by Edie Melson
There are certain things that writers learn as they gain more experience in the industry. These lessons serve us well when the going gets tough. One of the reasons is that we learn them by attending the school of hard knocks.
But I’m a big believer in not always having to learn things the hard way. To that end, I’d like to share some things that successful writers know and believe.
The believe part of these truths is key. So often success or failure is just an attitude adjustment away.
1. Life, especially life in the publishing industry—isn’t always fair. We have chosen a profession that is subjective. That means we don’t have a concrete set of standards to adhere to or a formula to follow to achieve success. What one editor hates, another loves—and the same is true for our readers.
2. I’m not in control. Sure, you can control what you write—initially. But once you hand that writing over to someone, be it a critique partner or an editor, your control ends. Beyond that, most of the time things move slowly in this industry. Your timing preferences are just that, preferences. Reality is another matter entirely.
3. Suffering is good. Okay, maybe I should rephrase that. The depth that suffering adds to our writing is good. And we won’t get through life without suffering, so we might as well look at the good it brings with the pain.
4. My writing isn't perfect. Again, this is a subjective industry. What seems perfect to you, may open a floodgate of corrections from your editor. None of us is perfect. Even what is amazing right now, can be improved on with experience.
5. My writing doesn't stink. See #4 above. It’s hard not to think in generalities—and even harder not to feel in generalities. Everything I write has merit and everything I write can be improved upon.
6. Persistence trumps talent. The craft of writing can be learned. What can’t be imparted is that indelible something that makes us willing to continue moving forward.
7. I can do this—even when I’m sure I can’t. We all suffer from self-doubt. That’s an almost universal trait of writers, no matter where we are in our careers. The difference lies in those who let this fear stop them and who keep going no matter what.
8. What I have to say matters. This is a truth. It may not matter to the world at large, but your writing will—and very probably already has—made a positive difference in someone’s life.
9. Age doesn’t matter. Successful writers have learned that I’m not too old and I’m not too young to connect with my audience. This is, for the most part, an ageless profession.
10. I wouldn’t be satisfied doing anything else. We’ve all had those times when wish we’d chosen anything else but writing. Truthfully, if this is your gift and calling, you know you’d never be happy without writing.
These are some of the foundations that successful writers work from. I’d love to know what truths you’ve found on your writing journey. Be sure to leave your additions to the list in the comments section below.
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Are you on the path to publishing success? 10 Things Successful Writers Know AND Believe – via @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)