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How To Become A Successful Writer In 3 Simple Steps
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How to Become a Successful Writer in 3 Simple Steps
You probably were expecting something different; some magic pill you'd take and suddenly become a bestselling author. Don't worry, you aren't alone in that. If I'd seen this headline somewhere else, I probably would have clicked on it too.
It's the way we are wired. We've somehow come to expect that everything we want should come to us with the snap of our fingers... in 3 simple steps literally. And it isn't really our fault, you know. We're surrounded daily with 'insta-solutions' to age-long problems; simple steps to achieving anything from a model-like body to oneness with outer space.
So why shouldn't we believe that we can somehow become good writers just by following 3 simple steps? It's a logical conclusion, right? I mean if you can learn to walk on water in 4 steps and do other wonderful stuff in less than 7 steps, why not writing?
Well, I know that there is no 'secret' route to becoming a great writer. If you really want to become a writer and a good one at that, there's only one way to get there:
It's as simple as that.
There is a great writer living in you, trying desperately to get out. There is no reason you can't become a bestselling author. Sure, it might not happen today or tomorrow... but it could happen one day.
I've heard people say that writers are born. And I guess there are those who came to this world with the natural ability to write perfect stories. I don't know of any, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. With most authors though, they'd tell you they had to work very hard to hone their craft.
They wrote and kept on writing.
And if you think it's hard, you're right. Coming up with an idea for a story, developing that idea, and then writing it from the first sentence to the last; it is hard.
What all successful writers have in common
But you know what? Nothing worth having is easy. If there's one characteristic all successful authors have in common, I'd say it's SELF-DISCIPLINE. Without it, you can't go very far as a writer.
I began reading Rory Vaden's book, Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success and his message was so radically different from most self-help/motivational stuff that it gripped me right from the introduction. He talks about our inability to persevere at things. This quote particularly stood out to me:
"We don't want to make sacrifices and for many of us we have never had to."
This made me think of writing and writers. For most of us, we want to write that great story, but we're not willing to make the necessary sacrifices to do that. We're not ready to sit and just write; even if it's a not-so-great story. Because you need to write the not-so-great ones before you begin writing the 'great' stories.
Get Ready To Make Sacrifices
Now when I say sacrifice, I don't have a particular standard or list of what you should sacrifice. We each know what is standing in our way; why we haven't achieved that level of excellence we desire. What you have to sacrifice would be different from what I'll have to sacrifice. But I'll make a short list of some things that might be standing in your way.
Sacrificing Your Self-Image
You might need to sacrifice the way you see yourself. Lots of writers have issues with self-confidence. We feel like we're not good enough to write or that we'll never be able to write a story that can match up to our last story. Sometimes, many times, we cling on to this negative perspective of our abilities and hold on to it like a warm, comforting blanket in the middle of winter. It is our refuge, where we run to when we're looking for a reason why we can't write.
Well, you're going to have to let it go. You CAN write. You have what it takes.
Sacrificing Your Time
For me, this is the greatest challenge. I have so many demands on my time, and writing tends to take the back seat. This is one area I would need to sacrifice (and maybe you need to do that too?). It might mean sleeping later at night, or waking up earlier in the morning; whichever, it will mean dedicating more time to writing.
This is the bane of most writers; that need to make sure every word is perfect, every sentence is perfectly written. So we spend several weeks stuck on one page because we've re-written the same scene to death. C'mon, people! That's what revision is for. What's the use of editing when you're done if you never get done?
Sacrifice your need for perfection and just write. The only way you can get better at writing is to write and keep writing. The more you write, the better you'll be. It's not about how much time you put into self-editing (although that's also important), but it's how much time you devote to actual writing.
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