Monday, March 14, 2022

Seven Keys to Writing Success

by MaryAnn Diorio @DrMaryAnnDiorio

Over the many years of my writing career, I've observed seven keys that will, if applied, help you achieve writing success.
1. When negative thoughts about your writing ability assail you, cast them out of your mind. All of us continually talk to ourselves through our thoughts. Most of the time, we aren't aware of this internal conversation, yet it exerts a powerful influence on our writing.

When our internal conversation agrees with God's Word, we succeed. When it does not, we fail. The Bible instructs us to "cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).

When I was a fledgling writer, my internal conversation went something like this:

NEGATIVE VOICE: "Who do you think you are calling yourself a writer? Everything you've written so far has been rejected. Why don't you give up before you make a fool of yourself? After all, it takes special talent to be a writer, and, unfortunately, you don't have any."

ME: "Hmm, I guess you're right. If I really had talent, editors would be clamoring for my work. Rejection slips don't lie. I'm just not cut out to be a writer. I may as well quit and do something else."

That negative voice sounded very convincing, especially after I had just received another rejection slip. But when I realized I didn't have to listen to that negative voice, I began taking the offensive against it by applying key number two.

2. Replace all negative thoughts with positive ones. Nature abhors a vacuum. As we sweep negative thoughts out of our minds, we must replace them with positive ones or the negative thoughts will return with even greater force (Luke 11:26).

Although I was casting out negative thoughts, I was not replacing them with positive ones. As a result, the negative voices returned and grew so loud that I came close to giving up my dream of becoming a writer.

Then something happened.

I got angry.

When the negative voice challenged me, I pushed back (Matthew 11:12). "I am a writer! A successful writer!"

At first, I nearly choked on the words. But then I grew bolder. "Who do you think you are telling me I'm not a writer? You have no right to tell me who I am!"

An amazing thing happened when I stood up to that negative voice. It backed off. Eventually, it no longer spoke to me (James 4:7). This victory led me to key number three.

3. You will eventually believe what you repeatedly hear (Romans 10:17). The more I declared I was a successful writer, the more I believed it. My belief bore fruit in a dramatic increase in sales. Contrary to the popular notion that "seeing is believing," I discovered that "believing is seeing." This led me to the fourth key.

4. Your mind is the original computer. Like a computer, the mind will give back what is programmed into it (Luke 6:45). If your mind repeatedly hears lies, it will believe lies. If it repeatedly hears truth, it will believe truth.

I chose carefully what I said about my writing. I thought and spoke only thoughts and words of success, and I began to experience success. Hence, the revelation of key number five.

5. You create your writing future with your tongue (Proverbs 18:21). The tongue is the programmer of the mind. Our words set the course of our writing life. Positive words set our course for success. Negative words set our course for failure.

I developed a list of writing affirmations (Mark 11:23), such as, "Editors ask me to write for them." When I wrote this affirmation, editors were rejecting my submissions. Today, editors ask me to write for them.

Positive affirmations gave me a vision of success. This led to the discovery of key number six.

6. Visualize yourself as a successful writer (Genesis 30: 37-42). In addition to speaking success, we must visualize it. Forming a mental image of my writing success caused me to gravitate toward that image. Amazing circumstances began to occur that propelled me toward the actualization of my mental image. But I had to work hard to bring about those circumstances. As a result, I discovered key number seven.

7. Affirmation without action is dead (James 2:20). We can speak all the positive things we want about our writing, but if we don't back up what we say with action, then we'll accomplish nothing.

I threw myself into studying the writing craft, taking courses, and attending conferences. Above all, I wrote, wrote, wrote. Eventually, I sold, sold, sold.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned is that my writing success is entirely up to me. This is both the good news and the bad news.

But discovering these seven keys made achieving success a whole lot easier for me. I hope it will for you as well. 


NOTE: This article is an excerpt from Dr. MaryAnn's booklet, Self-Image and the Writer, Book Two in her Enrichment for Writers Series of Monographs. The series is available on Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, and other retail venues. 

Copyright 2022 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author of compelling fiction that deals with the deepest issues of human life. Her fiction has won several awards, including the 2020 Christian Indie Book Award for Historical Fiction, the Silver Medal for E-Book Fiction in the 2015 Illumination Book Awards Contest, and First Place for Inspirational Fiction in the 2011 Colorado RWA Launching a Star Contest.

MaryAnn holds the PhD in French with a concentration in Comparative Literature from the University of Kansas. She also holds the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. A former university Professor of Romance Languages and Fiction-Writing, MaryAnn is the founder and director of The MaryAnn Diorio School of Writing. She resides with her husband in New Jersey. They are the blessed parents of two amazing daughters, a very smart son-in-law, and six rambunctious grandchildren. In her spare time, MaryAnn loves to paint in oils and acrylics, play the piano and mandolin, and make up silly songs with her grandchildren. You can reach MaryAnn at MARYANNDIORIO.COM.


  1. Thanks for these reminders, Mary Ann! I especially like "Affirmation without action is dead." It takes both.

    Have a great day.

    1. You are most welcome, Kay! Thank YOU for commenting!

  2. Thank you so much for this. It is all exactly what I needed! I'll be chewing on it all, and speaking those positive affirmations daily. Such power in our tongue. Again, thank you.

  3. Thank you for pointing out the order of these thoughts. Very helpful to see the pattern! :)

  4. This is perfect. I am greatly encourage to "think write!"