Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Success and failure used to be easy to measure. In school, you either passed or failed based on clearly established grading standards. In manufacturing, success is determined by output. Even in finance, successful deals are measured by profit.

But when you write for the Christian market, measures of success become a little more difficult to pin down.

Consider a new writer trying to establish himself in Christian publishing. He may spend years writing devotions or articles for non-paying markets. Is he then a failure because he has never been paid for his work?

Or what about the blogger who faithfully posts encouraging material. Readers are inspired, refreshed, or edified, but she doesn’t know it because few people leave comments. Or perhaps, despite the fact that a particular post attracted a mere handful of readers, one lone person was encouraged to persevere through a difficult time. Is the blogger a success or a failure?

Of course, publishers expect their books to turn a profit. Still, if a financially unprofitable book draws even one person to a vibrant relationship with God through faith in Christ, is it still a failure?

I began thinking about success and failure in writing for the Christian market when author and friend Renee Fisher recently blogged her reflections on this subject.

It boils down to expectations. We writers are a sensitive lot. In the absence of positive feedback, we wonder if our written work – whether books or blogs, devotions or articles – is good enough.  People may simply be too busy to say anything, but we tend to take it personally. Am I not good enough? Why didn’t anyone notice? Do I not have a big enough audience?

Who is my audience, anyway? Who decides if I’ve succeeded or failed? It goes without saying that writers need readers. But if I’m doing what God has called me to do, to the best of the abilities He has given me, shouldn’t that be enough? I constantly need to remind myself that it is enough.

Who is my audience? My first audience is the Lord.

Numbers are important. Readers are important. Publishers are important. Profits are important. But none of them are as important as fulfilling the call placed on my life by the One whom I most want to please. For the rest, I’ll do my absolute best to glorify the Lord and trust Him for the results…success or failure.

P.S. Renee – I may not leave comments…but please know your blog posts are a blessing!

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  1. Paulette

    You hit the nail on the head!

  2. Renee Fisher

    Ava, how sweet you are. Thanks for the mention. I actually mentioned you an upcoming article and was going to surprise you–looks like you surprised me first!! Thanks friend.

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