As a writer, I am always looking to find secrets to successful writers and authors. Personally I believe that there is a secret formula to success. The really successful writers and authors only give the outsiders a glimpse on what it really took to become successful.
Blogger, Arthur Gutch of the Infinity Blog for Authors and Writers does not believe that there is any such thing as an overnight success. He believes that it takes years to cultivate success as a writer and to become a well known author. It is all about consistency, day in and day out.
You really can’t argue with that statement, when you listen to interviews by successful writers. One of my favorite writers, Jared Eng, from JustJared.com shared in a NY Times article Nice-Guy Bloggers Needn’t Finish Last that when he started out writing his world famous blog Just Jared that he wrote 6 of 7 articles a day. Another one of my favorite successful bloggers, Julia Sweeten, the mastermind behind HookedonHouses.net shared wonderful tips about procrastination and the power of actions in her blog post Stop Generating New Ideas.
One of my all time favorite authors, Mary Higgins Clark touches on the importance of getting ideas out as they come to you in the article by the talented, Jay Dixit, brilliantly entitled, Mary Higgins Clark on Failure. Of course this title is a little “cheeky” since it is well known that Mary Higgins Clark is one of the most successful authors of all time in writing suspense thrillers with over 100 million books sold under her name. Belief in yourself and your craft and having optimism and not giving up and understanding that no matter how hard things seem, “this too shall pass”. Although one might think that everything comes easy for Mary Higgins Clark, she has shown how faith and resilience can be the backbone to a successful career. I absolutely admire and adore Ms. Clark, she is totally an inspiration for any writer or author.
This leads me back to the purpose behind this post on Habits of successful writers. Arthur Gutch cleverly lays a good foundation on the Infinity Publishing blog for anyone looking for tips on what some of the greats do to succeed in the post: Top 10 habits to become a successful author. I like them all, some of them more than others… but you have to agree they all make common sense after reading the list. Thank you Mr. Gutch for writing these habits down for us to read. It helps to see things if you are a visual person. I absolutely embrace them all and have taken the liberty to share a few of my thoughts on each of these habits…. Take a look at the top 10 habits of successful authors:
1. Write more often. This is a fundamental core principal if you are going to succeed. If you do not write, you can’t publish or become successful. If you think about the act and never actually sit down to write, you will not accomplish anything. Therefore, it is critical to actively engage in the practice and the art of writing on a consistent basis.
2. Exercise and Eat Healthy. Exercising and eating right is another key fundamental to good writing. Exercise helps stimulate the brain and get the creative juices going. Having a well balanced diet is also critical to the mind and body working properly so that you can come up with great ideas for your readers.
3. Schedule Fun and Playtime. The adage all work and no play holds true for writers. You have to have fun and relax. Remember the Jack Nicholson character in the movie, The Shining. A perfect example of a writer going over the edge. Get away from it all on a consistent basis and have fun and relax. If you schedule this on a consistent basis it will help keep the mind fresh and invigorated so that you can come up with great ideas for your writing.
4. Embrace Optimism and Avoid Pessimism. If you are optimistic you can accomplish more things. When you get stuck, smile and embrace harmony and understand that this is just a fleeting moment. You can get through it, if you believe. Stay clear of negative nellies or pessimistic thoughts that will try and dissuade you from your goals. Remember: What the mind believes, you can achieve is not just a saying, but actual truth, if you “Believe”.
5. Hold Yourself Accountable. Always be true to yourself and your goals. Write down your goals and benchmarks. Make sure that you are on track by looking at these goals on a consistent basis. Don’t just think about it, write it down and make a game plan for yourself.
6. Keep Track of Your Progress. It is important to track your progress by keeping a log of your goals and accomplishments. A nice wall chart if you have space, a notebook if you like to keep a journal or an online chart. You do not need anything fancy. What I find is that sometimes you can get caught up in the “stuff”, which can take you off task. The simple step of writing and charting your progress will help encourage and motivate you to your continued success.
7. Make an Outline. Every great story starts with an idea. One of the best ways of getting this idea to work is to make an outline of your ideas. This will help your creative juices get going. This outline will be your framework for your story idea. I know that it may sound simple, but “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is a very true statement.
8. Stay Current with news and events. When you read or hear the news, keep an open mind for ideas on a new plot twist for fiction or angle for your story. When you have new ideas come into your brain, it helps to stimulate you for writing.
9. Make a writing Space. This may sound like common sense, but it is essential that you have a space to write down your thoughts and ideas. Be it a corner in a room, on the beach or an actual office, you should have a place to write.
10. Schedule your writing time. Having a set time to write each day is another fundamental that will help you be successful. If you are a parent, maybe late at night after everyone goes to bed or early in the morning , before breakfast. If you schedule and set aside a specific time and time frame for your writing, keep the writing date and make it happen.
I can’t help thinking about another adage “If it is going to be it is up to Me”.
As the Nike Slogan says “Just Do It!”