Many of us dreamed of becoming successful writers when we were kids. But why so few actually achieve that goal?
The problem is that becoming a successful and recognized author is a work in progress, not an overnight success. You cannot achieve it if you don’t go through trial and error. And, mistakes on this path are a usual thing. But they also shape you as a writer.
On top of that, successful writers possess a set of certain personal qualities.
What are they?
1. A Good Author is Persistent
How many times have you given up on a story idea because it didn’t seem good enough? Probably a lot of times. This is normal for any writer, but especially if you’re just starting your journey. However, according to Stephen King, you shouldn’t give up on a seemingly bad idea just yet.
In one of his interviews, the author mentioned that he likes exploring all the potential stories that come to his mind. According to him, that’s what helps him create so many complex storylines in one narrative:
So, whatever idea for a book you have floating around in your head right now, don’t reject it right away. Instead, be persistent: write it down, create a mind map of potential scenarios that can come out of this idea. Then, create a draft of the main character and write a trial chapter of your book. At that point, you will have a better understanding of whether an idea is worth a try.
2. A Successful Author Is Open-Minded
It’s common for an author to get stuck in writer’s block – you feel like your mind is frozen, and no good book idea can get through a thick wall of ice. If you recognize yourself here, take advice from Margaret Atwood – become more open-minded and draw inspiration from what’s around you.
In her introductory video to the Masterclass course, Margaret Atwood says that when she was writing Handmaid’s Tale, nothing went in that book that hadn’t happened in real life:
Indeed, if you analyze the plot of the book, you will find references to the Iranian revolution and other political crises that happened around the world. Margaret Atwood mentions that, although she didn’t depict these events as they were, she drew inspiration from them and their impact on humanity.
What’s the lesson here? Don’t shield yourself from what’s going on around you. Instead, try to be open-minded and take more interest in the current political and social events. You can even start as small as analyze the behavior of people around you. It will help free your mind from writer’s block and get creative juices flowing. [VIDEO LINK]
3. A Successful Author Keeps Notes
You might have noticed that many authors live in a creative mess. While it may seem a bad thing, constantly taking notes on sheets of paper helps authors be more meticulous about the details they will add to their books.
For instance, J.K. Rowling, in her interview about writing Harry Potter, showed the box with all the pieces of paper, on which she developed the characters for the books:
Although she jokes about not knowing exactly where to find the right notes, J.K. Rowling shares that keeping them helped her build a complex world in her book that she wouldn’t be able to create otherwise. [VIDEO LINK]
4. A Successful Writer is Invested in Continuous Learning
Readers usually expect authors to be knowledgeable and have a profound understanding of what they are writing about. They turn to a book to immerse themselves in another world. But everything in this world should also feel familiar, relatable, and realistic.
So, if you’re writing about rural life during the French revolution, you need to know the usual model of living during those times, and study the French pronunciation of the region that you’re describing to enrich your dialogs with specific colloquialisms and dialects. All this effort is necessary to make your story real.
Jack Canfield, the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, says the same in his interview – you need to get good at the area you’ll be writing about:
According to Canfield, the profound knowledge of a subject helps an author build a rapport with their readers and establish trust. And this is the reality of being a successful writer – continuous learning is everything. [VIDEO LINK]
Becoming a recognized author is a bumpy road – there are so many obstacles you will meet ahead, and many of them will be orchestrated by you, like rejecting seemingly bad ideas or the unwillingness to learn from the world around you.
A good author always gives even a bad idea a try and doesn’t turn a blind eye to what’s going in the world. A good author is also meticulous and believes in continuous learning.
Do these recommendations guarantee success right away? No, of course not. But they are enough to keep you going in the right direction.
Ryan Pell is a passionate blogger and writer who likes sharing his thoughts and. Now he works as a content editor and internet researcher, you can check his website. He likes to travel and explore new countries.