If you want to become a successful writer there are numerous things you should do: learn the rules of proper grammar, learn how to tell stories, build your vocabulary, read voraciously, build an author platform, talk with other writers, and the list goes on and on. When it comes down to it, writing isn’t an easy profession.
Let’s assume you’ve already mastered the basics, though. Or at the very least are already writing short stories and working on the craft. This is great! Congratulate yourself for merging onto the writing highway; often that’s the hardest part. But once you’re on the writing highway, it’s easy to get nervous about the road ahead and get off at the nearest exit—only to get back on again later, then off once more. *Repeat process until self loathing sets in*
I’m sure you already realize this problem and if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been merging on and off the writing highway for some time. Well, I have some good news, and some bad news for you. And unfortunately, both types of news are in fact one in the same. You see, the answer to your problem—and the answer to the title of this article—is so damn simple that you already know what it is. But for shits and giggles, let me spell it out for you.
If you want to become a successful writer you must take writing S.E.R.I.O.U.S.L.Y. Yup, that’s the stupid easy truth to becoming a successful writer. Yes, you need skill, natural talent, and a little bit of luck to make it big. But to just make a living from writing—assuming you’re at least a proficient storyteller—you just have to take it seriously.
Before you click out of this article because you think it’s just clickbait bullshit, I said I would elaborate. When I say take writing seriously, I mean a few things. The main thing is to be consistent. I know it’s hard, I know it’s intimidating at first, but if you want to become a successful writer you should skip all the side bullshit, aka distractions (social media, writing groups, anything that’s not writing) and use that time to write. Yes, write. Write every damn day if you can.
It will be hard to make this a habit, but once you establish a good writing routine things will get easier. I promise. A lot of people say they are serious about their writing, but they spend more time doing other things that aren’t writing: they trick themselves into thinking that always talking to other writers in groups, promoting themselves on social media, and building their brand is writing. It’s not.
Sure, you need to do these things at some point. You can—and depending on the situation—should do these things while working on writing projects. But while you’re working on a project (novel, short story, essay, etc.), you should always spend more time writing than pursuing these other activities. That’s because these things are forms of distraction. We often distract ourselves purposely (albeit, usually subconsciously) to avoid writing. If you want to become a serious writer, you need to break this bad habit. Writing should always come first!
Well, there you have it. The moronically simplistic way to become a successful writer; be serious and work hard. I hope you don’t feel cheated by this message. If so, stop and think about your writing habits. Ask yourself if you’re truly taking your writing seriously.
Are you doing everything you can to make it in the business? Are you writing as much as possible? Is writing as important to you as breathing? If you answer no to any of these questions you need to reevaluate your writing goals. If writing is just a hobby or a stress reliever, than you’re fine. But if you want to become a professional and respected writer, you need to sit your ass down and write. There’s no other way to make it. Even hack writers are better than literary geniuses who never put any work out there. Because if you don’t write anything, you’re not a writer. Simple as that.
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