Monday, May 2, 2016

WOI Guest Post: The Successful Writer

I don't believe in luck. I don't subscribe to the idea that successful people get to where they are because they happened to be "at the right place at the right time." They're successful because they stick their necks out and give more than what others wanting the same thing they do are willing to give. They find ways to achieve what they want, accomplish what they want to accomplish. When there aren't opportunities, they create the opportunities. When they fail for the thousandth time, they can't wait to try again.

Now apply all the above to writers. Talent is nothing if you don't have the guts to do what you need to do to accomplish your goals. If your goal is to be published, then you have to do what it takes to get published, and that involves a lot of hard work -- from honing your craft, reading, studying the markets, submitting your work, accepting the rejections and submitting again.

In my view, a persistent writer is better than a talented writer who does nothing. The persistent writer is the one who gets published. She's the one who eventually becomes "big" or well known in her chosen writing genre.

Successful writers like Stephen King, JK Rowling and Erich Segal didn't get to where they are through luck. I'm willing to bet they spent thousands of hours honing their craft. They aren't untouchables; they didn't breeze through the top with nary a rejection hiding somewhere in their drawers. They did the things aspiring and beginning writers should do if they want to realize their goals -- the successful writers picked up their pens, wrote, submitted their works, treated rejections as a part of the writing life, wrote again, submitted again, got rejections again, wrote some more, submitted some more, and so on.

Instead of idolizing successful writers, an aspiring or beginning writer is better off emulating them. I think it's dangerous for an aspiring writer to idolize a successful writer. Why? She's putting the successful writer on a god-like status, unconsciously lowering herself in the process. Emulation, on the other hand, is different; it's positive, constructive. By emulating the successful writer, the aspiring writer sets a goal for herself -- that is, to be the successful writer's equal, or to attain the level of the success the successful writer has achieved. In this regard, the aspiring writer gives herself a goal -- a purpose -- to want to become the best she can be as a writer.

Commitment, too, is a big part of the writing life, and writers become successful when they are committed to their craft. Commitment is regularly showing up to write; it's never missing a date with your notebook, typewriter or computer; it's sifting through feedback (or critiques) and making intelligent decisions regarding your work; it's developing the thick skin for rejections; it's keeping an open mind and reading not only what you like; and above all, it's keeping the passion for writing burning, and feeding it...even if it's only for as short as five minutes a day.

So...are you ready to become a successful writer?

Copyright (c) 2004 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

Shery created WriteSparks! - a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks! Lite for free -

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