Let’s play a game. It’s called, “How do I become a successful writer?” While it’s not easy, Writer’s Relief has been in the game for a long time (almost 20 years!), so we’ll give you a hint: With these five game-changing skills, you can be sure the odds are in your favor:
1. Unwavering concentration. A successful writer must be able to focus intently on the writing task at hand. During the time that you set aside for writing, ignore the siren call of social media, halt those "Breaking Bad" binges, and stop treating the selection of your next Keurig cup flavor as a life or death decision. It’s your writing career’s future that hangs in the balance, so give your work the attention it deserves.
2. Protective stance. Your writing is your pride and joy, and you should treat it as such. Don’t just send your work out into the world without paying any attention to where it’s going or who it’s with! If Indiana Jones were trying to steal your work, you would never let him get it; that’s how much it should mean to you. Protect it. Cultivate it. Adore it. Teach it to play smart. Agents and journals will take notice.
3. Proper training. It may seem obvious that you have to spend a lot of time and energy honing your craft in order to be successful, but there are many people who expect that acceptances will just drop into their laps. Trust us; that’s not how it happens. Make sure you’re prepared. Read lauded pieces of writing. Write constantly. Study grammar and composition. Make sure your writing is in the best shape it’s ever been! You need to become the ultimate writing machine: mechanically efficient while philosophically omniscient.
4. Knowledge of the rules. It’s important to be familiar with all the steps involved in making submissions. Know the right formatting, and be sure your work is carefully proofread. Then do your research and find out which journals or agents are right for your work. Of course, we’ll gladly save you from a heightened heart rate and submit for you, but you should know what’s in store so you’re not blindsided. And trust us, the submission battle only makes it more rewarding when you get those hallowed acceptance letters. Whether you’re a beginner or an old pro, success in writing is also a numbers game—the more submissions you make, the better your chances of garnering an acceptance!
5. Positive outlook. A bad case of writer’s block, doubts about your abilities, and a mailbox full of rejection letters can tempt you to throw in the towel. But successful writers know that these speed bumps are just part of the ride. Even the best authors will have a bad writing day—and then knuckle down and keep writing. Be calm, steady, and optimistic through it all…just think of those rejection letters as love letters to your resilience! Your blood pressure will thank you, your blemish-free skin will thank you, and your hair line will thank you (no offense if yours has already departed).
So, what’s your score? Do you have five out of five of these winning traits? If not, don’t worry—many writers will forever need to work on mastering these skills. As long as you remain focused on improving your craft, your chances of winning the submissions game should vastly improve. After all, we’ve watched it happen time and time again!
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