Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Redefining Failure

Reading the loop, following blogs for authors, or attending conferences can leave a person with the notion that REAL writers have to develop websites, Facebook author pages, Blogspots and be active on Pinterest. They may come away with the idea that it is essential to be on LinkedIn or whatever the current networking rage is.

All of these tools can be immensely helpful with self-promotion, making important connections, building writing or business relationships. The pressure to be a part of them can leave one asking, “Am I disloyal to my trade if I prefer not to chase the big dream? Am I abnormal if I only want to live a quiet life? If my dream of writing is simply to touch family and a few friends, is there something wrong with me?”

I reply with a resounding, “No!”

If Christ asks you to write a pamphlet of poetry to share locally, writing a best-selling fiction novel instead is failure. If Christ gives you stories and the desire to publish a work of fiction, do that. Do it to the best you can then whether you sell few or many you are a success. Failure would be to refuse or let fear stop you.

One of the attitudes in ACFW I admire is that we don’t have to compete with one another. Each author, each story fits into a particular time and place. That is why we can rejoice with those who rejoice at winning Genesis or Carol Award or get the contract we wanted.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Some of the best storytellers I’ve known have had their season of struggle with jealousy, comparison, judgmental-ism, and self-doubt. These attitudes can creep in for the seasoned author as well as the newbie especially when God’s timetable doesn’t make sense and expectations end in disappointment. However, the struggle doesn’t validate or excuse the negative mindset. Thank God that we don't have to stay stuck in the Slough of Despond. We have a Rescuer.

Christians do not view success as the world views it. For a Christ follower success is being who Christ made you to be, doing the task Christ gives you to do as he gives it. That’s success in its entirety. Simply put, failure is not doing what the Master asks.

Until next time, 

                   Mary Allen


  1. Thank you for this post. I think there's a lot of truth in it.

  2. Thanks for saying so, H.T. It's certainly been a lesson I've had to learn.