Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Develop the Right Tools to be a Successful Writer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

As writers, we’re warned early on to avoid the trap of comparison. Each of us has a different path to success—and a different path to publication. These varying ways of living life as a writer aren’t good and bad or even better and best—they’re just different.

Today I want to encourage you to do just the opposite.

While we shouldn’t judge our value as writers by looking at one another. There are some comparisons that can make a difference between fulfilling our dreams or losing heart and quitting when success is just around the corner. These are some key differences between successful and unsuccessful writers.

The Differences Between Successful & Unsuccessful Writers
1. Goals vs. Wishes
A successful writer sets goals.
An unsuccessful writer makes wishes.

2. Striving vs. Complacency
A successful writer finds others who are further along on the writing journey and strives to catch up.
An unsuccessful writer finds others who are further behind on the writing journey and relishes being ahead.

3. Taking Responsibility vs. Whining
A successful writer takes responsibility for making the dream happen.
An unsuccessful writer whines about all the reasons the dream will never happen.

4. Acting vs. Talking
A successful writer invests time, energy and money in learning how to write better.
An unsuccessful writer talks about writing better.

5. Belief vs. Unbelief
A successful writer believes in her dream.
An unsuccessful writer believes it will never happen to her.

6. Positive Companions vs. Negative Companions
A successful writer surrounds himself with others who are willing to pay the price for success.
An unsuccessful writer hangs out with others who make excuses for not attaining their dreams.

7. Talks About Ideas vs. Talks About People
A successful writer talks about ideas.
An unsuccessful writer talks about other writers.

8. Takes Responsibility vs. Places Blame
A successful writer takes responsibilities for failures.
An unsuccessful writer looks for others to blame for failure.

9. Rejoices in the Success of Others vs. Rejoices in the Failure of Others
A successful writer takes joy in the success of others.
An unsuccessful writer takes joy in the failure of others.

10. Embraces Change vs. Avoids Change
A successful writer looks for ways to embrace change.
An unsuccessful writer looks for ways to avoid change.

11. Afraid of Mistakes vs. Afraid of Trying
A successful writer isn’t afraid to try something difficult and make mistakes.
An unsuccessful writer believes that not making a mistake is better than ever trying at all.

And ultimately... 

12. Keeps Trying vs. Gives Up
A successful writer never gives up.
An unsuccessful writer quits when things get tough.

This is my list. What would you add? 

Don't forget to join the conversation!



  1. Excellent list, Edie. The differences in successful and unsuccessful are stark - and more obvious to others than you might think. One difference I've noticed over the past decade is that the more successful sought many writing and learning opportunities (contests, freelance, workshops, conferences, etc) along the way; whereas, the unsuccessful sought only one or none. Like a gourmet meal, it requires a little more effort, time, and money.
    Jay Wright; Anderson, SC

    1. Jay, thank you! I love your insight, glad you stopped by! Blessings, E

  2. Edie, what a great list. And yes, I've seen myself in both sides of successful and unsuccessful in my writing journey. Thanks for reminding me what the effective mindset should be. I needed these words today.

    1. Jeanne, I think we all see ourselves on both sides of this coin. Blessings, E

  3. Great post. Love it! This one is a keeper.
    I would add a successful writer is not afraid to put himself or herself out there for the world to judge.
    Great article, Edie. You are a great instructor.

    1. Ingmar, that's a great addition! Thanks for sharing, Blessings, E

  4. This is great encouragement. Thank you. 'makes me resolve to pick my bruised ego up and stop whining that the best selling fiction doesn't reflect Christian ideals--and do my best to do so.
    Elena Corey

  5. I would add Pray and realize you aren't writing on your own. :-)

  6. Excellent Post, Edie. I love your list of differences between successful and unsuccessful writers. Here's one of my additions to the list.
    A successful writer writes (and reads) every day.
    An unsuccessful writer would rather go shopping. Love you! :0

  7. I think this list does not apply only for writers but generally to every area in life! If we want to live lives that matter and use our potential and resourses we should start to apply these principles in all aspects of life...