April 29, 2020

The Successful Writer

Cindy K. Sproles  @CindyDevoted

I’m often asked, “How did you become successful as a writer?” To this day, that question still stumps me for a couple of reasons. Success is defined by several things and, a lot like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder.
First, I do not look at my writing career as a success or a failure rather, I count it a blessing. A gift. Something I have prayed to do since I was young, and God has seen fit to bless me. By all due rights, my career is an opportunity to do something I love. To be immersed in learning the craft so that I can make it the very best it can be and then offer the work back to the Father in heaven to do with as He pleases. This is what denotes success to me.
Early on my goal was to be published. I fretted, sweated, toiled and worried for the better part of eight years when I finally admitted to a dear friend, “I’m not sure I’ll ever be published.” After all, how could I, in good conscience, teach at writers’ conferences as an authority if I’d personally never had a book published? I was caught in a vicious cycle of self-pity and believe it or not – pride. When I played back that remark in my mind, I realized I was not writing to please God. I was writing with an ulterior motive and cloaking it in the desire to serve. It was a lie I was telling myself and one I had to seek after forgiveness.
My thought process changed. I concluded, thorough a lot of prayer and soul searching, that it’s not my job to become published. It’s my job to learn the craft, share my knowledge, and be sensitive to the words God places on my heart.

Perhaps the biggest revelation and difficult thing I learned during this time, was that it was important not to lose the dream to be a published writer. That sounds contradicting but truthfully, it’s not. We must always keep the dream and strive toward it, but it’s the heart behind the dream that must be kept in line.

I once heard Mary Kay Ashe, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, say in a speech, “Success comes when your priorities are in line. God first, nothing else above that. Family second and career third. When you keep those priorities, success will follow because you have allowed God His rightful spot.” It was a wow moment for me. If I spent my time writing to just be a published author, then I’m writing for the wrong reasons. When I flipped my priorities and made Him the first factor, then success followed.

Do I still get rejections? Certainly! Everyday. I recently asked my agent if he could share with me what it feels like to never receive a rejection for his work since he falls in that 1 million seller category. He responded, “I’ll let you know when I get there.” Do I worry over rejections? Not anymore. I continue to pound out words, craft sentences, and develop characters in situations I think might be beneficial to a great story. The rest is up to the Father and His perfect timing. My job is to write.

What signifies success as a writer? It’s simple. Hard work, an open heart and mind to suggestion, and the determination to just keep writing. Success is praying over every line at the beginning of the morning and then praising God for His inspiration at the end of the day. Being successful is making time to learn the craft to the best of my ability, then offering what I’ve learned to others without expecting anything in return. A successful writer learns the meaning of wait and perseverance, and they understand turning loose of a project to allow it to soar.

I love the words of the incredible Robert Benson and his thoughts on a successful writer. “A freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece, per word, or perhaps.”
We write because we are passionate about the words. Success comes by simply placing those words on the page.  

  Cindy Sproles is an author and speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and the cowriter of the popular He Said, She Said Devotions written with her cofounder, Eddie Jones. She is a novelist and best-selling author. Cindy’s devotions and articles are published in Christian newspapers across the eastern seaboard, including having been used to represent legislature for protection of the elderly. She is a speaker to women’s conferences addressing not only the heart of women, but also their biblical responsibilities to their families. As a teacher and speaker for Christian Writers Conferences, Cindy teaches writing skills and how to write placing God in the forefront.  She is a contributing author to and is the Executive Editor for and the Managing Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ imprints: SonRise Devotionals and Straight Street Books. She is a certified life coach and mentor, an eldercare specialist and a special needs advocate. Her book, New Sheets – Thirty Days to Refine You Into the Woman You Can Be is being used to help raise funds for Hope House, an abortion crisis center and her novel, Mercy’s Rain, is giving a voice to children who suffer sexual child abuse. Cindy is also the coauthor of He Said, She Said – A  Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of  Passion. She is the mother of four adult sons and  lives in the mountains of East Tennessee with her husband. Cindy can be contacted at or by emailing



  1. Cindy,

    Thank you for this piece and the great inspiration and encouragement in it. It's the journey and celebrating that instead of a particular destination. With gratitude,

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

    1. Thanks Terry. You were one of my first teachers at a conference. I learned from a master.

  2. Cindy, I loved this. I especially love the Robert Benson quote. And most of all, my friend, I love you!

    1. Awww, we've walked this r ou ad together for years. Love ya back. You crazy lady.

  3. Cindy, this was wonderful. What a beautiful way to remind us to check our motivations.So many times we get wrapped up in things we think are important, when all along, they are far from it.

  4. Thank you. When the priorities are right, God blesses.

  5. Cindy, you inspire me. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  6. Cindy, thank you for this wonderful reminder of how we should define our success. I especially appreciate you saying, "We must always keep the dream and strive toward it, but it’s the heart behind the dream that must be kept in line."