The Road to Christian Writing Success

2011ncompasswritingretreatEdie Melson and I just returned from leading the NCompass Writing Retreat, our 9th four-day get-away for writers. As always, it was a time of refreshing, refueling, and, of course, rewriting.

But this year the focus was on another re: releasing.

No matter where we are on this writing journey, we tend to compare. We compare our words to other writers and determine our worth. We compare their publications to our rejections. We long for their successes and see ourselves as failures.

Even multi-published mega-authors can succumb to comparison. Why did her book do so well when mine is obviously better? How could the movie producer choose his memoir over mine?

Comparing can lead to anger, frustration, jealousy, and resentment. It can lead to quitting when God says to keep going.

But the correct response to comparison is simple: release it. Release the responsibility to succeed. Release the motivation to beat out others. Release the drive for big sales, major contracts, and movie deals.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t do our best to learn and grow as writers and to seek to get our work out–we should! His Word says to do everything with excellence. But it does mean the motivation must be more than simply money and recognition.

As followers of Christ, our motivation must be to please Him by developing the gift He’s given us, and then accept the truth that He is in control.

We can work hard and work smart and do everything we’re taught as writers…and still receive rejections.

Because we’re not in control.

We can take classes and rewrite till our fingers bleed…and never see our names on the cover of a book.

Because we’re not in control.

God can choose to bless a less-than-perfect book…while letting a well-written one sit on the shelf. And whether we agree or not, we must release it to Him.

It’s through the release that we truly become successful Christian writers. Because then He can use our words to change hearts for eternity…regardless of how we compare to others.

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~cindycovertrustinggod

Who Won Cindy Rooy‘s Trusting God Through Troubles & Tears?

It’s #8–Judy Parker! Congratulations, Judy! Just contact me with your mailing address and Cindy will see that your book is on its way!

And isn’t this a great book to be reading while we’re waiting for God to answer your prayers? You can get a copy of Trusting God Through Troubles & Tears here.

Thank you, Cindy, for sharing your story and your book with us. I pray God continues to bless you as you bless others.

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yesistock0511I Need Your Kudos!

Yep, it’s that time again…time to celebrate with Christian Writer’s Den readers who’ve signed a contract, had an article published, started a new blog or website-anything that is another step in your writing journey. Simply contact me with your info.

Don’t forget to use this format:

Your name
Your state
Link to your website or blog
Your good news
Link to your good news, article, or book, if online

Thanks! Can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!

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It’s Also Time to Report Your MoGo7000 for Septembermogo

Ready to get ANOTHER entry for the $100 drawing at the end of the year? All you have to do is LEAVE A COMMENT with the total of NEW words you’ve written in September on your book project. (Comments on this blog only. Please do not send by email.)

By now, I hope you’re hard at work on your October goals. But it’s not too late to start! Need to find out more? Check out the MoGo7000 guidelines here.

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biblewomanistockdec10Parting Words from The Word…

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

Posted in categories: Christian Living | Jesus | Writing Instruction

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  • Vonda Skelton

    Thanks for the encouragement, Michael! I hope it blesses your followers!

  • This is such an important message! Well done Vonda. I posted it on the Writing Platform Facebook page.

  • Margie Culbertson

    You hit the nail on the head Vonda! It’s so hard because our flesh wants to be recognized. We are only responsible for doing the work God calls us to do and we are to leave the results to him, we need to be reminded constantly.
    Thank you and Edie and everyone else who attended the conference because the focus wasn’t on their own advancement but on helping each other along. It was awesome!

  • Lill Kohler

    Vonda what a wonderful reminder that it’s all in His hands.

  • Catherine

    Such a simple message, said so eloquently, thanks for the encouragement Vonda!
    Blessings to you.
    C

  • Vonda Skelton

    What heartfelt comments. Thank you for sharing your transparency. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who fights that battle at times. But if we really believe God is in control we have no reason to stress over the outcome. God will bring our words to the people He has preordained to benefit from them.And what a joy to see all the MoGo7000 results! Way to go, gang!  

  • Cindy Patterson

    Vonda, I wish I could have been with you guys at the retreat this year. What a wonderful lesson for us! It’s so easy to fall into that trap. I needed the reminder. My MoGo for this month is …8,204
    You’re such an inspiration! Cindy Patterson

  • Thank you, Vonda and Edie, for a fabulous writers retreat, for the lessons we learned from one another, and for the focus on God rather than comparison with others.
    Yvonne Ortega

  • Tim

    With so many great writers out there (even within my own sphere), it’s hard not to compare myself with them. I’ve found, however, that if I use them as inspiration instead of frustration I can accomplish a lot more. Now if only I had time to read them all… Also, I snuck in by a nose this month with 7032 words. It’s not the 11 thousand plus like last month but I earned every one. Thanks for the monthly carrot.

  • I really need to hear that message more often. It is so easy to get discouraged! But I’m learning more every day, and I know that God will place my book in the hands in which it belongs.

  • Our insecurities can paralyze us. It is so easy to get caught up comparing ourselves to others. We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and His call…not on those around us and what He called them to do.
    But how great to have the blessing of sharing times like NCompass with those of like mind!!

  • Thanks, Vonda. I certainly needed this post too. Sometimes I wonder if I’m deluding myself about this pursuit, then I realize that the enemy wants me to believe this lie. I will post your comment about our motivation in front of me on my desk, so I won’t lose the correct focus.

  • Vonda Skelton

    Thank you all for your kind comments. My goodness, the issue of releasing our work to the Lord is certainly a point of struggle for us! And believe me, I still have times that I struggle with it…so I was speaking to myself as much as anybody! We must remember, too, that when God built the temple, he called people with all different kinds of gifts to be a part of His mission. He called bronzemakers, embroiderers, woodworkers, etc, and He needed them all. Some of us are gifted in writing fast (that would NOT be me!), some do well with fiction, some with non-fiction, some with poetry, others with business. Some are techies, some are not. And even within each of those areas of gifting, there are subsets of gifts.Praise God He wants to use each of us to contribute our piece of the puzzle! :-)V

  • I completely agree that releasing our work a and the process to God is the antidote to frustration and comparison. Simple, but not easy. Thanks for the reminder Vonda.

  • This is such a great reminder, Vonda. I compare myself with others all the time and I hate that about me. It only leads to problems. Thankfully, God doesn’t give up on me and He is teaching me to release. I just wish it wasn’t so hard! 🙂 Thanks for another great post.

  • Vonda, what a fabulous weekend this was! I’m still basking in it all! All I wanna do right now is write! I’m trying not to get to far ahead of myself with the blog posts so I’ve not worked on anymore posts. I may just have to get ahead of myself though because I’m in a writing mood! One of my main struggles is comparing myself to others. Thank you for helping me see that I don’t need to do that! I already can’t wait until next year! Bren, I haven’t talked or laughed so much in a while. As far as for crying…well, I do that all the time! Love you Vonda!

  • Vonda, this is a timely topic for both writers and speakers. As willing communicators, it’s the being fully present on the journey that results in the greater blessings. The “doing” is application from the lessons learned.
    Comparing communicators’ productivity makes for an uneven race track. None of us cross the starting line at the same time with the same skills and talents. How can a two year old be compared to a two month old? One walks while the other crawls; yet, they both have success where they are on their own pathway.
    Thank you for reminding me to “be” instead of comparing while I’m moving forward where and when the Lord leads.
    Vonda, you are an uplifting blessing.

  • Great post! In Hebrews we are taught that the works of God were finished from the foundation of the world, and in Ephesians the scripture says that we are to walk in the works God prepared beforehand. This truly applies to the life of writing. It’s hard not to get impatient and too easy to forget the eternal perspective of our writing.
    Your post is an excellent reminder of this truth.
    By the way, my MoGo this month was 21903.

  • Great and timely thought for the morning! Our job is to be faithful with our call, and trust God with the rest. You never know what He might do with a sweet tea recipe!

  • Whew, this is so good, Vonda. It’s right where God’s been leading me–to let go, over and over.
    Thank you! xoxo

  • Thank you, Vonda and Edie. I haven’t cried, laughed or talked so much since, well, since last year’s retreat!
    Thank you to all of my friends, new and old, for your prayers. I’m so blessed.

  • I needed this today Vonda! Thank you!

  • Vonda Skelton

    Yes, Cathy and Edie, if we're honest, we all deal with it. No matter what our success–or lack of–looks like to others, we must have a higher goal than publication and royalties.I know some consider the concept to be simply Christian-ese, not realistic, and certainly not fitting for such a competitive field. But I know that if money or recognition was my only driving force, I'd be long gone by now. There will always be those instances that don't make sense, and we could drive ourselves crazy over it. But I know that I know that I know that when I trust God to do whatever He sees fit with my work, the pressure decreases and the enjoyment increases.  Love to you both!V 

  • Vonda, it was a great weekend! Your post is so timely too. None of us, no matter where we are in this writing journey, is safe from this trap. Only eyes fixed on Jesus can keep me focused.

  • A timely reminder, Vonda. Trusting Him with the outcome releases bitterness and discouragement. I try to visualize us all as a team — cheering one another on for God’s greater purposes. It has helped to build my trust, but I still struggle at times. Thanks…