"WRITE IT SO WELL, they can't refuse!" That was the suggestion made to me by a Christian Science practitioner, when I relaunched my career as a freelance journalist in the English Lake District some years ago. Her wisdom still stands me in good stead today, even though I'm now semiretired.

I understood the practitioner's point—that my success depended primarily on the quality of my writing and my output. Provided I got that right, success would follow. It related, in a way, to Jesus' advice, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). But it was expressed in a way that was particularly practical and meaningful to me as a journalist, and especially helpful to me at that time.

I soon realized that I shouldn't blame anybody else for my failure to get articles accepted or to hit the mark. I needed to look to my own performance and find ways of improving it until I met the requirements of the newspaper and editors I was supplying. I needed to fall in line with St. Paul's call to his listeners to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14).

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June 28, 2010

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