Friday, July 14, 2017

3 Ways to Kill Your Publishing Career

Edie here. Today I'm excited to welcome back Jennifer Slattery. In addition to being an amazing author, she's an excellent teacher in the publishing industry. Since her new book, Healing Love, is about to release, I convinced her to drop back by with more insight into the writer's life. 

3 Ways to Kill Your Publishing Career
by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery

Perhaps you’ve sensed God’s call to write, maybe you even jumped in with passion and determination, fully convinced He’d bring your every dream to pass. But that was ten, twenty, maybe even more years ago, and you’re beginning to wonder, “Will I ever get published? Will these thousands upon thousands of words clogging my computer files ever see the light of day?”

I believe when God calls us to do something, He’s got the how and the when mapped out. Though His idea of what our writing career will look like may be different than ours, I fully believe He’s able to perfect that which concerns us and that He always has our best in mind.

Only He can answer whether or not your surrender and perseverance will lead to a contract (or maybe the birth of a ministry, or a thriving freelance career). But I can share some ways to kill, or at least stagnate, your career.

1. Compare yourself and your writing to everyone else.

One’s voice is one of the most precious, most unique commodities a writer can possess, one I believe is divinely orchestrated. It can also be difficult to discover, or perhaps I should say, uncover. The only way we do so is through writing, and writing, then writing some more until our muse loses her inhibitions, discovers her identity, and becomes comfortable in her own verbiage. She’s a skittish, insecure little thing, one who’ll run at the first provocation. Comparing her with someone else will cause her to flee faster than an editor hovering over her.

2. Feed bitterness

Often, this one comes as a direct result of camping out in point number one. As we look about at what everyone else is doing, or perhaps what God is doing for and through everyone else, we can easily become frustrated and discontent. If we stay here, our negative emotions can turn into resentment, and soon, bitterness takes hold.

This is a huge muse killer, especially if you’re writing for and about Christ. And if, on the rare occasion, your muse is the hardy kind and manages to push through, chances are she’ll come out jaded.

You know that scowling, bitter friend that plops down in the center of every party, spewing her bitterness to anyone and everyone who’ll listen?

You know all those people that run as soon as they see that friend coming?

No one wants to be around someone who’s perpetually angry and offended, whether encountered in life or a book.

3. Feed your pride

Pride can show up in various ways, sometimes through self-elevation and boasting, but more often, through an aversion to constructive criticism. When we balk or bristle at difficult feedback, we show we’ve put our egos above our writing. We’re welcome to do that, but guess who wins, at least, in the short term?

Our egos. Longterm, both our writing and our egos lose. To thrive, we need to set our egos aside, put our goals ahead of our momentarily bruised feelings, take a step back from our writing, roll up our sleeves, and dig back in.

I don’t know where God plans to take you and your writing or when He’ll get you there. But I do believe He has a plan, one that’s blanketed in authenticity and humility, not comparison, bitterness, and pride.

Have you fallen into any of these career-killing traps? Would you add anything to this list? Share your thoughts (and encouragement!) with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from one another.     

Healing Love
A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn't on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of "missional tourists" full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at You can also connect to her through Twitter and Facebook


  1. Replies
    1. Hi, Marilyn, thanks for the encouraging comment!

  2. Great, powerful advice. Thank you, Jennifer.

    1. I'm so glad you found today's post helpful! Thanks for taking the time to offer an encouraging comment!

  3. Replies
    1. Ah! You are such a sweet friend, always so uplifting and encouraging! Thanks, Jen!

  4. I've fallen into trap #1 many times. Remembering that God's got a unique plan and path for me to travel (and that that's OK!) helps me to not compare myself with others.

    1. I love that, Ellen! I love that your rest and contentment comes from your knowledge of who God is and His heart toward you.

  5. Definitely going hand-in-hand with pride is being unteachable. Thinking you know it all or don't need to be corrected or taught is going to stunt your growth as a writer.