Blogger: Mary Keeley
Produce marketable, well-crafted books that readers devour and remember long after they turn the last page. This is the goal of any committed writer. But the path to that goal is almost always bumpy and loaded with detours and potholes. You’ll need to replenish these five traits often in order to reach your goal, not only for your first publishing contract, but also throughout your career.
When you’re weary, overwhelmed, or discouraged, your best action could be to step away from your work for a short time. Do something to clear your head and recharge your resolve. Get outside and take in the big sky and creation. God is awesome. He surely can be trusted with regard to your career. Watch an inspiring movie or read a biography about a real person who didn’t let obstacles deter him or her from reaching a goal. The beauty of true stories is that a realistic goal is within any person’s grasp if they keep on doing the hard work and trust God’s timing.
“’Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
try, try, try again.”
E. Hickson, a British educational writer, popularized this proverb originated by Thomas H. Palmer, another educator. Both of them wanted to instill persistence in students. No matter how many times you’ve heard this before, repeated rejections can bruise your determination if you let them. This is the time when you need to remind yourself that Jack London received hundreds of rejections before Call of the Wild was published. Davis Bunn wrote seven books in nine years before The Presence was published. For writers, every rejection is a learning opportunity for improvement. Each exercise of persistence equals a steppingstone toward future success. Respond to setbacks this way and you’ll find it easier to persist.
You need to have a passion for what you are writing if it’s going to be at its best. Readers will know if that ingredient is missing from your work. Are you passionate about your current WIP? Is your author brand a perfect fit for your passion, or has your passion for stories or topics evolved since you first started writing?
A career as a writer is a life-long learning process. Authors can never sit back and think they’ve learned all there is to know. Never think you’ve arrived. There is no such thing in this business. Whether learning is a natural pleasure or not, you’ll benefit by embracing the reality and win the love-hate relationship with Always-something-new-to-learn. Find ways to look forward to the process of improving your craft or doing tedious research or staying up to date on publishing trends. Give yourself little rewards along the way. Surround yourself with a comfortable environment when you read that craft book or do online research. Whatever contributes to increasing your enjoyment of learning.
Jim Thorpe was once viewed as the greatest athlete of the half-century for his achievements in the 1912 Olympics, followed by professional football and basketball careers. But he didn’t do so well in his personal life. The writing and business sides of your career can become consuming, partly because writers love to write and feel called to this career and partly because they possess the first three of these traits. If you are feeling internal pressure or the pressure to compete with other writers for the next contract, it’s time to do a check of your priorities. Our goals can become idols, and Scripture has a lot to say about that. Check yourself periodically to make sure your life is in balance.
Which of the 5 traits are you struggling with right now? What do you do to check and recharge your focus? Your comments may be the encouragement another writer needs today.
Successful writers possess these five traits. Click to Tweet.
What do writers need in order to reach their publishing goals? These 5 traits. Click to Tweet.