There are some essential skills of successful writers to master which I would like to share. Many people have romantic notions of spending their days doing nothing more than writing in their kimono and sipping tea and eventually publishing that masterpiece which will propel them to literary super stardom. But breaking into the commercial writer’s circle is tough. These skills of successful writers however, will help bring you one step closer to achieving your writing goals and dreams.
1. Riveting Reading
As well as writing, I love nothing more than devouring a book all in one sitting like the hungry book-beast that I am. It’s not time wasted though. Reading can make you a better writer and you can learn all about key aspects of plot and character, not to mention improve vocabulary, spelling, grammar and punctuation. Also, if you’re interested in writing in a particular genre, it’s important to see how they’re written and reading books that genre can often be a source of inspiration. This is one of the skills of successful writers to master.
2. An Eye for Ideas
The ability to generate ideas is also important as a writer. Pitching your ideas to magazines and newspapers requires the ability to come up with a steady stream of ideas. Also, if you’re a would-be novelist, having ideas is key. If you’re an aspiring non-fiction writer, companies sometimes list titles on their websites for which authors are required.
3. Creativity and Conciseness
So, you’ve got lots of ideas, which is great but you’ll also need to be inventive and original when it comes to your use of language. Clichés and overused phrases should be avoided, as should using more words than necessary. Being concise is often better than using 10 words where 5 would do!
4. Accuracy and Clarity
The advent of self-publishing and blogs galore has opened up a wealth of opportunities for aspiring writers to share their ideas and bless the world with their writing prowess. This does mean however, that the Grammar and Spelling Police are always ready to spot those errors, so having a sound knowledge and understanding of spelling, punctuation and grammar is important.
5. Patience and Discipline
Of course, you have to have a love of writing in order to sit down every day and write. But writing involves research, proofreading and editing, not to mention waiting patiently to see if the masterpiece you have been working on for months or years has been accepted by a publisher. Patience is another one of the essential skills of successful writers. One of the great things about writing is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home but if you don’t have the self-discipline, distractions can cause problems. Having a routine is key, so set your alarm at a reasonable time and give yourself a writing schedule.
6. Know the Market
Having an understanding of the market place is also one of the skills you need to master. If you want to be commercially successful, it’s not enough to just write what you like and hope for the best. Be sure to pitch the right ideas to the right publishers and if you can, purchase a copy of the Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book, which contains advice and contacts and is an indispensable guide for any writer.
7. Dogged Determination
Writing and rejection are bedfellows so having the drive and determination is so important. Don’t give up as there are many tales of writers being rejected numerous times before going on to achieve astounding commercial success. Stephen King and JK Rowling are just two of the names we all recognize and who will have become used to receiving those rejection letters. When timing, talent and sometimes luck converge, the doors to success will open. Just don’t take rejection personally and persevere.
Does anyone else have any essential skills of successful writers that I have missed? I would love to hear.