I know a lot of authors, and like most writers, I study people. At conferences, at book signings, at the grocery store…you name it. And I’ve found a few similarities in behavior in authors that most of us agree are making it.
1. They work their asses off. Yeah, there might be some major talent there to start with…but every author I know who’s doing well is working hard. Really, really hard. No, they’re not digging ditches. But they’re upping the word count, they’re in the chair, they’re traveling to conferences, and they’re meeting deadlines. Self-imposed or contractual, they’re meeting those deadlines.
2. They’re accepting fear and shoving past it. I think everybody in the creative field battles fear. Fear of rejection, fear of appearing foolish, maybe even fear of success. Fear can paralyze you, or you can use it. Take it, mold it, and put it in the current book. You know what’s worse than fear? REGRET. Don’t have that.
3. They use the NOW. There’s no waiting until Monday, or next week, or when the kids are back in school. They write now. While the kids are napping, in the line at school, in the doctor’s waiting room, during lunch break at work…they’re writing now.
4. They’re kind and give back. I know I write romances and see the world as a happy place, but look around. The authors doing well are helping other authors with judging contests, giving workshops, even just giving encouraging words. There’s no competition here. If a reader likes a book, they’ll like another book, and the more readers, the better for all of us. Karma is out there, if you ask me.
5. They never quit. I recently read a blog by a writer that said a couple of her critique partners didn’t understand her book a few years ago, so she stopped writing in disappointment for a while. How is that even possible? The only person who can make an author stop writing is…that author. Period. If somebody isn’t following their dreams…it’s on their shoulders, and their shoulders only. Either quitting is an option, or it isn’t.
To quote Mary Janice Davidson, ““Never, EVER give up. Not ever. Not EVER. Ever EVER!”
And here’s the biggest thing I think successful authors do: They Write. The focus is on the next book, and everything else slides away for a while. If you’re an author, and you’re struggling, go back to the book. It’s all there.
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. – C. S. Lewis