Saturday, October 26, 2013

GUEST BLOGGER LYNN AUSTIN: CHASING SUCCESS (and Giveaway!)

When I first began writing, my only goal for nearly eleven years was to get published. If I could just hold my own book in my hand and see my name on the cover, I would know I was a successful writer. When that glorious day finally arrived however, it didn’t seem to satisfy me the way I had hoped it would. I still didn’t feel like a real writer. What was missing?
I needed a book signing! Successful writers had them, didn’t they? I made the rounds of several local bookstores and managed to arrange a signing at one of the BIG ones. My family and a handful of friends from church were kind enough to show up, but the general public seemed annoyed that I was talking while they were browsing through the real books. My second book signing at a Christian bookstore seemed more promising since it coincided with their grand re-opening at a new and larger location. But I wasn’t the only celebrity that day. I shared the spotlight with a famous red tomato, and my table near the front door turned out to be a convenient place for parents with small children to stop and ask for directions to the real attraction. No risk of getting writer’s cramp signing four books. 
When my first royalty statement arrived, I was sure I would finally feel like a success. But the dismal numbers told me that my books were sitting in a warehouse, not in readers’ hands. Hardly a sign of success. A few more years passed in which I gradually sold more and more books but I still struggled to feel like a real writer. Then my publisher invited me to promote my books at the International Christian Retail Show. This, I learned, was a really big deal in Christian publishing. Authors get to sit in “personality booths” for thirty minutes signing huge stacks of books. Sometimes the lines of eager bookstore owners stretched across the convention floor. At last, I would feel like a success! But it turned out that there were several “personalities” occupying several booths, all signing at the same time as me—and of course the lines for the Big-Name authors were much longer than mine. In fact, most of the people who stopped by for my autograph asked me not to personalize their books. I found out later that they intended to sell these free copies in their bookstores to help pay for their trip to the convention. My signature wasn’t going to be one of their cherished possessions.
It was hard not to become envious while at the convention. The shuttle buses from the hotels to the convention center featured bus-sized pictures of celebrity authors and their latest books on the sides. Book trailers played on TV screens during the bus rides, advertising other famous authors’ books. (Why didn’t I have a book trailer?) Everywhere I looked the advertisements and promotions and handouts seemed bigger and brighter and flashier than mine. I left the convention feeling even less like an author than before. When would I be as successful as everyone else?
The bestseller list! That was the true mark of a successful writer, wasn’t it? How could I claw my way to the top of that? A place in the Top Ten became my benchmark for a while, and when I finally did get on the Christian Bookseller Association’s list I discovered that the mark of a real writer was the New York Times’ bestseller list. Oh, well. Still not there.
One wonderful day I learned that my book had been nominated for a Christy Award. What an honor! I went out and bought copies of the two other books that were finalists in my category, and of course, both were better than mine. I was envious and certain that I wouldn’t win. But I did! So, was I success now? Would eventually winning eight Christy Awards and being inducted into the Christy Hall of Fame do it? My royalty checks had more zeros in them than ever before, and I received wonderful letters and emails from readers—marks of a true writer, right? But there were always other authors who had larger royalty checks and sacks full of mail arriving in their in-boxes.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that I was like a greyhound on a racetrack, chasing a man-made rabbit that I had no hope of catching. It was time to stop the craziness and the envying and the yearning for more, and clearly define “success” for myself. Otherwise, each achievement would fail to satisfy because someone else would always be higher on the bestseller list or have a bigger picture on the side of the bus or longer lines at their signings or a flashier book trailer (I’ve still never had a book trailer.) In my morning quiet times, I asked God to show me the answer . . . What was the true indicator of success as a Christian writer? And little by little I began to see that success in God’s eyes looks very different from man’s measures. Jesus, by His life and death and resurrection, showed us that success is defined as obedience to God’s call. It’s as simple as that. Was I obeying God and giving all my heart and soul and strength to His purposes for my life?
Numbers don’t count for much in God’s eyes—people do. He sent Philip on a long, hot desert journey just to touch one Ethiopian eunuch’s heart. God would think it was nothing at all to ask me to labor for hours to write a novel in order to bless one lonely, hurting, struggling reader. I would be a success in His eyes if I obeyed His calling and accomplished His purposes even if I never saw tangible proof of the results. If a novel that sold only 1,000 copies and never made it to anyone’s bestseller list was used by God to change one life, would it be a success? Absolutely!
I’ve finally re-defined success for myself, after 21 published books. I now consider myself in the same line of work as a missionary, willing to work hard and serve God wherever He chooses to send me. People don’t become missionaries to be rich and famous or to have their pictures plastered on the sides of buses. They don’t measure the success of their ministry by the size of the church or the number of converts or the amount of money they’ve collected. Instead, they simply choose to obey God and then make the necessary sacrifices in order to answer His call. They do the work, trust Him to provide for their daily needs, and then leave the results in His hands. If I do the same things with my writing, I will be a success. Sure, the awards and bestseller lists are nice but these are no longer goals for me. (And honestly, do I really want to see a larger-than-life-sized photograph of myself cruising through the city streets?) I can’t compare myself with other writers because I can’t see the behind-the-scenes work that God is doing with their books as readers’ lives are changed. My greatest rewards aren’t royalty checks and trophies (although I’ll admit they’re nice). My rewards are letters like the one I received from a reader the other day saying, “Thank you for showing me the way back to God.”   
My advice for aspiring writers is to make sure you define success for yourself, early in your career. Once you define it, you’ll be able to outline the steps you need to take in order to accomplish that goal—and you’ll be able to congratulate yourself when you reach it. You will finally feel like a success. But for me, no other reward will ever compete with the satisfaction of knowing that I’m serving God and touching lives for His glory, not my own.

ABOUT LYNN'S GIVEAWAY:
Leave a comment or question for Lynn, and you'll be entered in her giveaway for a signed copy of her latest release, Return to Me.

ABOUT LYNN AUSTIN:
For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother (age 98), and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home, Though Waters Roar, While We’re Far Apart and Wonderland Creek,  have won Christy Awards for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms. Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film. Lynn was recently  inducted into the Christy Award Hall for Fame for winning eight Christy Awards.

Lynn’s next two books, Return to me  and Pilgrimage come out Fall 2013.  Return to Me is the first book in a Biblical Fiction series called The Restoration Chronicles, featuring the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Pilgrimage is Lynn’s first nonfiction work about her spiritual journey through the land of Israel.





97 comments:

Hilleary Peterson said...

Wow. What an amazing journey you have been on. It takes a lot of work and insight to change your outlook the way you have. Very inspirational. One great thing about you sharing your journey is what you were able to do and what you learned from your experience can be applied to everyone in all walks of life and in most situations. It is a good reminder for people who may be lost in life or letting anger and bitterness bring them down. Maybe you should write you lesson into a book.

Hilleary Peterson said...

Wow. What an amazing journey you have been on. It takes a lot of work and insight to change your outlook the way you have. Very inspirational. One great thing about you sharing your journey is what you were able to do and what you learned from your experience can be applied to everyone in all walks of life and in most situations. It is a good reminder for people who may be lost in life or letting anger and bitterness bring them down. Maybe you should write you lesson into a book.

Marianne Barkman said...

Lynn, I am blessed by reading your post today...this weekend I will sit down and give you my thoughts on RETURN TO ME (review). As a reader I can only hope that God might use my review to direct someone to the book they need!

Melissa Jagears said...

I am glad that somewhere I heard a writer or some publishing professional say that you need to write a mission statement on why you are writing/what is your goal etc. so that you know when you come up against that question in your head "Should I quit?" that you can look back at that and decide rather than letting emotions or bad news etc. cause you to react with a knee-jerk.

So I sat down one day and pondered what I was doing and why I was doing it and why I would or would not stop and then after crafting my statement I posted it--it's on my website's about page.

So any time I start thinking "why am I doing this to myself?" I go look at that. So far, I've read it and gone straight back to work. :)

Vince said...

Hi Lynn:

I see success as a process and not a destination. I also see success as the solution to nothing but rather as a valuable asset in finding solutions to the specific problems we have the wisdom and courage to face directly.

If we think that just publishing a book or losing 80 pounds on a diet is going to solve all our problems and make us happy, we will always be disappointed. If our victories seem hollow it may be because such victories provide the energy we need to strive still further. One reason the grass always seems greener is because very often it is. Nature wants us to be adventurous. Nature wants us to be all we can be.

I believe you have found the right path. I also believe that your long pilgrimage was part of that path all along. I am really looking forward to reading your current book. I’d love to see where you are right now. I admire your adventure. And I look forward to seeing what happens next. Thanks for an inspiring post.

BTW: You might not have a trailer yet but you sure have wonderful covers.

Vince

Christina Rich said...

Lynn,

AMEN!

My debut comes out in March and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared. My story has already stirred some controversy but I know I've spent a lot of time in prayer for guidance and wisdom. I told my in-laws the other day that if only one person read the message God gave me to write and they responded to His calling then I did what I was supposed to do.

Your post is a great reminder. I want to glorify the Lord in all I do.

Christina Rich said...

Melissa,

I like the idea of writing a mission statement. I'm going to do this and then I'll go read yours.

Mary Cline said...

Thank you Lynn Austin, it is posts like this that keep me coming back to Seekerville. I love knowing the books I love to read and the ones I will write are all to the the glory of the Lord.

Heidi said...

I think that the trap of comparison is something everyone can relate to. I like your advice to define early on what success will be for you. It's so important to value the blessings we have while striving to reach goals. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

karenk said...

Lynn,
Thanks for sharing your 'story.' Looking forward to reading your latest masterpiece.

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Terri said...

Lynn, thanks for being so open and honest with your story. I know in my day job I've done exactly as you did in your writing career. I've just recently arrived at the pint where I'm happy with the job I have. It took me a long time to reach that conclusion and stole a lot of my joy along the journey. It is something I don't want to repeat in my writing career. Thanks for sharing and for reminding me not to measure my success by others. And you know what? The thought of my face plastered on the side of a bus is enough to scare me!

Now I'm going to go read Melissa's mission statement.

Cindy W. said...

What an inspirational post Lynn. I believe what you have learned can be applied in all areas of life, not just a writer's life. My husband (he's a pastor of a small church) is currently speaking on obedience. I know when I'm walking in obedience everything seems to run smoother. That doesn't mean there aren't any 'blips' in the road but I can better navigate the 'blips' because I know I am being obedient.

My goal as a writer (newbie that I am) has been to touch at least one person's life with my words, whether published or not. Of course, I am writing towards publication but I know I have a lot to learn before I'm ready to pick up an oar to push off unpubbed island.

I would love to be entered into your giveaway!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Debra E. Marvin said...

Thank you for sharing from your heart. The enemy has the sneakiest ways to steal our joy and take the punch out of our efforts. Hindsight in seeing the good that comes from our seasons of pain really do help. Thanks for sharing such valuable thoughts on real success!

I imagine many of us have a Lynn Austin book on our shelves!

Okay, where's the coffee? I need to get back to my editing and too lazy to go make it.

Victoria said...

Mrs. Austin, this was a lesson I needed to hear right at this time in my life. I'm an aspiring writer, working towards writing something publishable and, lately, my definitions of 'success' have been along the same lines as yours were in the beginning. Thank you so much for the reminder that God defines success far differently than we do. I never want my goal in writing books to be centered around me, but I do want to glorify God and be a help to others.

I have read your "Refiner's Fire" series as well as "While We're Far Apart" and loved them all.

Thank you again for being a great example of what kind of attitude we should have as christian writers!

Ruth Ann Dell said...

Hi Lyn

Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

What a reward to receive a comment “Thank you for showing me the way back to God.” I would define that as success.

Julie Lessman said...

GOOD MORNING, EVERYBODY, AND A HUGE SEEKER WELCOME TO THE LOVELY LYNN AUSTIN!! To celebrate, I'm pulling out the stops with a full-blown breakfast brunch, including omelet, blintz, and pancake stations, fruit and cereal bar, maple-cured bacon and ham, peach cobbler and cinnamon pecan kringles plus LOTS of Keurig coffee and teas, choice of flavors!!

Debra Marvin said, "I imagine many of us have a Lynn Austin book on our shelves!"

I have to say this is a totally TRUE statement as I have many Lynn Austin books on my shelves myself and know others do, too, from the people I have talked to.

Lynn, each time I read this blog, it ministers to me SO very much! Thank you for being so very honest and open about this difficult road we travel as writers and authors. But then I expected that because that's how meeting you at ICRS was for me -- a true blessing and encouragement, and I can't thank you enough for your kind counsel.

Thank you again for coming to Seekerville!!

Hugs,
Julie

kaybee said...

LYNN, thank you. This is the message I constantly receive from Seekerville -- that we need to keep our eyes on the prize, and the prize is not royalty checks. I've been reminded of this lately as some of the original Seekers tell us about dipping their toes into the water of indie publication. It's even more work for them and less of a guaranteed reward, but they do it because they have a story they believe in.
HILLEARY, you're right, this post can be applied to any of life's endeavors. My husband is an ordained elder in our denomination, and when he started out, a wise older minister told him, "Hang on to your call -- at some times, it will be the only thing you've got." The same could be said for Christian writers.
VINCE, love the diet analogy, and so true. When we lose weight, we're still the same person inside and still have the same issues we had before. We're just healthier, and maybe more confident.
This is a good way to begin the weekend.
Please put my name in the drawing.
Who's hosting today? Or did Lynn just show up on her own? I have scrambled eggs with sour cream and mozzarella, wheat toast, and of course coffee. Not as good as Helen's, but it will help on a cold morning.
Kathy Bailey
Happy weekend!

Mary Hicks said...

Lynn, good morning! And thank you for sharing your journey through the valley of doubt and uncertainty in establishing your writing career.
I think it's human to have these thoughts and feelings, but so very good to know we can overcome and keep moving forward.
Thanks to all of you who have 'been there, done that' and are willing to share.

Carry on Seekerville!!!

kaybee said...

LYNN, here's another way to look at it -- having your face on a bus would increase the profile and buzz for Christian writers. It would be great for the industry. (I am only joking.)
KB

kaybee said...

Oops, okay, I left my comment before I saw Julie's. Her breakfast sounds better. Thanks, Julie.
KB

kaybee said...

JULIE, that is a great brunch. You must have stayed up all night preparing it. I don't know where to begin.
I would think the highest joy of doing this work would be when someone comes back to God, and tells us about it. That's a "reality royalty check."
Going to BOSTON today to do research for a possible American Revolution story, going to walk the Freedom Trail, what fun! My favorite city.
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

WHAT I'VE LEARNED from the Seekers, and from guests like Lynn, is that life really doesn't change when you're published, or even multi-published. The outside stuff changes, you have firmer deadlines and you don't have time for things like critique groups, and you usually don't do stuff like NANO because you already know you can write a book. But as a writer, you've never "arrived." This is what I've learned on this island, and it's even more important than the craft tips and coaching. We need to be firm on who we are and why we're doing this.
Kathleen D. Bailey
www.kathleendbailey.weebly.com

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lynn, what a well-traveled path. And a great lesson learned. Thank you so much for sharing a heartfelt, inspirational post with all of us.

This writing gig is an interesting trip. I love the peaks and the valleys, I love the humor and the angst, I cherish how "real" it all is... and I'm always a little surprised at how easily people are tempted to put too much emphasis on the heights.

When I was a waitress, I worked to be the best waitress I could be. When I decorated cakes for a big bakery, I worked to be the best baker I could be. Same with selling wedding gowns... Tupperware... Raising other people's babies.

The joy isn't in what you do, it's in doing whatever you do to the best of your ability. So the "heights" of writing mean little to me. The hearts and souls touched by sweet words?

That's the ticket!!!

Lynn Austin said...

Good Morning, Everyone!
I see that there are some very early risers in this group. I want to thank Julie again for inviting me to share my thoughts on this blog. And thank all of you for your comments. I love being able to connect with fellow writers and readers this way, and I'm blessed to hear that the story of my journey has helped you along the way. Please don't take as long as I did to figure all this out!
Ironically, I'm off to my local public library for their annual, local Author's Fair. This means sitting at a table in the lobby for 4 hours "selling" my books to library patrons who happen in. This isn't something I would have chosen to do, introvert that I am, but as God's "missionary," I know He is asking me to go. I'll check in with all of you in a few hours. Have a great day!
Lynn

Jackie Smith said...

Hi Lynn,
I loved your post! I have read several of your books and loved them.
I am sure I will be blessed by the book you are offering so please put me in the drawing.
Keep up the great writing!

Jackie said...

Hi Lynn,

Thanks for the warning and great advice. I'm not published yet and pray a lot about my writing journey. I like the way you tie your writing journey to being a missionary. I've often told my son his mission field is the tennis courts at this point in life. He's played tennis in high school and college and the way he handles himself and how he treats his opponents is a reflection on God. While he may never have had a discussion about being saved, I like to think he's planted seeds along the way.
I'm in this writing journey to glorify God in some way. I appreciate your reminding us that if our story only touches one person's life it'll be worth it.
Thanks!

Courtney Phillips said...

Thank you for sharing this.
It helped me.
Greatly.

Terri said...

Wise words, Ruthie. Will you slap me upside the head once a week and remind me?

Connie Queen said...

Good morning Lynn.

Thanks so much for your inspiring words today.

I think all of us think when we receive the call that we're finally writers. Then it won't be a money-less hobby, but a real job, hence real writer.

Melissa, I'm going over to look at your mission statement. Great idea.

Glynna Kaye said...

LYNN - Thank you so much for this beautiful reminder. This is definitely a post that will go in my "keeper" file.

Myra Johnson said...

Lynn, your inspiring post has proven very timely for me. Thank you for sharing your journey to find the true meaning of success!

Mary Connealy said...

LYNN! Thanks for being on Seekerville. But c'mon, girl. Seriously, surely somewhere around the FIFTH Christy, you had to start feeling PRETTY GOOD! :)

Mary Connealy said...

A great reminder of how we always compare outselves to others.

what's that saying???

If we compare ourselves to others we'll always end up feeling either arrogant or like a failure. Because we are always better or worse than everyone else.

Just be the best YOU, you can be.

Easy to say. Not so easy to do.

Bonnie Doran said...

Thanks for your honesty, Lynn. I'm in the stage of now that I'm published, I must be a real writer. It's a huge shift to realize it's God's book, not mine. Thanks for paving the way.

Piper Huguley said...

Thank you for coming to Seekerville today Lynn. As Debra and Julie say, I have several Lynn Austin books on my shelf/Kindle. One story in your wonderful Refiner's Fire series (love that series title by the way) sparked the idea for my current WIP. However, the easy way you have about the whole aspect of success is wonderful as well. In the peaks and valleys, it is best to remember God as the central focus for why we do what we do and to let his light shine. I'm with Mary though, lol, that fifth award had to be meaningful!!
Thank you for sharing your wisdom,

Piper

Tina Radcliffe said...

Well there you go. This is the bottom line. The truth. It's all about the Kingdom of God.

Thanks for joining us, Lynn.

Jeanne T said...

Lynn what a beautiful post. It's so encouraging to read about the heart journey that accompanied your writing journey. I have struggled with looking at others' achievements and comparing them to my weaknesses many times. I'm finally, FINALLY learning to look to God for His plans. And as you said, His definition of success.

I loved this. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself here!

Debby Giusti said...

Lynn,
Such an honor to have you with us on Seekerville today. Thanks for a lovely post with important advice for all. Doing God's will is the key. If he says write, I write. If he says, care for a sick friend, that's what I'm called to do. Following his lead brings peace. Yes, it's often difficult to hear his voice and follow his will, but that's our mission.

So glad you're traveling the path many of the Seekers and Villagers have chosen. Joing hands as we walk together.

Hugs!

Joanne Sher said...

Such a FABULOUS post, Lynn - and one I SO need! Thanks - and your biblical series sounds fascinating. Please enter me :)

Amy C said...

Hi Lynn! Lovely to see you here. Great post! I would love to win your new release.

Vince said...

Hi Lynn:

Your post today has made me think that the disillusionment some writers feel at each new level of success is really a blessing from God.

I never thought getting published would make me a writer or solve any problems. In fact, I had four finished manuscripts a year out of college which I thought would cause more problems than would be worth publishing.

Since I wrote advertising for a living any doubt that I was a writer would have been irrational. The nonfiction books I wrote filled a need I had for my real estate school. There was no disappointment on publication – only relief.

I now have six novels written in first or second draft and I feel no need or rush to publish them. What I feel is a duty to publish at least one of them because my wife wants a book dedicated to her and our mothers. I have one that is very funny and that people I know would enjoy. I am going to try and finish that one soon – after I finish weeks and weeks of revisions on my real estate manual and correspondence courses. (Goal today is 55 pages of a 15 hour course on how to run a brokerage business within the law. What fun, not!)

The bottom line is that if I believed that publishing a book would make me a writer and solve any of my problems, I would have an incentive to finish my projects. It would be a blessing.

You sometimes read about blessings in disguise. Well I think the disappointments you felt were blessings. They drove you on to become better. And the better you are the more readers you can inspire with your writing. I think the ability to still be disillusioned is a mark of someone with a greater capacity for growth.

Yes, I believe such writers are blessed as I was not. But God is generous. Not all His children get the same gifts but none are neglected.

Now back to the salt mines. Today’s blessing will be to start a new Seeker book as a reward after those 55 pages are edited. God is good.

CatMom said...

Welcome Lynn! Your post is absolutely amazing---and spoke strongly to my heart today. Thank you for sharing this journey with us, and also for sharing your wisdom--WOW.

I already have RETURN TO ME, so no need to enter me in your drawing. Please keep writing and sharing your wonderful, God-given talent, Lynn---I know the Lord is using you to touch many, many lives.

Blessings and Hugs, Patti Jo

annalabno.com said...

Thank you for stopping in. I would come to your book signing if I could. Where is it? :)



Kav said...

Wow, great thought-provoking post today. And I think it can be applied to all aspects of life. We seem all too eager to make comparisons in every little thing we do instead of just focusing on doing what God wants us to do. So glad He wants you writing!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Wow, I never would have imagined that Lynn Austin EVER didn't feel like a successful writer! But it's so easy to look at someone else and wonder why God gave them that thing that we so desperately want. I remember BOTH times I was promised a three-book contract for my first adult series, I felt, NOW I'm a successful writer. But both times, that was taken away from me. Now I can honestly say that I'm grateful, because that book was not ready. God was HELPING me even when it felt like he was crushing my dream. Thank goodness God doesn't always do what I want!

And I agree that success is just being obedient to God. That is success. Because he will take our obedience and use it for his purpose. :-)

Thank you, Lynn, for sharing your experiences!!! And for being honest and real. :-)

Chill N said...

Thanks for your honesty and your willingness to share, Lynn. Like Melanie said, I can't believe you ever didn't feel like a successful writer. I'm glad you didn't become so discouraged that you quit. I mean really ... A Proper Pursuit is a gem of a story :-)

Nancy C

Terri said...

Kav - yo are so right about it applying to all areas of life. It hit home with me in numerous areas. I'm mulling quite a few life decisions and this spoke to me.

Now my major hurdle will be making my decision and sticking with it. Not debating whether it was truly the right decision. Does anyone else have trouble with that?

Linda Finn said...

Well as you know Lynn, I have been trying to win your book to read ad review. So here I am trying again. Life is too short to hold onto bitterness and one needs to walk in love always.
Blessings
Linda Finn
Faithful Acres Books
faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I like Heidi's phrasing. "The trap of comparison".

Man, that sin felled the angels, right? But so stinkin' easy to fall into, like Heidi said.

We've been talking around here about the lack of "satisfaction" people feel these days. No matter how much we have, it never seems like quite enough, there's always that unknown quotient....

We're so human. So frail. So needy.

I love that Lynn spelled this out so well for us. We can identify with it and maybe... work harder to do better????

I love this quote from Little House on the Prairie: "Enough is as good as a feast!"

Wise words!!!!! #lovemeaprairieman!!!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, KAYBEE ... I don't know -- scrambled eggs with sour cream and mozzarella, wheat toast, and of course coffee -- sounds pretty darn good to me, so thanks for bringing it, especially since I was late!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

KAYBEE (AKA KATHY BAILEY) SAID: "I would think the highest joy of doing this work would be when someone comes back to God, and tells us about it. That's a "reality royalty check."

OH, AMEN TO THAT, Kath -- that's the "high" that levels out all the "lows"!!

You also said: "Going to BOSTON today to do research for a possible American Revolution story, going to walk the Freedom Trail, what fun! My favorite city."

Oh, MAN, I am SOOOOO jealous, you little brat -- Boston is one of my favorite cities too. Mmmm ... wonder why???

Hugs,
Julie
Kathy Bailey

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Lynn, I've been blessed by your visit here. I loved learning about you and your writing journey and the godly wisdom you've acquired along the way. Thank you for your candor. Have read many of your novels, the latest being Though Waters Roar. Your stories are rich with historical details woven into a compelling story with memorable characters. I appreciate the spiritual thread in your novels and in your reminder today about setting my priorities on those things that have eternal value. Thank you and thanks to Seekers for inviting you.

Julie Lessman said...

MARY SAID: "Thanks for being on Seekerville. But c'mon, girl. Seriously, surely somewhere around the FIFTH Christy, you had to start feeling PRETTY GOOD! :)"

LOL ... I'll second that!! Heck, I'd kill for a nomination!!!

Hugs,
Julie

Jamie Adams said...

I loved your post, Lynn. It was very inspiring. Thanks for sharing with us.

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE SAID: "You sometimes read about blessings in disguise. Well I think the disappointments you felt were blessings. They drove you on to become better. And the better you are the more readers you can inspire with your writing."

GREAT POINT, VINCE!! Not to mention it literally bulldozes you closer to God!! :|

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Boy, MEL, you nailed it with "Wow, I never would have imagined that Lynn Austin EVER didn't feel like a successful writer!"

That's EXACTLY what I thought before Lynn shared her feelings with me at a Baker Publishing dinner where we set next to each other -- what a shock, given her 8 Christy's and bestseller status!! And, for me that night, a total blessing and encouragement, which is what Lynn is to me and everybody who meets her!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LINDA FINN!!! Always love seeing your name pop up, darlin'!!

And you said, "Life is too short to hold onto bitterness and one needs to walk in love always."

AMEN AND AMEN!!!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

RUTHY SAID: " love this quote from Little House on the Prairie: "Enough is as good as a feast!"


LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!! And sooooooo true!!

Hugs,
Julie

Jenny Blake said...

wow great post lynn, I am a reader and it is a great insight. I think it is the same in many walks of life we need to define goals and why we do things rather than think these things will define us or make us.
I have seen many books I have read over the years that have touched me in ways I needed. One example is a book I read after mums passing which had the main verse as I forget the exact reference but its in Deuteronomy and I paraphase as mum use to say. The Eternal God is my refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. The author didn't know I needed that book and that connection after mum's passing but it was a soothing balm at the time and I did let her know. Its not the only time this has happened either. Sometimes a book also helps with issues we are going through or we see a different side of things.
I hope its an encouragement to authors when they do hear how there book has helped, changed, encouraged a reader.

6885a09c-e2e2-11e0-899a-000f20980440 said...

Lynn, thank you so much for your blog today. Your words are a true blessing to me. My first two books are out, and so many people ask me how many I've sold. Their question always made me feel diminished, as though being far from the New York Times Bestseller list made my work unimportant. I agree with you, touching lives is why I write. That, and obedience to what I believe God is calling me to do. I'm so glad Julie posted this blog and that I took a break from editing to scan Facebook. Thanks for blessing my day!

Lynn Austin said...

Hey Everybody,
I'm back from the Author Fair at my local public library. I was the only Christian author there so it felt good to represent all of you out there who write from a Christian worldview.
I have really been blessed by all of your comments and the insights that you've added to my thoughts. I love how God uses all of us, individuals that we are, with our own unique message, to spread His love and truth. I'm so glad I answered His call to write and didn't give up.
Mary...Yes, Christy #5 did feel good and by then I think I figured out that I was a real writer.
I loved visiting with you all! I'll check in again later.

Anna R. Weaver said...

Wonderful post, Lynn. Thank you for the great reminders. :)

JoyAveryMelville said...

Lynn;
Thank you for refreshing in me the desire to WRITE WHAT GOD HAS CALLED ME TO WRITE and not WORRY about the glitz and glory.
Thank you, too, for reminding me there's more to writing than the sales.
Blessings on your future projects God has in store for you!

chris granville said...

Im not a writer but I just gave a part of your interview to a writer with kids
God bless you and Yours
Chris Granville

Carrie Turansky said...

Thanks for sharing these wonderful thoughts, Lynn. I have enjoyed so many of your books. Thanks for writing and bringing us such wonderful stories. I love your perspective on writing as a ministry.
Blessings!
Carrie

angela said...

would love love love to win. angelachesnut246@gmail.com

Susan Anne Mason said...

Thank you, Lynn for sharing such a wonderful lesson! Very true!

And I laughed about this: (And honestly, do I really want to see a larger-than-life-sized photograph of myself cruising through the city streets?) The answer is a resounding: NO WAY! I'm more of a background girl myself.

My goal is to touch readers with my stories. That will be the best success!

Cheers,
Sue

R Merr said...

Great interview. Question...when writing a book using Biblical characters that truly existed do you ever get nervous that your book won't align somehow with the Biblical story? I have every book that you gave written except this newest one. Love your writing and what I learn from your books! Ewe_r_merritt(at)yahoo(dot)com

Ann Shorey said...

Thank you Seekerville for featuring Lynn's post! Lynn, you're my favorite, read-every-book, Christian author. Loved your thoughts on the futility of comparing our success to that of others. The Lord has a different plan for each of us.
The books of Ezre and Nehemiah are such great fodder for a novel--I can't wait to read Return To Me. :)

Ann Shorey said...

Thank you Seekerville for featuring Lynn's post! Lynn, you're my favorite, read-every-book, Christian author. Loved your thoughts on the futility of comparing our success to that of others. The Lord has a different plan for each of us.
The books of Ezre and Nehemiah are such great fodder for a novel--I can't wait to read Return To Me. :)

Laurie said...

This is great! I have asked myself the same question--am I a "real" writer--so many times! Recently I published my first novel and it actually sells in e-book format. But I have written non-fiction for years that people have told me helped them know God better. This is the true measure of success as a writer, just as you have said.

Lynn Austin said...

Friends!
I guess the day is about over--I'm off to a dinner at my church--but I must say that I have loved being a guest blogger here today. I appreciated the thoughtfulness of your comments. You were all a great encouragement to me today. As I said in my blog, if just one person is touched by my books then I'm a success. You made me one today. Thank you so much!

Sonja said...

I am new to your blog. I really have enjoyed reading about your journey. I love things that inspire, so I am sure I will be back to read here again!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

What a wonderful, thoughtful post, Lynn. Appreciate you sharing your heart...I love the idea that writing is like being a missionary.

When I started writing novels (5 1/2 years ago), I defined success as getting a traditional publishing contract in the CBA. Three book submissions/3 agents later, and I can say that God has changed my views. I'm self-pubbing my Viking historical novel, and I can honestly say that I already feel satisfied as all get-out that early readers are finally READING what I write! So traditional publication wasn't the success I was looking for. Yes, I still have a book out on submission, but I feel like I don't have to strive to fit my writing in a box anymore. I can truly write my passion, and if no one can market it, I can market it myself. It's very freeing, and I'm thankful for those years of waiting and frustration...that's what it took for me to realize God had a different plan for my debut novel. All the best to you, and thank you for being so open. It's easy to always shoot for that next goal, as an author. But sometimes it's nice to just sit still and recognize all the blessings God has poured into our lives, even if they don't look like what we thought they would.

Natalie Monk said...

Lynn, thank you for sharing with us. Too often I measure myself by others, when I should focus on the blessings God has given me and His purposes for my writing life.

Thanks for encouraging us to let God's measurement of successful obedience be our standard!



May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

OUTSTANDING piece, Lynn.

Thank you so much for sharing this. When a little girl has her Mom bring her back to the festival to give you a hug, or several kids at the school you've visited also give you hugs, or a Mom writes a blog post then sends it, telling you how you've changed her son's life...

Yep. Makes a huge difference. The checks aren't so big, but May and I view what we do as a ministry also. Lately, it seems we are to be visiting rural schools. We'll see... That seems to be where the Lord is leading. We're trying to be flexible with an attending ear to His will. :)

Thanks again for the encouragement as you shared your journey. And congratulations on your Hall of Fame. Outstanding!!

Would adore to be entered into the drawing. May at maythek9spy dot com

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Lynn, for this posting. You've blessed me many times through your writing and witness for the Lord and His love--certainly here as well. Jealousy is a cruel taskmaster and has a way of creeping into each of our hearts at our most vulnerable times. I'd thought myself immune to this deceiver until the last year, and was heartbroken to find myself experiencing that green-eyed monster when the Lord had blessed me with so much--opportunity, affirmation, love, conviction . . . But it was a journey I needed to make and a demon that needed confronting--all reminding me that I do NOTHING in my strength and that EVERYTHING comes from Him and is for Him and His people. God bless you in your continued journey and ministry. You ARE a wonderful missionary and I look forward to reading your new book.

Lyndee H said...

Hi Lynn! What an amazing path you've traveled. Thanks for sharing your inspirational story. You've encouraged me.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

And Melissa Jagears, just wanted you to know I read your writing mission statement on your blog and love it. Great way to think things through!

Donna said...

Lynn, thank you for sharing your path and what you have learned along the way. I'm sure your books are a blessing to many people.

Mary Preston said...

Such a lovely post thank you. Success cannot always be measured I find, or at least not how I first imagined it.

Jackie McNutt said...

Lynn, I am a reader but your thoughts on success as a writer is a very humbling article. It is a lesson that can be applied to any areas of our lives. We so often look around us and think others are doing so much better instead of realizing that is not the path God has placed us on. We all need to use our gifts That we are given. Thank you for your honesty and insight.
mcnuttjem0(at)gmail(dot)com

Dana McNeely said...

As a pre-pubbed novelist, I nodded as you recounted wanting to hold that first book in your hands - see your name on the cover. I've heard similar stories from a few other authors, and it's very grounding to remember that God does see success in a different way. He also encourages us in just the ways we need. Thank you for being an encourager, and may you be blessed in an equal measure today. :)

wordglow said...

There always seems to be that whisper in our ears of "not good enough"...that comparing our work to others. God speaks so beautifully through your lyrical writing, Lynn - revealing His heart in and through yours too. Every time I peruse a new books aisle, yours is one name I always search for! :) `Pam, apples of gold, http://wordglow.wordpress.com

Library Lady said...

Dear Lynn,
I enjoyed very much reading your interview.
Bless you for sharing your heart.
Janet E.
von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

Salyna xD said...

Return to Me looks like a great book. I was at her FB chat party the other day talking with other about it. Thanks for the giveaway!

Joyce said...

Thanks for being so real for us! It was good to hear you share those struggles when so many of us only see your success now. You inspire me to keep going forward with the Lord's help and His guidance.

Wanda Barefoot said...

8 Christy awards?? exactly when do you stop being a good writer a move into GREAT? After the second? Forth? That is an awesome credit to your writing ability! Congrats on your success!

Thank you for the giveaway also! :)

And just so you know, Miss Julie Lessman, you have officially made me hungry! :-P

Blessings,
Wanda Barefoot
flghtlss1(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Lynn Austin said...

Hi Everyone,
Just checking in again after a busy weekend to thank you all for your comments and words of encouragement. There were so many wonderful people who encouraged me on this journey and I'm always grateful when I get a chance to encourage my fellow writers in return. Thanks again to Seekerville for giving me this opportunity. Blessings as you follow Christ!

Mz.ZeyZey said...

Thank you so much for this! I see so many people who are very successful in getting works published and selling thousands of copies overnight, and it can be difficult not to measure yourself by those standards. The truth is, it's so much easier to focus on what they are doing than what God has called me to do sometimes. Thanks for the encouragement and wisdom. :D

traveler said...

This is a fascinating and wonderful interview. Learning about Lynn's writing career and travels are great. Yes the Canadian winters are long and hard so reading was my sole form of entertainment. Best wishes and much happiness and success. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Lynda E. said...

Thanks for some much needed perspective and a lot to consider. You've hit right where I needed to read today!

Jan Hall said...

Success really is a state of mind. I can remember many years ago when I thought that if I could pay all my bills when they were due that I would be rich. Now no matter how much I have or don't have. I am rich. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of this.

Terrie Coleman said...

Thanks for sharing your journey, Lynn. It is a great encouragement and inspiration to keep our perspective adjusted to God's heart and His Kingdom Kingdom. I am going to keep a copy of this to read later. As a Christian writer myself, I hope to need it later. You are one of my favorites. God bless the work of your hands, and of your heart.

Unknown said...

That is an incredible story! Thank you for sharing! Success can be tricky because we want to be successful in other people's eyes but we need to remember that real, lasting success comes from God and how we influence others for Him. In the last 2 and a half years, I have lost over 120 pounds and am still losing weight using Weight Watchers. While this is an accomplishment for me, I feel that the people that I have talked to about my weight loss and faith journey and that I have shared a music mix that I put together have shown me that God is using me in this situation to glorify Him. I cannot wait to read the Bible Chronicles series!

Cari Povenz said...

Great article, Lynn. Thank you for being open and honest and illustrating how it all comes down to obedience to God's call. Beautifully written. Thanks again, Cari

Michele Wuerch said...

Lynn, I just finished devouring the Chronicles of the Kings. Loved them! I was sad when I finished. I especially enjoyed learning about the history of the biblical Kings , and now can really appreciate the biblical text with a more rich understanding of the life and times. I'm so thankful that you are writing. Keep up the great work and also thanks for sharing the blog story about your steps to success. I totally relate in my own journey of faith. I look forward to reading all of your books , and will share you with my friends. Who doesn't need to be encouraged in their Christian walk, through a Good read. Blessings Michele