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4 Tips for Succeeding as a Writer

24 November, 2007

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be on your way to reaching your writing goals.

1. Follow your passion
If you love writing, find ways to follow your passion and make it a bigger part of your life.

Look for ways to free up your time so that you can involve yourself in writing. What time-wasting activities you can jettison?

Identify the times in the day (or night) when your creative juices flow. Don’t fritter away these times on non-creative, non-writing tasks.

If it suits, delve deep into one subject and keep writing about it. When you’ve built up your information and expertise, parlay this into more writing opportunities. Material gathered for one project can sometimes be redeveloped for other outcomes.

A good example of a writer who has mined a specialist area is memoir-writing expert, Patti Miller. She has published two memoirs and written two best-selling how-to books on memoir-writing. Her technical expertise in this area has led her to write freelance articles about people and relationships. She offers memoir-writing workshops internationally.

2. Define your writing success

Creative writers, like painters, fall somewhere on a long spectrum, from amateur Sunday dabblers to world-famous professionals. Where do you want to be on it?

To answer this question, first ask yourself (and be honest): ‘Do I want to to see my work published–or not?’ You may prefer to write for yourself and the enjoyment it gives you. But if your goal is to be published, consider the kind of publishing that would best suit your writing. Possibilities include major publishers, specialist publishers, self-publishing, and online publishing.

3. Invest in yourself as an important resource
Whether you are striving for a writing career or write as a consuming pastime, you are your own writing resource, supplier, factory or product. To keep the writing going, find ways to frequently nurture your creativity, top up your energy, and expose yourself to new ideas and ways of thinking.

Increase your technical expertise by reading books on writing or enrolling in writing workshops. But don’t become a workshop junkie. Some people find it easier to talk and learn about writing than doing it.

Invest in good writing ‘props’: a comfortable desk, chair and light, and up-to-date equipment. Ensure you have privacy, such as a room or corner of your own.

Good things can come from keeping in touch with other writers. A peer writing group can be helpful. But check that the members are trustworthy and helpful. Don’t waste time on groups that are negative or unproductive.

Join a writing association to get helpful tips and information about competitions and other professional opportunities.

4. Take a serious approach
If you want your writing to be a serious part of your life, take a serious approach.

Plan what you intend to accomplish in your writing over the next twelve months. Depending on your goals, this may be a complex business plan or a simple list of personal aims. Revisit your plan frequently. Think of it as your roadmap that helps you stay on track.

If you’re planning to publish, learn ahead of time about crucial contract issues: copyright, distribution rights, and intellectual property rights.

Join a writers’ organization to get advice about your rights as a writer.

Don’t DIY–Pay for specialist services such as accounting/tax advice and legal advice. Expect to pay for professional mentoring and editing work.

This item is based very loosely on Ann Douglas’s online article, Be a Happy and Successful Author: A 9-Step Plan: http://www.squidoo.com/happyandsuccessfulauthor/

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 18 November, 2010 6:59 am

    Hi Doris, You have a better chance of finding a mentor if you put your request on websites that sponsor writing groups. These mega-sites can put you in touch with people who write in the same genre/field as you. Professional mentors, of course, do not work for free. Be cautious about entering into a ‘free’ mentorship: find out more about the person’s experience, and then send a sample of your work for comment.

    Like

  2. 17 November, 2010 3:01 am

    im writting to possibly find someone in the johnson city tenn. area who just want to mentor some one who is writting their first book for free PLEASE! you can email me or call me at 1 423 202 3793 and my name is doris,

    Like

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