Thursday, June 21, 2018

12 Things to Let Go of to Find Writing Success

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!



  1. Thanks Edie, great post to get my day started!

  2. I can't pick one. Each of them resonates and are perfect reminders for authors at any stage. Thanks, Edie!

  3. What a blessing! We all need encouragement like this Ms. Edie. The true mark of a friend is someone who'll tell you the truth. Not to hurt, but help you. THANK YOU for being our Friend ma'am. God's blessings...

  4. So much to learn, so much to let go.
    Great advice as usual, Edie.
    Thank you!

  5. So many of these apply to me it isn't even funny!

    It's so helpful when I see posts like this. It lets me know I'm not the only one facing these things and all I have to do is have the determination to push through.

    Thank you!

  6. Good encouragement. Thank you.

  7. Great reminder and motivator. #3 is hard for me. I think "No writer left behind!" But I'm learning to have boundaries. And I hope that I am never that person who holds someone else back!

  8. Strong medicine, Edie. Especially #6. A writer's journey is far more enriched if surrounded by supportive people in different places on THEIR journey. It's about learning and adapting and you'll learn from the zest of a newbie as well as from the successes (and setbacks) of your mentors, heroes, and peers. They are all valuable resources and help us learn. You can even progress when on hold if you're still learning. Great post.
    Jay Wright
    Anderson, SC

  9. Great post and very timely for me! Thank you!