Everybody has different definitions of being a successful writer. For some, being a successful writer means you must be a published author with a novel on the New York Times bestseller list. For most though, being a successful writer means earning a comfortable income writing fiction or non-fiction or getting your work published in respectable print media.
For reaching such places, there is no foolproof, step-by-step guide that will establish you into the next J.K. Rowling or Haruki Murakami. However, there are of course some best practices and actionable guides that will help you to reach there. Here are some tips that will put you on the right path.
1. Write every single day
Here is the greatest tip that holds the most potential: no matter what happens, a writer must write every single day. All famous writer has this habit in common, be it Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, Ernest Hemingway, or Ray Bradbury.
Therefore you must also do the same. Develop a daily habit of sitting and writing. This will improve your craft, help you avoid writer’s block, and help you recognize the full potential you hold.
Art and craft are two different things, take this part as working on your craft. Therefore take your craft seriously and treat it like a full-time job and set a reasonable deadline for your creative writing. If you’re into freelance non-fiction writing, chances are, you already work on tight deadlines. Therefore it only makes sense to follow an everyday routine.
Writing every day doesn’t mean that you must write for 10 hours, rather it depends on your preference. Figure out the amount of work you need to cover and the deadlines you’re running and then prepare a routine. You can even write two pages only, but the only requirement is to maintain consistency.
2. Read read and read more
Writing and reading are two sides of the same coin and if you want to succeed as a writer you must read. Perhaps there’s a balance you need to maintain, and only then you can make it work.
If you’re a fairly new and young writer, then you’ve got a free advantage: time. You’ve got time to read and invest in new writers. Therefore explore as many writers as you possibly can. Read classics and contemporary, read fiction and non-fiction, read newspapers and magazines, read prose and poems, and read your favorite and least favorite writers.
Set yourself free, don’t obsess about just a bunch of writers you like, but grasp all sorts of writings. Read as much as you physically can. If you do that, you will find yourself full of ideas and creativity. Also, this is what every successful writer did: they read and read until they were able to write.
3. Copy the masters
Not exactly copying, but you must have a writing model. For that, you need to replicate a writer who you think has mastered their craft. Whether you’re into fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter. Choose a master from your genre and try to recreate a single page of their best work.
For example, if you’re into blogging or content writing, find your favorite blog from your favorite content writer and re-create the blog for yourself. Write it exactly as they have written the article, trace every single word until you’re done writing it.
What will happen? As you’re copying their work, you’re learning how to write like them. you’re picking their writing style, word choice, sentence structure, and everything else. After practicing this many times, when you will finally sit to write your own blogs. You will notice that your writing has refined a lot and you’re not running out of ideas or words to put in.
You can also do the same if you’re a fiction writer. Many writers suggest tracing the whole novel that you absolutely admire. However, do remember that you’re only copying the masters for the time being. So that you can bring the qualities into your writing also, and eventually you will be able to come up with your own writing style.
4. An online presence is a must
These days, being a successful writer also means that you have some kind of online presence. No matter in what niche or industry you’re in, you need a personal website. On this website, you should have all the work samples of yours along with contact details and testimonials.
If you already have a website, then you’re in a better place. However, that’s not enough. You need an active online audience that engages and interacts with your content. For that, social media is a great choice. And from social media, LinkedIn is probably the best place to share content and build an online presence. Apart from social media, you should also try to get on podcast shows to expand your reach.
Being a successful writer demands marketing yourself and building a personal brand. When you have a robust online presence, many things will work in your favor. No matter what kind of writer you are, there are many advantages to doing this. Many times, the online popularity of a writer attracts traditional publishers and publishing houses. And If you’re a freelance writer, you will easily get projects and inbound leads if you’ve got an online presence.
All the best advice in the world won’t make you a successful writer unless you write. Maintaining consistency and writing at least something every day will keep you going. That’s the difference between wanting to become a writer and actually being one.
Therefore, before you follow any other advice you must maintain this habit. And once you successfully build that, you can start implementing all the other tips and recommendations we have mentioned.