September 8, 2014


By Lisa Harris

For many years I wrote, waiting—hoping—to find publishing success. When the day finally came when I signed a contract with my dream publisher, I was convinced it would change my life.  

And it did.

But not in the way I’d imagined. I was still a basically unknown writer, but all of a sudden there were many more expectations and a whole lot more stress on me to write a series where each book was better than the one before.

Not exactly what I’d imagined.

As a writer, you might be a lot like me. Spending too much time peaking at your Amazon ranking, wondering whythat author got a nominated for an award when you didn’t (and should have), and checking the bestsellers list to see if your name has happened to magically appear. Clearly, our egos have a tendency to become fragile when it comes to stories that are so close to our heart.

My idea of success, though, has changed over the past few years. For a long time, I was convinced that success as a writer would somehow solve all of my problems. But then I met authors who had ‘arrived’, and I realized that their lives were far from perfect. They still dealt with loss, sickness, and hardships with kids, and yes, even feelings of low self-esteem. How was that even possible?

It’s possible because success doesn’t make us immune to the difficulties life throws our way. Success can be a blessing, but it’s not something we can base our happiness on. Because success—as we all know—is fleeting.

We all have different definitions of what success would be to us. Maybe it’s simply to land that first contract. Maybe it’s to get in with our dream publisher. To be nominated for an award, or hit the best seller list. None of these dreams are bad. In fact, we all know that we won’t reach a goal if we don’t set it and go after it. But there are several things we have to remember along the journey.

1.     Often what we think we have to have is far less satisfying when we finally get it.  

2.     Don’t let yourself get caught up in things that will be over in a flash.

3.     Don’t let your confidence come from your Amazon rank, or anything else that is temporary.

4.     Don’t neglect your faith, family, and friends in order to find success.  Life is simply too short.

5.     Do set goals and reach for them.

6.     Do celebrate your successes, while keeping in mind that they aren’t what defines you.

7.     When reaching your goals (finding your success) seems impossible, make a list of what you already have that’s important to you.

The bottom line is to learn to dream big, but always be thankful for what you have rather than focusing only on what you wish you had.

Happy writing,
Lisa Harris is a two-time Christy Award finalist (Blood Ransom and Dangerous Passage) and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times for her novel Blood Covenant. She has sold over thirty novels and novella collections, including her latest release, book two in her Southern Crimes series, Fatal Exchange.She and her family have spent over ten years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women’s group, and runs a non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)When she’s not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari.  For more information about her books and life in Africa visit her website at or her blog at For more information about The ECHO Project, please visit www.theECHOproject.orgLove to Read? Free cozy mystery ebook when you sign up for Lisa's author newsletter!


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