Success vs. Impact

As writers, we tend to judge our writing by the markers of success. We check the likes and comments on our blog posts. As authors, we check our reviews and the numbers of copies we sell. It is normal to look for success in our endeavors, but is that the only measure of their success or worth? What about their impact?

I have read hundreds of books in my lifetime, but the ones that made an impact on me are in a separate category. I love to be entertained by a good historical fiction book and an informative non-fiction book is always welcome but how many have made a significant impact on my life?


When I think about the books (other than the Bible) that have impacted me in my life, I think about those I read as a teenager. First and foremost was “On the Beach” by Nevil Shute. It gave me an abhorrence for the thought of all-out nuclear war. “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran was a lovely book of poetry and prose that spoke to my soul. And of course, “1984” and “Animal Farm” showed me about the abuses of totalitarianism. Then there were those that spoke to me as an adult. “Hinds feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard taught me about the difficulty of the Christian journey and the faithfulness of Christ. The Zion Covenant series by Brock and Bodie Thoene taught me about the personal costs of World War II. “The Crucifixion of Ministry” by Andrew Purves is teaching me again (as I read it the third time) about laying down “my agenda” and letting Christ work in and through me.

Impact in writing is not always about a book though. Articles in magazines have impacted me at just the right time when I needed help or information on a subject. And blogs, how many times have blog posts spoken to me and encouraged me? One blogger that always informs and educates me is Jack Parquette who writes the “Quo Vadis” blog. I have laughed at his wry sense of humor and been enlightened by his historical view on many of the issues we are dealing with today.

Remember, there is more to writing than the fleeting markers of success, there is the possibility of making a real impact on someone’s life.

Think about those writers, books or bloggers that have made a significant impact on your life. In the comment section below, please share some of them with us.

Image by Rony Michaud. Courtesy of Pixabay.

26 thoughts on “Success vs. Impact

  1. William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” in the 9th grade set me on the path of being a writer. Listening to a professor lecture on clumsy, overblown writing in Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” in college made me believe that I could become a writer. (I love my epiphany moments!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters” has always stuck with me. And quite a few books that I read to my children. Young fu of the Upper Yangtzee, The Bronze Bow, Bud, not Buddy, Hatchet and Woodsong are just a few.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Books that have made an impact for me – “Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon” by Marjorie Kellogg,
    “Ceremony of Innocence” by James Forman, “Babette’s Feast” by Karen Blixen and “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson. There are others but these have stayed with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just discovering this buried in my inbox. Thank you for your kind, but unmerited, words about my much neglected blog.

    We all have those books that changed us as they affected us with new ideas and undreampt of vistas at the right time in our lives. “Seven Story Mountain” comes to mind for me among many others at that age. Also found “The Prophet” and “On the Beach” affecting in the same way you did.

    I’ll have to find the Purves book and get it on my (too long) a list. Recently reread Lewis’s “Abolition of Man,” which almost eighty years old seems so prescient today.

    Given how much you’ve gotten from “The Crucifixtion of Ministry,” you may enjoy the updated version of “Abandonment to Divine Providence.” Here’s a link:

    May God richly bless your work and life, j

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You said it clearly, there are words that carry presence,Words are not words there is a book that changed my life by Wilson Katumba called Power of Vision and a book called rework
    Commanding your Morning by Cindy Trim

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  6. Great post Valerie. I loved Kahil Gibran, ‘Shardik’ by Richard Adams, Camus and 1984 as a youngster, then CS Lewis, Tolkein, Francine Rivers – who led me to love historical fiction. It’s good to reflect on these things. Another favourite in terms of impact is the letters to the early church Fathers that I acquired in my very early 20s.

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