Friday, August 30, 2019

When the Path Ahead Seems Daunting by Sally Bayless

Sally Bayless
It’s so easy to compare ourselves to other authors who seem to be more successful than we are in our writing careers. If you’re struggling with feeling like a failure, you’ll be much encouraged by today’s post. Welcome, Sally Bayless! ~ Dawn

When the Path Ahead Seems Daunting

The other day someone asked about my job.

I said I was an author.

“Are you successful?”

I wasn’t sure what to say.

I’m not the best-selling author of Christian romance in the world.

Or the U.S.

Or even my home state of Ohio.

The view, from where I stand on the path toward being what the world considers a successful author sometimes seems…daunting, to say the least.

If I measure myself against authors who write faster and better and market with more skill—I’m not a success. I’m a failure. If I measure myself against goals I’ve strived for and not attained—again, I’m a failure. And if dwell on those thoughts too long, I start thinking that perhaps I’d be happier in some other job where I was compared only to the people in one small office, not to every other writer in my genre in the whole world.

That’s when I usually eat some chocolate. Then I remember to look back—and up.

First, I look back and remember times like my early adventures with formatting.

I’m an independent author. In 2015 when I put out my first book, a Christmas novella, I decided to format the e-book myself. I could have paid a service to do this, but I knew, having worked in a publishing house back in the 1990s, that updates would be needed after publication. Self-sufficiency would be simpler.

If I remember correctly, it would have cost $50 to have that novella formatted into an e-book. Doing it myself took three weeks.

Three. Weeks.

Not three weeks of an hour here and there. Three weeks of solid, eight-hour days, doing nothing else.

I tried using Word. I tried using Scrivener. I tried coding the entire book in HTML. And I had every issue under the sun. Once, I thought I had it right, then I found that when I looked at the ebook in the Bookerly font on my Kindle, after every capital C or capital K, there was a tab space. Not what you want when you’re writing a book set at C  hristmastime and the hero’s name is K  yle.

I know people successfully and easily formatted ebooks using Word, Scrivener, and HTML back in 2015. I wasn’t one of them.

But I hung in there—and eventually someone suggested a program called Jutoh. Within a couple of hours, I created an ebook that functioned just the way it was supposed to.

Success! At long last.

Thank goodness everything hasn’t been such a challenge!

Still, sometimes it’s good to look back and see how much we’ve learned and how far we’ve come.

After I look back, I look up, toward heaven. I think about God and the bigger reason that I’m on this path. Sales, great reviews, all of that’s nice, but not the most important thing.

In the end, if my writing gives one person encouragement in their faith journey or helps one person see that they need God in their life, that’s what matters.

So now—before anyone puts you on the spot and asks if you’re a success—look back and find your moments of accomplishment. Look up and remember the victories that really matter. Hold those thoughts in your heart.

Then if someone asks if you’re a success—even if you just got a scathing review or your August sales numbers weren’t what you’d hoped or your publishing house didn’t like your latest proposal—think about those thoughts stored in your heart. And remember, too, that your mother probably told you never to talk about things like money and your own success.

The answer I wish I’d had at the tip of my tongue the other day?

“I have the best job I could imagine—I’m learning and creating and touching people’s lives. I love being an author.”

Sales, great reviews, all of that’s nice, but not the most important thing.
#seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @sally_bayless

I have the best job I could imagine—I’m learning and creating and touching people’s lives. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @sally_bayless

Love, Lies, and Homemade Pie
Love, Lies, and Homemade Pie

When a woman who’s keeping secrets falls for a journalist who’s digging for the truth, does the attraction between them stand a chance?

Cara Smith has a whole new life planned—a new name, a new look, and a new hometown in Abundance, Missouri. If she can just avoid questions from that intriguing guy at the newspaper, no one will ever find out about her past.

Will Hamlin, editor of the local paper, can’t help but wonder about the mayor’s new secretary. She’s clearly hiding something—something that could be the big story the newspaper desperately needs to stay afloat. But after Will’s initial inquiries fail to turn up anything, he grows less interested in Cara’s past and more interested in winning her heart with slices of pie and stolen kisses.

When a crime is uncovered at city hall just as Will unearths Cara’s dark secret, the repercussions shatter their romance. Has Cara really left her past behind? Can Will finally find a way to save the paper? And can they each place their trust in God and together find freedom in the truth and overcome the obstacles to their love?

Sally Bayless writes contemporary Christian romance that features compelling characters, small-town charm, and heartwarming endings. She lives in the beautiful hills of Appalachian Ohio, and when not working on her next book, she enjoys shopping for cute shoes, kayaking in a nearby state park, doing Bible studies, and watching BBC television with her husband. She has two grown children. For updates on her writing and a free insider’s guide to her books, sign up for her newsletter by visiting

Connect and learn more about Sally’s books by visiting these online sites:

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  1. Hi Dawn! Thanks so much for having me here today!

    1. My pleasure, Sally! What you shared is so important. It's easy to get wrapped up in trying to be "successful" and comparing ourselves with other authors and how/what they're doing. So much of this writing journey is learning more about the craft and ourselves - and the friends we make along the way - not to mention the potential we have to touch even one life!

  2. How wonderful to see you on Seriously Write today, Sally! Welcome! Your post made me smile, and I nodded right along with your words because they are so identifiable. Let me tell you, I've been trying to teach myself how to format my print books for an embarrassingly long time. Like you, I taught myself to format my own ebooks (I've never heard of Jutoh, and I was a Scrivener dropout when everyone else was raving about it; I even took a class at the ACFW conference and was more confused!). As you know, I was discouraged recently, but your kind words encouraged me more than you know. God has given us the call to write for His glory, and He's also equipped us with what we need to withstand the inevitable bumps in the road. Keep that answer on the tip of your tongue, my friend. Someone asked me what I do the other day and, after listening to my answer, made the comment, "You love what you do, don't you? Your eyes sparkle when you talk about your writing." Now to translate that "sparkle" into my books! :) It was a nice reminder of why I write. We're all in this journey together. Blessings, Sally, as you continue to write your terrific books!

    1. I gave up on Scrivener too, JoAnn! It felt confusing, even after I took a workshop. And I didn't see how it worked any better than the way I was already doing things! LOL! Nice to know I'm not the only one who bailed on it!

    2. Oh, JoAnn, thank you! I know we've never met in person, but I feel so blessed by your friendship online, and by your books!

  3. "I have the best job I could imagine—I’m learning and creating and touching people’s lives. I love being an author.” Love this post and answer! Thank you for sharing, Sally!

  4. Amen. Being an author is a wonderful job! Sharing thoughts with others and hopefully impacting people in a positive way is amazing. :-)

  5. Thanks for sharing your experience, the dauntless task of formatting and most importantly - the challenge to get our answer ready when asked if we're "successful", having laid it before God first and considered HIS view of success. Great encouragement here!

    1. Thanks, Mary! And thank you all for having me visit today!


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