Lessons of Growth from R.L. Stine


For many of us, we can have a rushed mindset. Not a season of life where there’s a lot to do.

I’m talking about we can be rushed by default, times when our standard operating procedure can be hectic and chaotic.

This is not good, it’s not healthy, and I see this the longer I have my smartphone.

I wage war constantly against red notification badges and email alerts. As a result, I see how vigilant I must be in order to keep focused, and I don’t believe I am the only one.

We are in a battle for our attention and our focus. It’s challenging to slow down, focus on something, and determine what is truly important.

Even though it may be more difficult now for us to really focus, I still believe wise career decisions are possible. We can determine what is truly important for us. We can choose to take on a slower pace of life, even though others may not. We have a choice in how we respond, and we can respond differently.

But sometimes, we need a reminder of what’s possible through the experience of someone else.

Today, let’s learn from author R.L. Stine and see how two choices he made grew his career as a writer.



Now, if you aren’t familiar with R.L. Stine’s work, he is most famous for his Goosebumps

series of horror novels targeted to children. I was curious about how he got to be so successful, and I found that out when I watched him share his story on YouTube.



TIP FOR AWESOME READERS: Want to watch how R.L. Stine got his break into writing? See the video at the end of this post!




Before he found success in writing children’s horror books, Stine wrote a lot as a child. As he grew up and finished college, Stine worked at an agency in New York City writing made-up interviews of celebrities. Soon after, he landed another role at a humor magazine. After that, he had a meeting with a publisher, and it changed everything.

The publisher asked Stine to try his hand at writing something scary, and he came back with a novel called, “Blind Date,” which went on to be his first encounter with writing success.

From R.L. Stine’s career journey, I believe there are two lessons we can learn to grow in our work. Here they are.



Lesson #1 — It’s Okay to Be “In-Process”

The biggest lesson I see for us from R.L. Stine’s journey is that our best work often comes from a long-term process, not a one-time, planet-aligning opportunity.

Remember—Stine didn’t start out writing scary stories. No, that only happened long after he was writing as a child, and then at his work opportunities in New York. He stayed committed to his craft, kept working, and then an opportunity came.

We’re wise to learn it’s okay to be in process, because each step along the way is developing us more and more.


Lesson #2 — Work to Meet A Need

The final lesson I believe we can learn from R.L. Stine’s writing success is we should work to meet a need, specifically the needs of others. This isn’t easy to do, because it asks a lot of us.

To learn this career lesson, we must choose to take on a new attitude, and no one can do this for us.

Working to serve the needs of other people is something we intentionally develop over time. We choose this again and again, day-in and day-out. As we do, rumblings of change happen, and our work changes for the better.

When we work to meet the needs of others, it draws people in. They want to know what we are about. That brings more opportunity for us to use our gifts and strengths to serve them. We seek to meet a need rather than serve our ego. It’s an ongoing cycle that leads to the truest form of success.



In our age of distraction, we can still make wise career decisions.

Here’s the truth for us today — in our work, we need to be okay being “in-process.” Remember what being in-process did for R.L. Stine. It gave him space to grow in his craft as a writer, it provided for his daily needs, and it eventually led him to profound success.

Be patient, work a process, and see the results come.

Second, work to meet the needs of others. You’ll become a better version of you, and your work will be better. All of that because you’ve changed your outlook and chosen to serve others with your gifts rather than serving yourself.

And now, the hope — doing work that matters will involve both of these lessons. If we’re in process of developing our craft and serving other people, in time, we will see positive results.

And, to think, all of that insight from the guy who gave us Goosebumps...



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Resources In This Post:

VIDEO: “My First Big Break - R.L. Stine”

**Thanks to the folks at Media Bistro for sharing this first on YouTube**