Last week, I had the privilege of having a conversation with a New York Times bestselling author by the name of John Gilstrap. He shared his story with me and it was very inspiring. He gave me some encouragement and wisdom and I want to share it with you. I am grateful that he gave me permission to do so.

Before I do, check out John Gilstrap’s bio that I pulled from Amazon:

John Gilstrap is the New York Times bestselling author of Against All Enemies, End Game, Soft Targets, High Treason, Damage Control, Threat Warning, Hostage Zero, No Mercy, Nathan’s Run, At All Costs, Even Steven, Scott Free and Six Minutes to Freedom. In addition, John has written four screenplays for Hollywood, adapting the works of Nelson DeMille, Norman McLean and Thomas Harris. He will write and co-produce the film adaptation of his book, Six Minutes to Freedom.

John is very successful and he’s doing something that he enjoys. Any artist or writer would agree he’s living the dream.

John happened to read my blog post “This Blog Is For You If…” and he sent me a message in response to what he read. Here is that message:

…I also read your “You Should Read This Blog If . . .” entry. Spot on. I don’t know if this helps or hurts, but my first published novel was actually the fourth novel I’d written. I’d been married for 10 years, I was president of my own consulting firm, and we had a 7-year-old and my wife was so stressed out on time (she worked, too) that I never told her I was writing that 4th book until it was done. I had no reasonable expectation of it ever being published, but it was a story I NEEDED to tell. It ended up being purchased by publishers not just in the USA but in 23 countries around the world. The first step toward artistic “success” (whatever that means) is to not quit. Good on you.

Did you catch that?

 The first step toward artistic “success” (whatever that means) is to not quit.

That is one of the greatest sentences I’ve ever read for two reasons:

First, John acknowledges that artistic “success” isn’t really a thing. As an artist, I get to define what success is for me. For instance, my book hasn’t been published, but I still consider it a success. My goal was to write a book and I wrote it; success. If it’s never published, that still doesn’t change anything. I enjoy recording music and I do it almost everyday and I am able to make a living off of it; success. Do I have a song on the radio? Nope. But that doesn’t matter. Have my paintings been in a gallery? No. But I loved painting them and I love having them; success. We can set goals for ourselves and that’s great but “artist success” is still a whatever that means thing.

The second reason this is one of the greatest sentences I’ve ever read is because John gives the greatest piece of advice an artist or entrepreneur could ever hear: don’t quit. Just keep going! (Remember Colonel Sanders?) Have you written three books that haven’t been published? That doesn’t mean anything. Don’t let that stop you from writing your fourth! Have your recorded three albums that haven’t sold? Doesn’t matter! Keep writing, recording and performing. Have you started three businesses that failed? Don’t let that stop you from starting your fourth! I agree with John completely that the first step to “success” is to not quit. It really is that simple.

Keep going! Don’t be discouraged! Write. Record. Paint. Create. Do whatever it is that you enjoy doing and don’t stop…

One day you could end up being a NYT bestselling author.


I want to thank John for letting me share his story and our conversation. Go check out his website . Also, follow him on Twitter: @JohnGilstrap.

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