What kind of writer do you want to be? Famous, respected, wealthy – or all three? These ten tips for successful writers will help you become the writer of your own dreams, and reach your writing goals! They’re from published author and psychologist, Paulette Kouffman Sherman, Ph.D.
Before the tips, a quip:
“I set myself 600 words a day as a minimum output, regardless of the weather, my state of mind or if I’m sick or well,” said Arthur Hailey. “There must be 600 finished words – not almost right words. Before you ask, I’ll tell you that yes, I do write 600 at the top of my pad every day, and I keep track of the word count to insure I reach my quota daily – without fail.”
Combine Arthur Hailey’s advice with Dr Sherman’s writing tips, and you’ll be a happily published author before you know it! For advice on being a better writer, read Writing Well: The Essential Guide. And, here are ten tips for successful writers…
Become the Writer You Want to Be – 10 Tips for Successful Writers
1. Remember your role models. For the many writer “horror stories” (never getting published, not being able to earn a living as a full-time freelance writer, etc), there are many successes. Pick several successful writers who inspire you, and remember what they went through to get where they are. If they did it — you can too! Read 6 Tips for Building a Successful Writing Career for info from a writer who is actually earning a full-time living.
2. Visualize your own success. It is hard to remain positive when you get those rejection letters, but your state of mind is imperative. Take some time each day visualize yourself as a successful writer. See yourself on Oprah sharing the message of your book and changing lives. Picture your book on the shelf at Barnes and Noble.
3. Concentrate on your writing. Set aside time where you do not answer the phone, watch television or think about anything else. Just write! You may need a big chunk of quiet time to get on a roll and achieve ‘writers mind.’ Create that space and time for yourself, so the magic can happen. This tip for successful writers is oft-repeated because few people do it!
4. Prioritize your time. Sometimes this means giving up most of your television shows or taking half of Saturday just to write. If you really want to be a writer, you need to walk your talk and put writing at the top of your list of priorities. For info on writing goals, read 10 Tips for Achieving Your Writing Goals.
5. Persist – don’t give up. You will probably get many rejections from publishers and editors, but don’t let it stop you. You need to keep believing in yourself as a successful writer, and keep trying. Make a commitment to sending a certain number of pitches or query letters every week…and do it no matter what the results.
6. Learn about writing. Read writing blogs, take classes, go to writers’ conferences, and conduct informational interviews with agents, publishers and editors to discover what you need to do to be a successful writer. Empower yourself with expert knowledge. Read articles such as Effective Magazine Writing Tips From Published Freelancers for inspiration and information.
7. Develop a “dream team.” If you want to be a successful writer, surround yourself with people who believe in you and can help. Interact with great writing teachers, other writers, editors, agents or publishers. This tip for successful writers is about strength in numbers!
8. Create a writing platform. Develop an audience and a number of pursuits that support your expertise will strengthen your position. Your writer’s platform can include speaking, teaching, being an expert in the media, developing your credentials and expertise in your niche area, etc.
9. Learn from your writing mistakes. If you get feedback with your rejections, think it over and apply the suggestions. You just got free feedback from an expert teacher that you can use! Learning from your mistakes is one of the best tips for successful writers.
10. Keep your day job. Financial stability is a wonderful when you are pursuing your writing dreams. Find a way to pay your bills that is reliable and separate from your writing (at first). This way when you do write, you will be able to write what you love and direct your own course.
If you have any thoughts or questions on being a successful writer, please comment below…
Do you want write for a living? Join the Writers Work Community and get professional career training, writing tools, an online portfolio, and more. Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me!
Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is the author of Dating from the Inside Out: How to Use the Law of Attraction in Matters of the Heart, an award winner of the National ‘Best Books Award 2008’, in the category of Self-Help: Relationships. She is a psychologist and director of My Dating School in Manhattan.