they keep bouncing it. I posted you reviews of Before the Season Ends on Amazon (already up), alibris, Christian Book, Christian review of books, Family Christian, Goodreads, Book-club-queen, bookreporter and Library Thing.
Loved the book.

Linore Burkard said...

Hey thank you so much! You posted your review to a lot of places. I realty appreciate it, and I'm so pleased you loved the book. Let me know if you read Grosvenor Square, what you think of that one. And, email me at Linore@linoreBurkard(dot)com.
Thanks again! I'm off to read your review!

squiresj said...

After my daughter rebelled several years back, I find myself feeling like I have lost all ministry. I changed churches as young people of today did not want me teaching their children and I've taught 44 years. I write reviews and post for authors on books I read as a way to encourage and uplift them as they have uplifted me.
But I still struggle with all the feelings of being a failure.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

Linore Burkard said...

I'm going to email you my reply, jr :)