Friday, September 5, 2014

Life Lessons—12 Things You Need to Give Up to Become a Successful Writer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Successful writers sacrifice a lot to get where they are. Often we forget this and just see the end result. The dream of becoming an overnight success is just that, a dream. This post isn’t meant to discourage anyone. Rather, I want you to focus on the fact that, if you’re willing to put in the effort, you can find writing success. To that end, I’m sharing 12 things you need to give up to become a successful writer.


1. Let go of the idea that writing is easy. It’s not. It’s totally worth the effort, but it will push you and grow you in ways you never expected.

2. Give up the excuse, “I just don’t have time to write.” We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day. As a writer, it’s up to you to set the priorities to make that happen.

3. Let go of the writer friends who are holding you back. These are the people who always have an excuse for not writing, not learning, etc. Instead . . . find some mean writer friends. You want people who will do anything to help you succeed. This includes everything from calling you out when you’re letting the excuses keep you from writing to sitting with you and holding your phone to keep you from texting when you should be writing.

4. Give up the idea of easy money and quick success. This business takes time and effort. There really aren’t any shortcuts, so stop looking for one and start writing.

5. Let go of that imaginary world where writers don’t have to market their own books. That ship has sailed. We all have to do social media and marketing, so get busy learning that aspect of the publishing business. Again, see #1 Writing is Hard.

6. Give up the idea that writing is only a solitary endeavor. Sure the act of writing—putting words on paper or screen—only takes you and your computer. But getting published and becoming a writer takes a tribe. You need writer friends, mentors, editors, etc. So get out there and network.

7. Let go of the idea that everything you write is publishable as is. Most of what we write needs serious editing before it becomes publishable. Rarely (read ALMOST NEVER) is something ready for publication in first draft form. Beyond that, there are certain things you write that serve other purposes, no matter what your goal was.

8. Give up the ideal of perfectionism. If you’re trying to be perfect, you’re never going to get there. We should absolutely give our best to any project, but being perfect isn’t an option. So STOP IT!

9. Let go of the idea that there is a finite amount you need to learn to become a writer. No matter who you are or where you are, the learning never stops. Trust me, you never feel like you’ve arrived.

10. Give up talking about writing. Instead, trade it for sitting in front of your computer and actually putting words on paper.

11. Let go of the option to quit. 90% of success in this industry comes from not giving up. 

12. Give up the idea of talent. A lot of us have talent. A lot of you have more talent than me. I'm where I am because I didn't quit (see #11) not because I'm a more gifted writer than someone else.

This is my list. I’d love to know what you’d add to it. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES

23 comments:

  1. These are great, Edie! Something every aspiring writer needs to know.

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  2. wow Edie, what a great list to ponder. I plan to share this with my writers group. Thanks! You nailed it.

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    1. Jean, thank you! I'm glad you found it valuable and especially that you took time to comment, Blessings, E

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  3. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen!!! Love you girl! Keep preachin'. Bring it on! You are inspiring the writers of the future and helping them follow the call on their lives. In short, you're advancing the Kingdom.

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    1. Andy, thanks so much for stopping by and for all your encouragement! Blessings, E

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  4. Good stuff, Edie! Glad you're part of my "solitary" world. LOL

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  5. As a writer, you need to give up the thought that you'll never be rejected :)

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    1. Jennifer, excellent advice! I'm definitely adding this one to the list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

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  6. 13. Do not stay in a poets or writers group that has negative/jealous leadership! The leader of a group that I am a member of of always comes back with a negative or downplay of success by someone who is in the group. Also has the bad habit of taking over someone's idea as if it was her own activity or project! I have left this group as of last month! Judith: coopyju@hotmail.com

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    1. Judith, that's an excellent addition! Life is too short to put up with that kind of treatment. Thanks so much for sharing your heart! Blessings, E

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  7. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I'm so glad to know #7 isn't just of me. You mean other people have to edit the heck out of their work too?

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    1. Joanna, I think most of us struggle with #7! Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  8. These are all so true! Thank you, Edie! PS - Feel free to hold me accountable. I'm so ready.

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  9. An excellent list, Edie!

    I run into so many people who say they're going to write a book someday. When I meet them a few years down the road, they're still singing the same old song. To write a book, you have to sit down and...write.

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  10. Ouch! I need to put this list by my desk.

    My weakness is "I'll do it later." I'm a master at procrastination. I definitely need accountability partners.

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  11. I'm guilty of not scheduling the time- it's a new goal for me this fall. I read a great quote recently - if you don't take your writing seriously, no one else will. I'd add to your list that writers need to give up feeling guilty about writing!

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    1. I love this quote, Julia. It puts things in perspective. I need to put it by my desk.

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