We’ve all heard the term, “Winning is everything.” While it might not be everything the thrill of reaching that finish line, selling that first novel or achieving that first goal, is so exhilarating, we immediately crave that feeling again. That’s when the drive for ‘more’ takes over. We want to win more races, sell more books, achieve more recognition, and win awards. There’s nothing wrong with striving for success, but the truth is, not everyone is destined for greatness.
This is when the nasty bug called comparison can kick in. It can strike any of us in any line of work. Competition in publishing is fierce. To succeed we’re urged to participate in social media to promote ourselves. Be on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Have a blog, a web page, do give-a-ways and newsletters, enter contests so you can add Award Winning to your resume. And of course write books.
So for insecure writers, it’s easy to look at what other successful authors are doing and feel like you’re not measuring up. Sometimes, as I scroll through all the good news posted on Facebook by other authors I begin to feel like I’m not doing enough. There are authors who seem to be super heroes – they work full time, homeschool their five kids, write a daily blog, a monthly newsletter, serve as president of their local writers group and in their spare time teach100 other authors how to write a best seller. It’s enough to make me want to go throw a great big pity party. Woe is me. I’m not promoting enough. I’m not writing fast enough. I should write bigger books, issue oriented books, suspense books.
It’s awards season in the publishing world – the time when the hundreds of contests held each year announce their winners. Winning an award can boost your career up several notches, especially if it’s a prestigious one. Some authors seem to win them by the truck loads. Nearly every book they write wins some kind of award.
As Christians we know we’re not supposed to compare ourselves to others, but it’s difficult not to at times. The truth is, not all writers are created equal. God has given us each a gift to use for his glory. Some of us will write big, epic novels. Others will pen gritty suspense, coming of age, or high adventure stories. And some simply want to write romance.
I’ve been asked; don’t you want to write bigger books someday? Something significant? I always answer no. I love writing romance. It’s all I ever wanted to do. I don’t have the call to write women’s fiction, or delve into political issues or even to write a frenetically paced suspense.
I confess to twinges of envy when I see others gathering awards like bunches of grapes and when I hear of authors who write six books a years as if it’s nothing. I’m a one at a time writer. It takes a great deal of thought, and hard work to get one plotted and written. If I allowed myself to get too caught up in what others are doing I’d quit right now.
So what do I do? I keep a couple of Bible verses in the forefront of my mind. One is
Philippians 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I am content with my productivity. I’m working at a pace that is comfortable for my abilities, and my stage in life. More significant is the other verse I like. Romans 9:21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
My task may be to provide sweet romances for common use. And I’m good with that. As long as I do it for his glory, and make my stories reflect his heart I’m content. If any of my little stories are destined for a more special purpose then I’ll leave that in His hands.
Merrillee Whren says
Thanks for the reminder about being content.
Virginia Vaughan says
Very well said, Lori! God has given us all this ministry to write. And he uses each writer to his glory. Keep on writing!
Chris Storm says
Since when is publishing several beautiful romance novels common use? For those of us who are not yet published, you have achieved something spectacular! The writing competition is fierce, the market is tough, yet God has gifted you to surpass all obstacles and achieve greatness! He has blessed you to make a difference at this time in history and into the future. Your books will be here, long after you are gone. Psalm 102:18: “Let this be written for a future generation. That a people not yet created may praise the Lord!” I’m heading back to the Writers Conference this year without an agent or publisher and six unpublished books in hand. Oh, how I would love to be Lorraine Beatty! :)