Whether you’re just starting out or have been earning a living in the writing industry for years, you have no doubt encountered challenges along your journey. Maybe you’ve been hit hard by writer’s block or have received 10, 20 or more rejections on a manuscript you believe in with all your heart. As in all professions, writers experience ups and downs. Some days (weeks, months, decades…) are better than others.
If you’re passionate about your craft, just try to keep your chin out and ride out the storms as they come your way. You’ll also want to keep in mind the helpful reminders that are shared in this post, which apply to all authors in all walks of life.
Failing and quitting are 2 separate issues
If you have never failed, then chances are, you will never succeed. The most successful authors are those who understand and have experienced rejection, time and time again. There once was a woman who described herself as “as poor as I could be without being homeless.” She was a single mother who wanted to be a writer. She submitted and resubmitted her manuscript, only to receive at least 12 rejections. The woman stuck it out and believed in herself. Someone finally agreed to publish her book.
She went from being dirt poor to selling more than 450 copies of her stories, which generated more than $1 billion in sales. The woman in question is none other than J.K. Rowling, author of The Harry Potter series. Rowling once said that she is glad to have failed because it proved that she could survive her worst fears. All authors can learn from Rowling’s example. You can fail. Just don’t quit.
Do not let the naysayers dictate your life
Wherever you go and whatever you do in life, you will always encounter some people who do not support you. If you tell people that you dream of becoming a best-selling author, you must be prepared for feedback, some of which might be quite negative. However, you will never accomplish your goals if you listen to the naysayers. There’s a difference between constructive criticism that helps you keep moving forward toward your goal and pessimism and negativity that is meant to hold you back, cause you to despair or compel you to give up your dream.
Keep your eyes on the goal and learn how to recognize a naysayer when you meet one. Believe in yourself. That’s all that matters. Don’t let anyone talk you out of your dream.
Only you can define success
Success means something different to everyone. You might meet a fellow budding author whose idea of success is to see his or her name in print on the cover of a book. Another writer might say that success will come when he or she has sold a certain number of books. Still another might associate success with being able to pay the bills from money made writing books.
Only you can define success for yourself. Be sure you do so, though, because knowing what success means to you will help you set goals. You need to know the “why” for what you are doing. You want to become an author. Why? What do you hope to achieve? At what point will you consider yourself a success?
You must be willing to learn
Every writer must ultimately craft stories that align with his or her unique style, passion and goals in life. To be a great writer, however, you must be willing to learn from others. Whether you try to find a personal mentor or simply immerse yourself in the writing of great authors, attend workshops, listen to podcasts, etc., it is important to understand the value that other authors and teachers bring to the table as you develop your skills.
What level of commitment are you willing to give?
Books are not going to write themselves. If you are serious about wanting to become a published author, you must be willing to give it your time and effort. If you were to measure your level of commitment from 1 to 5 right now, with 5 being all in and ready to do whatever it takes, where are you? If you are not where you hope to be, determine what you need to do or change in order to get there.
Use these five reminders to help you refine your skills, set goals and keep moving forward, even when obstacles arise. If you dream of becoming a best-selling author, keep working until you’ve made your dream a reality.