You want to be successful.
You’re hard-working and creative.
You want your work to matter.
And you want to be a successful writer.
How does anyone break into one of the most difficult industries in the world?
How does anyone gather the courage to enter one of the most difficult industries in the world?
I have good news and bad news.
The bad news?
Writing is competitive, with thousands of new books being published every day. And experts predict an exponential increase in self-published material. To gain traction as an unknown author, you’ll need to work hard—possibly harder than you’ve ever worked before.
The good news?
There’s never been a better time for writers. Opportunities abound. You don’t have to wait for a publisher to show interest in your work. You can self-publish and market your book thanks to the writer/entrepreneurs who’ve gone before you.
And you can get help—often for free.
Today, thanks to freelancing platforms connecting writers with clients, writers can earn while they learn, transitioning from wannabe creatives to working writers.
Thanks to Kindle, Kobo, and Smashwords, authors can reach a global audience without leaving their kitchen tables.
Thanks to writer communities, message boards, and blogs, authors can model the steps of successful writers. Ordinary people –just like you–took their careers into their own hands, forging their own unique paths to writing success.
Writing success isn’t a one-size-fits-all equation; however, successful writers share common traits, and these traits remain stable over time.
You need an edge, and there’s no faster route to success than modeling the success of others.
Read on to discover seven habits of smart, successful writers.
They Write Every Day
Most successful writers admit their daily routine includes writing. They often compare their daily writing habit to exercise.
You’ll never get washboard abs by working out when you feel like it; you must exercise consistently to gain results.
A major benefit of daily writing is the multiple opportunities to revisit ideas in progress. You can develop them further when you encounter them daily.
If you write sporadically, you’re unlikely to remember last week’s chapter twists or plot holes. You’ll waste most of your time trying to get into a rhythm.
They Commit to a Word-Count Goal and Stick to It
Like athletes, writers must have discipline. That discipline often comes in the form of setting a goal for a minimum amount of words per day. Prioritize this goal before you turn to other things; this way, you’ll remain on course.
And don’t bother with editing during this time.
You can return later with fresh eyes. As long as you have clear goals and stick to them, larger projects will seem less difficult, and your writing quality will improve.
They Read, a Lot!
A scientist would get nowhere if she said, “I’m not going to study what other people have done; I’m just going to go ahead with my own ideas.”
It’s the same with writing. In order to improve, you need to study other writers’ work.
Familiarize yourself with varied authors, genres and styles, so you can decide on appropriate characteristics to emulate.
This will not only make you a more interesting and well-read person, it will help you develop your own individual style.
They Never Leave the House Without a Notebook
Have you ever been on a plane, bus, or train with an important idea forming?
How many ideas have you lost without access to a computer?
Carrying a notebook solves the problem. Some of your favorite writers captured the essence of your favorite novels on envelopes, bills, and scraps of paper while engaged in other activities.
Invest in a few small notebooks. Make sure they’re small enough to fit into a coat pocket, glove compartment, or everyday bag.
They Never Stop Looking for Ways to Hone Their Craft
A sculptor can create magic with his hands, but without tools he’ll only struggle.
A writer working without a firm command of grammar, mechanics and style is like a sculptor relying solely on his bare hands. To take your writing to the next level, go beyond the basics.
Brush up on the finer points of grammar. Study successful authors for plot strategies, for the ways they give their characters life. We live in the information age. Resources abound. There’s no excuse to stop learning.
They Understand the Power of Revision
“Write drunk, edit sober.”
This quote is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway.
Whether he said it or not, this quote points to the importance of editing:
“A first draft may be serviceable, but revision can make it great. After drafting, walk away from the text.
Return with fresh eyes. Polish words. Strengthen characters. Tie up loose ends in the plot. Then do it again.”A first draft may be serviceable, but revision can make it great. After drafting, walk away from the text. Return with fresh eyes. Polish words. Strengthen characters. Tie up loose ends in the plot. Then do it again. Click To Tweet
Writers readily admit that they’re never truly done revising until they reach their deadlines.
They Understand and Appreciate the Role of Marketing
Unless you’re writing for yourself, in the private pages of a diary, it would be a shame not to share your stories with the world.
This is where marketing comes in. Find your audience, and let them know you exist.
When you’re starting out, decide what you can handle, and plan to outsource the rest.
If you’re operating on a thin budget, you’ll need to learn from the experts. Buy a book on copywriting. Study social media marketing. Take a course in book marketing. Don’t limit yourself by settling for your current skill level.
You can learn marketing. It’s not rocket science.If you’re operating on a thin budget, you’ll need to learn from the experts. Buy a book on copywriting. Study social media marketing. Take a course in book marketing. Click To Tweet
And don’t buy into the “struggle for your art” mantra. Artists need food, heat, shelter, and healthcare. Take yourself and your work seriously. Others won’t see your value until you do.
Now, to you…
What habit would you add to the list above? Why?
Share your comment below.
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