Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Reaching Success at Your Own Pace - Guest Post by Tabitha Caplinger

I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until I realized I had always wanted to be a writer. It happened in college. All dreams of paleontology, veterinary medicine and archeology faded when I, seemingly out of nowhere, chose to major in creative writing. Suddenly all those childhood years of making believe and getting lost in my imagination made perfect sense.

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I didn’t become a writer after college though. After I spent two semesters taking all creative writing classes (except that one physics and one fencing class, the latter of which has come in handy with the whole writing gig) I left it all behind to pursue youth ministry. (I feel equally called to student pastoring but how those two parts of my life all work together is a story for another time.) I didn’t start writing until ten years later. I wanted to write but just couldn’t. I thought it was because I didn’t have the time. I later found out it was because I was writing the wrong thing.

See, I had this notion that pastors had to write nonfiction. If I was going to write and get published it would be with a devotional for teen girls. (I self-published a collection of essays about women in student ministry but it was a hot mess because I didn’t know what I was doing.) I was in my thirties before God told me that He never told me that whole nonfiction thing. That He gave me a big imagination and He was going to use it. He has been true to His Word.

In the past eight years I have written and published three Christian Urban Fantasy novels. I’m working on two new projects this year that I hope to find publishing homes for. To some that might seem like I’ve arrived, I am an author…but not to me. I don’t feel like I’ve arrived at anything. I still feel like the rookie who doesn’t know what she is doing most of the time and who is never cool enough or popular enough, who’s books never get enough attention to make all the time put into them worth it.

That’s the thing with writing, and just about anything we pursue in life, it doesn’t always feel like we are succeeding at it. Sometimes it barely feels like we’re good at it. I mean, we think we know what God wants us to do. We know the gifts and talents He’s given us and we’re trying to use them to walk in our purpose on purpose. But it doesn’t seem to be happening. It’s happening for other people, why isn’t it happening for me?

Here’s two things I’ve learned thus far on my writing journey that perhaps will offer you some encouragement on yours…

“Don’t judge your chapter one by someone else’s chapter ten.” 
- Paul Scanlon

We look at people around us, other writers, and we see the level of success they’ve reached and we compare our own story to their’s. They seem to hit all the right lists, get noticed, have fans, win awards and we, well, we’re sitting in our pajamas drinking our fourth cup of coffee for the day and pretending to write while we are really just getting lost in the vortex that is Pinterest (maybe that’s just me). We start to think we’ll never get where they are. We begin to think we aren’t as talented as they are. We doubt ourselves. We doubt our gifts and purpose. We doubt God a little.

But maybe you are just on chapter one and the’re on chapter ten. Maybe your pace is just a little slower. That’s not a bad thing. We all run our own race, at our own pace. We can’t compare our lives or our success with someone else’s. Keep focused on your own path.

“Most of us do not allow God to develop us because we are waiting on man to discover us.” 
- Christine Caine

Often frustration comes because I’m not seeing success from man’s perspective. I’m not getting the sales numbers or mingling with the most popular bookstagrammers. I want someone, some person, to validate me. I don’t need that. Validation is nice, and good reviews or an email from a reader always make my day but I can’t live from one nice word to the next. They are too few and far between most days. I have to remember that while things may not seem like they are happening as quickly as I want or the way I want doesn’t mean that God abandoned me or that I’m doing the wrong thing. Sometimes the outward results I’m looking for aren’t happening because God is working some inward things that are much more important.

I don’t know where you are on your writing journey but I’m sure there are days where it’s not what you thought it would be. Don’t give up. Don’t compare yourself to others. Covet the times of inward growth because they will make the outward success all the sweeter and all the more lasting.

About Tabitha:

 Tabitha Morehouse Caplinger Tabitha Caplinger is a wife, mom, youth pastor and professed tv addict. It's seriously a problem but she doesn't plan on getting help anytime soon. Mostly because she loves the stories. She can't help but get lost in the worlds created and invested in the lives of the characters. She brings that same passion for the story to her own writing. The first two books in her YA trilogy, The Chronicle of the Three, are currently available with the third book releasing in 2018. Aside from writing and watching tv, Tabitha can be found singing off key and dancing in the kitchen or car with her two adorably sassy daughters and awesome husband who she thinks is kind of cute.

Question for you ... How do you deal with discouragement as a writer? Let us know in the comments!


Reaching Success at Your Own Pace - Guest Post by Tabitha Caplinger @TessaEmilyHall #amblogging #writerslife


  1. Thank you so much for posting this! It is exactly the encouragement I've needed lately. It's so hard not to measure success in comparison to other authors. As a writer, discouragement is usually a part of every story I write. God is always there, though, to pull me through it. :) Thanks for posting!

  2. I've been struggling with this so much lately. Thank you so much for posting this!

  3. I love reading your post. Very helpful to me. Thanks!


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