Friday, August 3, 2018

What lie do you believe in your professional life? (With Sara Ella!)

This is my (Jill's) last hosting post. Shannon will he here next week to officially kick off the month of August. Our last month of panels!

We have really enjoyed having Sara Ella with us this week. We hope you have too. You can learn more about Sara on her website at You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. She's quite the YouTube star, too, if you didn't know. She often does videos for writers. You should check out her channel and subscribe.

Thanks for doing panels with us, Sara. Here is our question of the day:

As authors, we’re always trying to figure out which lies our characters believe. In your professional life, have you been able to identify a lie you have believed? 

Sara: Wow. And I thought the last question was deep. I think I used to believe you have to make The New York Times bestseller list to be a successful author. I found a lot of validation in industry reviews and awards. The more praise my work received, the more I felt as if I had somehow "made it." But the truth is, I have found so much more value in personal letters and notes from my readers. They are the ones I write for, after all. I think if you base your success on superficial things, you'll never be satisfied. I know I wasn't. Now I have so much more joy and peace because I know the value of my work isn't based on what some magazine or newspaper says. It's when someone tells me my book made them cry or that it touched them in some way -- that's the real reward.

Stephanie: “You can get it all done if you just try a little harder.” The truth is that it doesn’t matter how well I organize my time, strive with all my strength, and batch my tasks, I am never going to be able to get done all the writing, marketing, and mothering that I want in a 24 hour period. I’m just not. It’s taken me a long time to learn how to take time for rest even when not everything is done (it never is) and to let myself off the hook sometimes.

Shan: So many, I’m sure. When you discover that a belief you’ve held is flawed, there’s always an element of surprise and it takes some time to adjust to the reality of the truth. Most recently I’ve been coming to grips with the reality that one publishing deal does not guarantee another one. For reasons often out of your control, you may feel like you’re starting over several times before you find your stride. That doesn’t negate one bit of your success but it does reset your expectations.

Jill: I shared my big lie during the question we had about defining success and failure. The lie that "I don't matter" unless I'm proving it somehow. A lifetime of believing that lie has turned me into an overachiever who is always striving. So over the past year (believe it or not), I've been working hard to not be a militant slave driver about the deadlines and goals I give myself. Because I have to take care of myself. I need rest. I need to be with my family. And I need to take time for me, whether that means going on a walk, reading a book for fun, or crafting. Because, like Stephanie said, no one can do it all. No one shouldWe're not meant to be slaves on this planet. We're meant to enjoy life. And life isn't about how much we can get done. It's about how we love ourselves and each other. That's what matters.

What about you, writers? Is there a lie you have believed?


  1. Again, I have to go with Sara Ella on this one. Success is what you make of it and if my story touches even one reader, that is success. I don't have a lot of reviews on my books, but I do have people coming back for more! That's why I write: for people.

    1. That's an awesome perspective. Wishing you the absolute best, friend.

    2. Thank you so much! :) Y'all are such an encouragement!

  2. Sara Ella, I'm so glad you were with us this week! Thanks for sharing your wisdom so generously.

    1. Thank you for having me! I had fun. :D

  3. Thank you so much for hanging with us, Sara! We've loved having you.

  4. Also, if you're looking for more replies to this post, friends, check the FB page. Today folks seem to be commenting over there.

  5. Totally identify with Jill.
    Great post.