Write On! Wednesday Back to Blog

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! Since I’m feeling semi-Irish…

May you be in
Heaven a half hour before the
Devil knows you’re dead!


And may you find a pot of gold today! (Then share that pot of gold with me!)

For my Write On! segment today, I thought I’d share 10 ways to become a successful writer:

1. Write. Yeah, I know, this does seem obvious, but I had to put it on my list. A lot of people talk about being a writer, but they don’t actually write. You have to sit your butt down in the chair and *write* to be a writer.

2. Read. Another obvious one.  If you want to be a good writer, then you need to read–a lot. And you particularly need to read in your genre. See what’s selling. See what’s hitting all the lists. See how other authors handle tension and pacing and character development. Just read.

3. Set realistic goals. Don’t decide to jump into this writing business with the immediate goal of completing a book in a month and then making the NYT list within a year.  Sure, it could happen. But why not put a little less pressure on yourself and set goals that are a little smaller? Like…write a chapter a week.

4. Learn everything you can about the industry. The Internet is a wonderful tool.  You can follow agents and editors on Twitter–you can see what they are hoping to acquire.  You can go to conferences and attend publisher spotlights.  You can join writers’ groups. Knowledge is power, don’t ever forget that.

5. Don’t compare yourself to other writers.  Jealousy can be an ugly thing.  Just focus on your story and write the best tale you can.  Don’t worry about what your buddy is doing or the deals she is getting.  Be selfish and focus on yourself!

6. Always know that you’re not perfect.  Or, rather, your writing isn’t. We can always learn more. We can always improve our craft.  The goal is to keep improving. Always–improve.

7. Celebrate your successes. You need to stay positive in this business. So celebrate!

8. Know when to step away from the keyboard. If the scene isn’t coming, maybe you need a break. If you’re really writing crap, go take a walk.  Don’t keep pounding away until you’ve had a chance to clear your head.

9. Don’t dwell on the negative. Did you get a rejection?  Ok, that sucks. No doubt. But keep writing. Keep going forward.  Cry a little if you’d like. Then go forth and make a better, stronger story.

10.  Don’t give up. Ever. If you stop, then how will you sell?

If you’ve got more advice to offer, please do! And enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day!!

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5 responses to “Write On! Wednesday”

  1. Edie says:

    I love this post, Cindy. When I’m down, I try to remember all the wonderful things people have said about my writing. I don’t like heroines who whine or feel self-pity. And I’m my own heroine. (Ooo, I think I have a blog topic for next Tuesday at Magical Musings. LOL)

  2. Sherry says:

    Thanks for the words of wisdom. Sometimes the easist ones are the ones we forget!

  3. Barb P says:

    Hi Cynthia! You know that I’m not a writer, but my 18 year old son is, and I’ve passed on some of your words of wisdom to him. I did want to come on & wish everyone a Happy St. Pat’s day! We are definately Irish in this family. We are all wearing massive amounts of green and the corned beef is in the crockpot. If anyone finds that pot of gold, let me know!

  4. Great post. Very inspiring. Yeah, #1 might be obvious, but it’s so true.

    I have nothing to add, you said it all. Nice job.


  5. This kind of goes with #4 and #9. Get some authors as friends. They understand what you’re going through and they give great advice.

    Thanks for the post, it’s just what I needed right now.

    PS: Can’t wait to see you tomorrow at Silken Sands!