For me, success doesn’t always mean fame and fortune, though it can mean that. By my definition, successful writers are those who write well enough to sell their articles, poems, and stories to magazines and book publishers. Most professional writers aren’t rich and famous, but they are successful in that they do get paid for their work.
The five marks I discuss below aren’t comprehensive. However, they are things all writers must possess if they expect to sell their manuscripts to editors.
Successful Writers Possess Talent
Of course, everyone’s born with certain gifts and talents. But it takes time for such talents to grow. After all, talented pianists don’t start out playing Chopin. They begin with the basics and learn to play simple compositions first. Then slowly, they work their way toward playing more complex pieces. Through many years of study and practice, their talent develops till they finally reach a professional level.
Even so, if we possess literary talent, don’t expect to write like William Faulkner or Joyce Carol Oates from day one. Through practice, though, we’ll discover our own literary voice and eventually reach the point where we can sell our work.
Successful Writers Possess a Stubborn Nature
Has anyone ever called you stubborn? I’ve been called that many a time. Oh, the stories I could tell about how it’s gotten me into trouble! Too many times to count.
However, I’ve also become convinced that it’s a required trait for all serious and successful writers. Why? Because if channeled in the right direction, it can be a positive thing. Even though we stubborn-types are hardheaded, the upside is we don’t quit easily.
When we’re passionate about our writing, our stubbornness drives us toward success. Temporary failure can’t stop us, naysayers can’t stop us, nothing can. So, when it comes to writing, embrace stubbornness and use it toward reaching our ultimate goal—publication.
Successful Writers Love Literature
Successful writers love literature and reading. When we read, we subconsciously absorb other authors’ styles which influence our own writing. We also learn new writing techniques, which ones work best and which ones don’t, as well as new information we can incorporate into our work. Reading can also prompt ideas for new literary projects. Writing and reading go together like shoes on feet.
Successful Writers Possess Humilty
No matter how talented they are or what they’ve achieved, successful writers possess humility. They’re always willing to learn from others and grow in their craft. We’ll never know everything about writing. There’s simply too much to learn.
Successful Writers Possess a Good Work Ethic
Successful writers, aware that good writing requires hard work, own a good work ethic. They approach their job with a professional attitude, work at it most every day and usually at the same hours, as though clocking in and out from a regular job. When we treat our writing like a job, which it is, we’ll find success.
I hope my thoughts have helped some of my readers. Till next week, friends, keep writing and never give up.