I have had the honor of meeting many wonderful people who have wanted to become authors. I wholeheartedly believe that everyone has a story to tell, but finding the time, the motivation, and the belief in yourself can be the biggest battles in becoming an author. For those who do follow their dreams, it still doesn’t mean success–or merited publication. If you dream of becoming a successful author, I have put together a simple list of things you must strive for in order to make it in this competitive, critical, and sometimes brutal world of writing.
10. Write every day.
9. Write the story that is in your heart, not the story you think you should tell.*
8. That being said, you must follow the rules for your genre (Which means you must know in which genre you write–And Yes, it is good to be labeled, but make sure you control what you are known for.)
7. Once you know the rules, feel free to break them.
6. Edit, Edit, Edit… Let the book sit for a few months. Come back and edit again. If you are ever bored when you are writing, your readers will be bored when reading. Stop. Tear the section from your book and start over. Once you do this, you will have the strength of knowing this is the best book you can write at this point in your writing adventure.
5. Never stop learning. The publishing landscape alters like brittle frost on a cold spring morning. One day something that was tried and true will fail and something you thought was crazy may be the industry standard.
4. Always be kind to other authors (and people in general). This is a tough one, I know. There are times when you will face down the reader/editor/agent/author who will feel it is necessary to tell you exactly why/how you smell like dirty socks. Force your body to smile. Thank them for their time in letting you know their thoughts. Then take what you can from their comments and forget the rest. Under this rule, I also want to add if you help another writer do so in with a spirit of support and not competition. Your words will come back to haunt you if you let selfish motivations control your mouth (or typing fingers).
3. Thank the people who work with you. It takes an army to be successful. You need to appreciate the time people take out of their lives to mention you, publish your books, promote you, and read your words. It only takes a second to make a good impression and graciously appreciate what others do for you. *Insert the Golden Rule Here*
2. Remember that you are an entertainer at the most basic of level. Make your reader feel. Make them want more. This doesn’t mean they have to love your characters, but they should feel the overwhelming need to keep reading. You achieve this by digging deeper. Delve into your emotions, search your soul, and learn how others may react differently then you. Even more simply, be empathetic to other personalities and use what you learn to strengthen your writing.
1. Write for yourself. Write the story that keeps you up at night. If you write for yourself, regardless of what may come, you will be a success, you have succeeded in meeting your goals. In being an author, just like in life, there will always be someone who will be doing better than you. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses or the Koontzes. You will never be happy if you try to compete. You must find happiness within yourself and your work. If you can do this, you were meant to be an author.