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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Everything right . . . and still wrong.

by Nicole Petrino-Salter


As a writer, you can do everything right and still feel like you did everything wrong. You know what I mean?

You studied the craft, you wrote your first novel, you set it down for a month or two, you went back, you edited it like crazy. You studied more. You went to writers conferences. You met people. You met professionals (and, yes, some of them are people too). They liked you. You liked them. You waited a year or two, wrote two more novels. You went back to a conference and pitched your work. You heard back.

“Not for us at this time.” “Thank you, but no.” “Good writing, not what we need.” “We wish you the best with your work.” Over and over again.

You persevered. You tried again. You kept writing.

We all know there are different kinds of people, let alone different kinds of writers. Some have no “quit” gene in them. Others will bail at the first rejection.

There’s only one difference I know of that can affect the outcomes of successes or rejections. That’s the relationship with Jesus Christ. Secular philosophies attribute everything to the flesh incorporating “luck” into all the equations for achieving or failing at what they do.

A Christian who writes believes his steps are ordered by the Lord and true success comes in obedience to His leading. The path isn’t necessarily smooth, not always “rewarding” in the human sense, and can involve some major disappointments. It can even feel wrong – after attempting to do everything right. And, if the truth be known, it can cause a writer to wonder about the direction he took, be faced with giving up, wanting to give up, but ultimately realizing he can’t give up but must conclude what he thought was the path to satisfaction and success is really following the road to wherever God leads.

Sometimes it’s hard to admit that God’s direction is better than the one we had planned for us. We didn’t mind the years of work to perfect our craft, a rejection or ten, because we kept envisioning a novel that kept readers professing how much they enjoyed it, how it touched their hearts, made them laugh out loud, comforted them – you get my drift. We had many five star reviews in mind, several fours, a few threes, and to be fair a couple of one and two star contributions by readers who probably didn’t even read the book. It was a good plan with everything done “right”. Then how had it gone so wrong? Or did it?

When you strip it all down to the bare naked truth, if you did what God had for you to do, you can decide not to question the journey. If you think you should’ve done some more, you can continue to do those things. If you’ve done all God has for you to do, nothing else matters. Not sales. Not social media. Not platform. Not anything.

Only God. His way or the low way. Rest in it.

Nicole Petrino-Salter writes love stories with a passion. You can visit her here most days.


  1. I've realized that God gives us stories to reach certain people. Who's to say I've failed or succeeded if it isn't a bestseller or wins awards? If it reaches the person it's supposed to reach, then I succeeded. Our rewards are eternal not temporal.

    It's funny, one of my critique partners, Lisa Ludwig, said after you publish, you'll want something else. And it's true. First we want to publish, then we want to be a bestseller and/or win awards.

    But once again, God whispers to my heart and reminds me that He called me to write what He whispers to my heart. If I'm obedient and write it the best I can, then I've succeeded. :)

  2. Amen, Nicole! I've learned that my definition of success, or the world's definition, is most likely not God's definition of success. And chances are, we won't know our true purpose behind our obedience until we see Jesus.

  3. Agreed, Bren. Amen. We sometimes see the purpose in hindsight, but often we don't understand the here and now.

  4. Nicole,

    Thank you so much for the reminder!

    I've believed I'm called to write novels since 2008 and have completed or nearly completed a handful of manuscripts since then.

    Since late 2014, I've been in a creative desert.

    But after a few weeks in that position, I was led to the realization that it isn't a desert, it's an oasis. That led to the additional realization that perhaps I'd put a little too much confidence in myself and not enough in God's leading.


    I DID put way too much confidence in myself.

    At the moment, I can't say I'm a successful writer by the world's standards.

    But I do believe I'm where I'm supposed to be and that God is working in my writing life.

    If never hurts to have that validated, though, so thank you again!

    Best wishes,


  5. Carrie, your affirmation is just what I needed. Thank you. You know it's not easy getting to this place because it's a place of surrender. The beauty is we're surrendering to the Victor instead of the enemy. And there's no better place to be than on the winning side in this case. ;)

    Thank you for taking the time to make a meaningful comment, Carrie.

  6. This was a very timely and appreciated reminder for me. I thank you for shining light on the real reason I write. Highlighting the Giver rather than the gift and what the world defines as it's purpose. My writing journey is a divine design with a Kingdom purpose so as long as I'm in His will, I am succeeding. Sure, we all want financial and laudatory rewards for our hard work but that's not the main event. That will be the icing on the proverbial cake if it happens and if it doesn't, that all right too.

  7. Thank you, Marlene. I think we're wiser for the journey sometimes, more appreciative of any "success". But, as you said, nothing beats knowing we've done what the Lord has asked of us. Nothing. All of God's abundance to you.


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