THE GROWING WRITER | The Secret to Success (A Reality Check) by Leslie J. Sherrod

ljs_pictureSeems like everybody is offering a secret to success. There are conferences and workshops, podcasts and videos that promise to answer all of your questions, empower your purpose, and help you fulfill your potential. Gaining knowledge from experts can be helpful and, at times, life changing. However, if you are always looking for that one secret that will make all of your dreams come true, here’s a thought: there are no short cuts to success.

Most people who are at the top of their game and living out their dreams have an extensive history of hard work, multiple failed attempts and setbacks, not excuses. We see their public successes, but not their private sacrifices. For the most part, late nights, exhaustion, research, tears, rejection, and discipline are in the past, present, and future of those who dare succeed. Efforts to reach a certain level of success may take many years and extensive investments, including financial ones. Be not deceived: where we spend our time and money reveals the true focus of our hearts.

What does any of this have to do with writing? Everything. See, if you are aspiring to be a writer but are not actively engaged in the work that it entails, what exactly are you doing? First things first, you have to write. Whether it is a word, a sentence, a paragraph or a page, having a set schedule and measurable goals are imperative to getting it done. There may never be a convenient time to write. If convenience is what you’re waiting for, why bother? Is your writing dream important enough to you that you’re willing to be uncomfortable to get it done?

Also, do your research. That doesn’t mean just looking for someone else to tell you what to do. Seek answers for yourself and act on what you learn. Study the writing industry if you say you want to be a part of it. Perfect your craft. Take classes. Join a writing critique group.

Finally, late nights, rejection letters, and inconvenience may be on the road toward success, but so is hope. If you give up now, you’ll never know what could have happened. Before you throw in the towel, even if it’s been years of what appears to be failing efforts, remember that you could be in the last trimester, the fourth quarter, the second half right before the birthing of your dream, the buzzer-beating score, and the victory of your life.

If you’re going to dream big, follow it up with the big work that’s required to make that dream come true. Otherwise, it will always just be a dream.

About the Author

Leslie J. Sherrod, the recipient of the SORMAG Readers Choice Award for Christian Author of the Year (2012), has a Masters in Social Work and has worked as a therapist, just like her current protagonist, Sienna St. James. Her novels, Losing Hope, Secret Place, and Like Sheep Gone Astray have been featured in Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library Writer’s LIVE! Series, as well as local CBS and NBC affiliates, and on AOL’s Black Voices. She has received a starred review from Booklist and is a contributor to the bestselling A Cup of Comfort devotional series. A graduate of the University of Maryland, she also took courses in writing at The Johns Hopkins University. Leslie lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband and three children. Visit her online at

without_faith_coverAbout the Book

A diva and a gentleman have shown up for couples counseling, but now Sienna is the one in danger….

She’s a sleuth. She’s a scorned wife. She’s a sista on a mission. Sienna St. James is more than a sharp-witted social worker. She’s a problem solver who keeps getting pulled into life-and-death mysteries that only complicate her already complex life. With a head-strong teenage son and a missing, estranged husband – who could be anywhere on the globe – Sienna has to figure out what gets her focus first: the questions she has about her own love and loss or the dangerous quirks and dark confusion of her current clients… And then there are the current eligible men around her who are jockeying for position, waiting for her to make up her mind about it all.


There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Felisha Bradshaw at 9:01 pm

    Good Afternoon,
    I was wondering if you would like to cross promote and what are the requirements to be interviewed?

    • Written Voices Blog at 8:48 pm

      Hello Felisha,
      You can check out the “Submit Interview” link at the top of the page. We feature most family friendly, African American literature. Blessings!