Saturday, October 8, 2016

Finding the Good in Failure

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

Isn’t it funny how pursuing success can end up teaching us a lot about failure?

I dreamed about being a writer for a long time. Postponed it for years while I focused on being a wife and a mom — and facing my failures there. And my successes. There were those, too.

And then one day I stopped dreaming about writing. I stopped saying, “I want to be a writer” and I started doing the things that I needed to do to make my writing dream come true.

I attended conferences. Met with editors. And agents. Pitched article ideas. Submitted articles. Dealt with rejections and acceptances and deadlines and hopes and disappointments.

And my dream came true, just as I hoped … and in ways I never imagined.

Greater success than I’d hoped for and yes, more disappointing failures than I imagined too.

I discovered that the failures were the making of me more than the successes. 

A dream coming true doesn’t mean life is perfect. Oh, it may feel like that for a few fleeting moments. And it’s so very important to hApPy DaNcE whenever the opportunity arises. And a dream come true helps you realize your own imperfections as you wrestle with the “less than” moments that inevitably appear while you’re living the dream.

A dream come true such as … oh, a book contract, for example … is an opportunity for you to discover who you are when your dream is everything you ever hoped it would be … and when it’s not. When the applause is deafening … and when not a single person claps for you. When your efforts pay off (royalty check, anyone?) and when there seems to be no return on your efforts, either in dollars or stars (readers’ reviews).

Yes, I consider myself a successful author — and by that I mean I’ve been contracted since 2011 and I’m teaching and mentoring other writers and I’m surrounded by a wonderfully supportive writing community. But the best thing about pursuing this dream? I don’t fear failure like I used to.

In Your Words: Which do you fear more: success or failure? Why? And what good has come out of failure in your life?

Finding the good in #failure - @BethVogt #writing #faith (Click to Tweet)

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” 

A nonfiction writer and editor who said she’d never write fiction, Beth is now a novelist with Howard Books. She enjoys writing inspirational contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Connect with Beth on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or check out her blog on quotes, In Others’ Words.


  1. Hi Beth. I have to say I fear success more than failure because I have a tendency to get caught up in the accolades and attention, sometimes forgetting it is God who elicits those honors. And that He is the one who deserves them. So when faced with success, I must constantly remind myself to always give credit where it is due--including God and those He put in my life to help me succeed. Great post. Thanks.

    1. It was a busy weekend -- including a full day of volleyball matches for my daughter, of course, which meant I was manning the camera. I appreciated your comment, Bruce. In an odd way, you could say you are afraid you will "fail" at success, right? But your comment reveals that your heart is set on God and glorifying Him in your life and in your writing.

  2. Hi Beth,
    There is something frightening about success. There is the "now what?" moment, the insecurity of having to produce something else..better.
    but, as Bruce Brady says, I have to give it to God. He gives the word, the inspiration and the timing. I am just the instrument. That gives me comfort.
    Thank you for sharing this post.

    1. Sharon: Yes, I think success can be frightening ... both achieving it and missing the mark -- wherever we set that mark to be. What I've learned in this journey along the writing road is that in God's economy, this is all about His conforming me more and more to His image -- and His desire to scrape off all the stuff that doesn't look like Him. Stuff like jealousy and envy and discouragement and doubt.

  3. Sooooo love this post! Sharing it. Yep--success and failure. Both can be so scary. I loved your last sentence--that you don't feel failure like you used to.

    1. Julie: No, I don't fear failure like I used to. I know God is in every part of this journey. He goes before me ... He truly has brought good out of everything.