Grit. Talent will only get you so far. Working hard and working with passion will take you to places and allow to you occupy spaces you would have never dreamed. I’m not one to wait around and hope everything good in this world is handed to me on a silver platter. I get my butt in the chair and write. I rework. I write some more. I’ve learned the dream of being a published author looks a whole lot like hard work.

Aspart of my series on the “5 Things You Need To Know To Write A Bestselling Book” I had the pleasure of interviewing bestselling author Tiffany Bluhm.

Tiffany Bluhm wants every woman to recognize, embrace, and pursue the big dreams and beauty born inside of them. The author, blogger, speaker, teacher, podcast host, wife, and mother shares her personal stories of self-value and self-doubt, international adoption, entrepreneurship, marriage, heartbreak, motherhood, and more with an ever-growing audience now numbering in the hundreds of thousands. In addition to reaching readers via her own blog, Tiffany shares her disarmingly perceptive, honest, and frequently funny writing on other popular outlets including, Deeply Rooted Magazine, and more. As co-host of the Why Tho podcast and an in-demand speaker, Tiffany also leads key conversations about modern faith, contemporary women, culture, and so much more. She has penned two books: the acclaimed Bible study Never Alone, released in February 2018, and the upcoming SHE DREAMS: LIVE THE LIFE YOU WERE CREATED FOR, set to hit bookstore virtual and brick-and-mortar shelves in February 2019. Tiffany lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and two young sons.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but I really decided to pour myself completely into writing, and to the pursuit of being published, when I had a six-week old colicky baby. Obviously the perfect time to really sink your teeth into something. I was living on little sleep, caring for two young children, and tapping away on my keyboard any chance I could. It was almost two years to that day that I hit “publish” on my blog that I signed a two-book contract.

What was (so far) the most exhilarating or fulfilling experience you’ve had as an author?

It’s incredibly fulfilling when I receive an e-mail from a reader in China or Australia who has been encouraged by my book. Places that I personally haven’t visited but my book has. One e-mail came from a husband who bought one of my books for his wife. They live nearly 8,000 miles away from me. She was going through some heavy stuff and she found encouragement from my story and lessons learned. Most likely, I won’t ever have the chance to sit face-to-face over coffee with this woman, but my book, from page 1 to 224, served as a voice of hope and inspiration to her. For that I am honored.

What was the craziest, weirdest, wildest experience you’ve had as a bestselling author?

While on a live radio interview, a woman called in and told me I should just get over the fact that I was adopted and haven’t met my biological parents. She was an adoptive mother herself and her twenty-something adopted daughter experienced similar feelings I had when I processed my losses and she couldn’t understand why it was a big deal. Hadn’t we been adopted to the developed world and given new parents? Surely that should fix everything. As an adoptive mother myself, I did my best to explain that anyone, no matter who they are, will grieve a primal wound like losing biological parents.

What is the greatest part about being a successful, bestselling author?

The greatest part of being a successful author is, hands down, getting to do what I love for a living. Of all the things I could be doing, writing sits at the top. My work will outlive me and get into the hands of far more people than I could ever meet.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a bestselling writer?

Grit. Talent will only get you so far. Working hard and working with passion will take you to places and allow to you occupy spaces you would have never dreamed. I’m not one to wait around and hope everything good in this world is handed to me on a silver platter. I get my butt in the chair and write. I rework. I write some more. I’ve learned the dream of being a published author looks a whole lot like hard work.

Which writer or leader has had the biggest impact on you as a writer? Why?

The late Brennan Manning. He was an incredible writer and truth-teller. He was honest, brave, and raw. He invited readers to live a life of passion, authenticity, and conviction. I am so grateful for his life well lived and books well written.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a bestselling author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is feeling like everything has already been said by others who are more qualified to say it. The truth is, there will always be writers, scholars, thinkers, and activists doing their thing. That in no way disqualifies me from a place at the proverbial table. My unique experiences bring something fresh to the world. The person I have to convince most is myself. No one else.

What challenge or failure did you learn the most from in your writing career? What lesson(s) did you learn?

I was rejected dozens upon dozens of times by agents before connecting with my current publisher. It is not a stretch to say that rejection is part of the process. Resiliency is key, especially as you share your intimate, personal accounts in your writing. Writing is feel so personal, so to have it rejected can feel like two to the chest. However, there are lessons to be learned that aren’t accessible by victory. Only rejection. After a rejection letter from an agent or publisher, I would take a hot minute to sulk before reworking my chapters or looking for other avenues to pursue.

What are the 5 things you would tell your younger self who was just starting out on their writing journey?

1. Be you. Your unique experiences give you insight and compassion to encourage people. Who else was abandoned at birth, dumped by the man of her dreams only after she moved to a foreign country to be with him, and then after really marrying a good man, adopts a child, therefore triggering her own buried trauma. I mean, c’mon. That’s interesting.

2. Start. Don’t wait until you think more people are reading. Get going. One day you’ll realize people were paying attention. They were allowing you to take up space in their life with your words. You don’t have to be the smartest, most clever woman in the room to encourage them. Just start.

3. Don’t be butt hurt when others don’t like what you have to say. Just wait, sister. There will be haters but they don’t get to determine if your writing matters or not.

4. Find your best writing hours and write. If it really is 10 A.M. Write at 10 AM. Keep your phone out of the room, light the candle, pour the coffee, and write. Write until you are happy with what you wrote. Beat it into submission. Don’t quit until it’s something good.

5. You were built for this. If this sparks joy, get after it. See your skill as a conduit to bless others. To encourage others. To challenge others.

What are you most excited to work on next? Most excited to read next?

I’m excited to work on my next writing project that will hopefully release later summer 2020. I’m most excited to read Becomingby Michelle Obama. I have it on my nightstand and am planning to dive in once I finish I few books I’m neck deep in now.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

There are several already raising the banner, but I would, and aim to, add my voice to the collective voice of men and women rallying around supporting those seeking resettlement in the U.S. I’ve heard it said that there is no such thing as other people’s children. They are our children. For those seeking safety, protection, new life, may we be a sister with arms of compassion and grace.

Thank you so much for these great insights!


  • Sara Connell

    Bestselling Author & Writing Coach

    Sara Connell is an author and writing coach with a private practice in Chicago. She has appeared in Oprah, Good Morning America, NPR, The View and Katie Couric. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Tri-Quarterly, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, IO Literary Journal, and Psychobabble. Her first book Bringing In Finn was nominated for ELLE magazine Book of the Year.