Now is the best time ever to be a writer, and what follows in the next five posts is a new model for what it will take for you to build a successful writing career in the digital age. I may have left something out, and I hope you will tell me if I have, but every one of the nineteen necessities you will be reading about is essential, and you can’t make it without all of them.
Writing begins with passion—a passion for words, ideas, writing, books, people, publishing, communicating about your work, and serving your readers.
Writing starts with reading. Read what you love to read and write what you love to read.
An acquaintance once came up to me all excited and said: “I just finished my first novel!”
“That’s great!” I said.
Then he asked: “What should I read next?”
Well, if you’re a novelist, you should read as many novels as you can, and read like a writer. What works for you in the books you love will work for your readers.
Reading will also enable you to choose books and authors to use as models for your books and career. Telling agents, editors, and readers your models will enable them to understand what your book is instantly.
It’s been said that goals are dreams with a deadline. You must have literary, publishing, and personal short- and long-term goals that are in harmony and motivate you to do whatever it takes to achieve them. One goal that clarifies your other goals is how much money you want to earn a year, because it determines what you write, and how you write and promote it.
Sue Grafton advises writers to have a five-year plan. Once you decide where you’d like to be in five years, you can figure how to get from where you are to where you want to go. Read about how authors of books like yours succeeded and ask them for advice.
You must have goals for what you want to accomplish every workday and the discipline to make sure you accomplish them. William Faulkner once said: “I write when the spirit moves, and I make sure it moves every day.” Even a page a day is a book a year. Balance your goals, and choose the most productive way for you to spend your time. Take care of the minutes, hours, and days, and the years will take care of themselves.
In the next post on “From Passion to Patience” are creativity, a plan, discipline, creativity, service, faith, courage, and knowledge. After the overview of the model, future posts will discuss more about each part of it.
“From Passion to Patience” was adapted it from a talk for a panel Elizabeth and I were on at the wonderful Mechanics’ Institute Library in San Francisco, which has critique groups and other events and resources for writers and is worth joining, www.milibrary.org.
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