Friday, August 26, 2022

Learn These 10 Secrets of Being a Successful Writer

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Ever wonder what makes some writers successful? 

Is there a secret sauce? A magic mouthwash or a particular brand of computer? A pen that writes so smoothly that words pour out of its tip unfettered and lovely?

I’ve probably attended twenty writers conferences in my ten years of professional writing. When I wasn’t learning, teaching, or networking, I watched and listened. From my observations I’ve compiled a list of ten secrets successful writers share—and, sorry all you Mac fans—they have nothing to do with owning a particular brand of computer.

10 Secrets of Successful Writers

1. They have at least one person who believes in their writing. 
This could be a spouse, a friend, a colleague, a pastor, or a critique partner. This person listens with empathy, speaks words of faith and truth, and sends the writer back to their computer over and over again (after they’ve fed them Reese’s Peanut Butter cups or a Chick Fil A milk shake).

2. They have a critique partner or a critique group.
Why is this important? Two reasons: writing is lonely business, and it’s hard to be objective about your own work. A critique partner offers unbiased insight, suggestions, and encouragement. They’ll snatch our writing out of the fire when we lose objectivity or, when necessary, stand beside us and help us feed it in.

3. They submit often.
Even if they’re submitting to their church newsletter or sending out a carefully written birthday card, successful writers release their work to the world. While it’s true that you’ll never get a rejection letter if you never submit, you’ll also won’t receive an acceptance letter. If you want God to use your words, you have to submit them—often.

4. They read and analyze their genre.
When they love something, they ask themselves why. They also ask what didn’t I like? Which technique kept me turning pages? What made me put the book down? Then they incorporate the effective techniques into their writing.

5. They continue to learn the craft.
Ever wonder why an award-winning author with twenty books to her credit would attend a writers conference? Because writers never arrive. They can always learn another technique, approach, or bit of information to make their writing better. 

6. They embrace who they are instead of lamenting who they’re not. 
In the early years of my writing life, I fancied myself a novelist. Unfortunately, God didn’t wire my brain that way. I can barely remember my children’s names, let alone keep an entire imaginary world straight. God has, however, gifted me with the ability to connect ordinary experiences with spiritual truth. It was a glorious day when I embraced God’s gifting as a devotional writer and stopped lamenting my inability to write fiction. 

7. They invest in proper tools and training. 
Successful mechanics have a box full of quality tools to help them do their work. Chefs use heat-forged butcher knives, not plastic butter knives to work their culinary magic. Writers, however, often limp along with a computer that crashes daily, an inadequate (but free) website, or outdated books on craft. Many refuse to attend conferences because of the cost. Early on in my writing journey, my husband, God bless him, said, “If you wanted to go back to school, I’d do everything I could to make it happen. We’ll consider conferences your continuing education.”

8. They train themselves to look for material.
My friend Vonda Skelton once said, “All of life is material.” Walk through the world with your eyes (and mind) open. When you hear a snippet of delicious dialogue, jot it down and save it for just the right spot in your novel. When you learn a fact about salamanders, turn it into an animal devotion. Have you witnessed an unexpected act of kindness? Tuck it away to share with others when the time is right.

9. They keep a secret chocolate stash.
In the writing life, there will be days that push you to your thesaurus-loving limit. The computer goes up in flames, taking the morning’s work with it. You receive your edits back and discover there’s more red than black on the pages. You face a hard deadline, and you can’t stop for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A well-stocked chocolate stash can carry you through.

10. They are kind, grateful, and generous.
This secret isn’t always true, but it should be. Successful writers treat others kindly. They express their gratitude to God and to others—often. They’re generous with their time, knowledge, and influence. They treat others as they would like others to treat them.

This list of ten isn’t a guarantee, nor does every successful writer exemplify every characteristic. But it can be a great starting point to help us learn from the rock star writers among us and move forward in our writing journey. 

Now it’s your turn. What characteristics or secrets have you noticed among successful writers? Please join the conversation in the comments below.


Lori Hatcher is an author, blogger, writing instructor, women’s ministry speaker, and career dental hygienist. She writes for Our Daily Bread, Guideposts, Revive Our Hearts, and Lori’s latest devotional, Refresh Your Prayers, Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise, released this spring with Our Daily Bread Publishing. Connect with her at or on Facebook, Twitter(@lorihatcher2) or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

Featured Image: Photo by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash


  1. Look in the mirror young lady. :-)

  2. Lori,

    Thank you for the wisdom and insights in this article. From my decades in publishing, there is no magic bullet for sucess just perserverance and continued learning and action.

    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

    1. You are absolutely right, Terry. Well said. ~Lori

  3. Love this list, Lori!

  4. Thank you for these excellent tips, Lori. I especially like number nine. :). On a more serious note, I would like to add one tip that has greatly helped me in my writing journey. It is Colossians 3: 23: "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men." Blessings on your writing! :)