How to be a Successful Writer:
- Write every day
- Write at least 2000 words a day
- It doesn’t matter how much you write, as long as you’re doing something
- Keep a notebook on hand to jot down ideas whenever the muse strikes
- Don’t wait for the muse—write anyway
- Read at least 200 books per year
- Learn all the rules of good writing
- You can break all the rules as long as you engage your reader
- Enter contests to get feedback on your work
- Don’t enter contests, they’re a waste of time and money
- Stick to your genre/brand
- Try a bunch of different genres until you figure out what works best for you
- Don’t put yourself in a box—defy the confines of genre
- Make sure you know where you fit so you can market yourself
- Read everything in your genre
- Read across multiple genres
- Listen to constructive criticism
- Ignore critics
- Go to writing conferences
- Don’t waste your money on writing conferences
- Hire a good editor
- Don’t waste your money on an editor—learn to self-edit
- Read more than you write
- Write more than you read
- Blog every day
- Don’t worry about blogging—no one reads blogs anymore anyway
- Become an expert on social media to market yourself
- Don’t worry about marketing yourself on social media—if you’re a good writer, the readers will come to you
All of these are pieces of writing advice and wisdom I’ve actually heard at one time or another, and I’m sure there are many more. All of them have truth to them, to an extent, and yet many of them contradict one another.
What’s a writer to do?
Even if you tried to follow some of the more prominent ones, like reading widely and writing a certain number of words every day while still maintaining a blog and a couple social media accounts and learning more rules about writing craft and so on, you would quickly run out of hours in your day to do things like eat and sleep and spend time with loved ones and keep a day job.
It just isn’t possible to do everything.
So, with that in mind, I have a few more pieces of advice:
- You can run around in circles trying to do everything and make yourself crazy. Just do the best you can.
- Find balance. You don’t have to do all of everything. Balance reading, writing, and learning with job, family, church, and so on.
- Don’t gauge your success by someone else’s. Your journey will look different.
- Keep moving forward. When you strike a balance and find what works for you at any particular period in your life, keep going. Take the next step in your journey, doing each bit to the best of your ability, and eventually you’ll get where you’re going, even if that place isn’t where you thought it would be when you started out.