Blogger: Mary Keeley
If you have followed our blog for long, you’ve read our posts on the usual must-do’s to progress in your goal of publication: learning craft and practicing it, beginning to grow your reader following as you write your first draft, joining a challenging critique group, and so on. But today I’m going to focus on the intangible traits of the writer on track to a successful writing career. The must-be’s.
It starts with a love for books and the influence they can have in people’s lives. Entertainment. Encouragement. How-To. Inspiration. Education. Reflection. This writer knows what he or she wants to accomplish. For Christians it also means God-honoring books.
Here are five traits of a writer who is on track for success:
Passion, not hobby. Passion is the engine that drives a writer to learn, practice, research, and grow in craft every day. Writing is a vocation, not a pastime. Passion makes its presence known to an agent in a 15-minute pitch meeting where the writer’s eyes light up talking about her book. Passion for a particular topic or people group or a passion for writing stories compels the writer to write, and it is communicated through perfectly chosen words on the pages of the writer’s work.
Teachable, flexible spirit. Combined with a passion for writing, this writer is eager to learn and to put what he has learned into practice. He is willing to start over on a revision if his critique group, potential agent and, finally, editor advises. Because his eye is on the long-term goal.
Enthusiastic, resilient. The writer on track for success may get discouraged by repeated rejections, but she doesn’t stay down long. Her passion and teachable spirit combine to make her eager to learn from those losses, and soon she bounces back with enthusiasm to become a better writer because her eye is on the goal. That’s resilience.
Proactive savvy. The writer has taken the initiative to understand the current industry and has read other books in his genre to become familiar with the competition in order to approach the topic from a different angle or use a fresh hook for the story. In other words, to make the book marketable. This is communicated in what the writer includes in his compelling book proposal. The writer on track for success also has spent time analyzing the qualities that comprise his unique brand as an author, and he has additional book ideas that fit his brand.
Team player. The writer shows willingness to cooperate, first with a potential agent. Agents aren’t likely to take on a writer who is resistant to suggestions or who thinks guidelines are meant to be ignored, because they know the writer will burn bridges quickly at a publishing house. It isn’t worth a publisher’s staff time to work with such an author.
Which traits do you recognize in yourself? Which traits do you need to develop further? Can you think of additional traits a writer needs for a trajectory to success?
Five traits of a writer on track for success. How many do you recognize in yourself? Click to Tweet.
The intangible traits of a writer on the path to success. Chick to Tweet.