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The Three Characteristics of a Successful Writer

I have to start by saying that the topic of this blog makes me want to laugh. I by no means think of myself as an expert. In fact, I probably should put that as a characteristic of a successful writer. The moment we think we know it all (in any field) is the moment we should get out. I also want to laugh because most lists I find online are not helpful…at least to me. Therefore, I have started to become leery of reading posts about the top suggestions.

However, I discussed what makes writers “real” this week. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to follow up with traits in the writers I know. These are not the only traits, just a few…and certainly not mandatory.

1. Write Every Day. I stated before that I used to buck this “rule.” I was afraid of the advice, thinking that would turn what I love into a chore. I embrace this advice now for two reasons. One, if I don’t make it a priority in my schedule, then life gets in the way. I have to work, I have to take my dog to puppy training classes, I have to…I have to. Then, after a year, my book remained unwritten. Two, the more I write the easier it comes. Writing definitely follows the “use it or lose it” philosophy.

2. Does Their Research. This one was not so blatant to me when I first began writing. I thought I could just come up with an idea and spit it down on paper. I didn’t understand why people would say writing was hard. Typically, writing isn’t what is hard. Making the writing believable and worth reading…that’s where things get tough. I read a blog this week where the writer was giving advice on how to write fight scenes. She said she could tell someone who had never been in a fight before because their character takes a fist to the face and doesn’t even recoil. As I become more serious, I am finding that writers have to do a lot of research…on everything. It’s not just for the historical fiction writers. The story needs to be believable down to the smallest detail…at least enough to fake it. There is such a thing as too much research, so get enough to make it believable and move on.

3. Has a Support Group. Writers tend to think the profession is solitary. And, I agree that unless you are a “team” writer, then ninety percent is done alone. But, I have also found that I would not be in this business anymore–in fact would have left a long time ago–if it weren’t for my support system. They tell me the rejection letters mean nothing; those people just missed their opportunity. They tell me that my writing is great. They tell me to keep pushing and bringing out my next novels. They propel me forward, encouraging me to continue when I am tired and feel like life would be easier without writing. This can be family, friends, or even a group of fellow writers. But I believe we need someone!

There it is. My list of traits of successful writers…and I didn’t even attempt to try to define what success is. 🙂