Today I thought I’d share my Top 3 Tips for Authors. I get asked so many questions on what writer’s need and what they can skip doing. You may find some of these articles below helpful.
These three tips go beyond the #1 fundamental rule to being a successful author to always be writing. Seriously, no matter what direction you go in, always remember this rule!
Tip #1 Purpose & Focus
It doesn’t matter what you write or how long your book is or how big of a following you have. If you don’t know the purpose for you writing it in the first place – you will have no idea what steps you need to take after your writing project is completed.
It is important to take time to think about WHY you are writing it – whether it’s a book, an article, a blog post, or even an email.
Do you simply have a story in your head that needs to get out? Is there some topic you love and are inquisitive about and you want to explore it deeper? Are you just wanting to connect and/or network?
Is this project short term or do you want it to start an evolving lineup of professional creations and growth?
Jot down the ideas and thoughts that come to mind and put them someplace safe for you to refer to later on.
Why is this my #1 Tip for writers? The answer is simple. So many writers want to become published and get paid for their writing. This requires diligent planning and execution and long term planning!
I can use myself for an example. I first wrote a screenplay (I was a teenager) then a romance novel. But I had no idea who I was, what I really wanted to do with it and no clue where it could lead me.
Fast forward a decade later. Two nonfiction books published, everything I write now creates or leads into something productive, profitable and professionally expansive. A handful of blog posts becomes the first few chapters of a new book or a segment sent to subscribers. Subtopics in my books become expanded through webinars or workshops. What I create now tends to lead into my bigger projects both with my writing and my brand.
Another reason for getting decisive with your purpose for writing is that if you venture into getting your work published, agents and publishers want to know what your professional vision is. Are you a one book wonder or will you be providing them with a showcase of books over time? If you haven’t read The Difference yet, I encourage you to go read it now for you will be happy you did.
Tip #2 Be Willing to Learn & Grow
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been writing for 25 year, have 4 degrees in English or what job titles you have had. The writing and publishing industries are always changing, especially as technology continues to improve. Having a willingness to continue learning and growing will allow you to evolve too.
Many writers have introvert personalities, tending to be quiet and less likely to expand beyond their comfort zones. I want to encourage you to step beyond your comfort zones as often as you can gather up the courage to do so. Incredible opportunities are out there waiting for writers to use their talents but very few rise above the masses and guess who ends up being the successful writer? Yep, the few who dare.
We don’t have to take on learning everything but even if you just add one or two new topics to learn more about each year (like websites, marketing, social media) you will soon separate yourself from the wannabes to the crowd that is actually thriving.
As soon as a writer says “I don’t want to.” Or “I don’t need to.” They shut themselves off from potential and big leads down the road. So, along with remaining willing to learn and grow as you go is humbleness as well. No matter how many books you get published, how many awards you receive or how much money you make – there is always more to learn, try and experiment with.
I also want to toss in here the difference between comparing yourself with other writers (and their level of success) and seeking out mentors to learn from. Everyone is on their own path, doing their own thing in their own timing. What looks like mega stardom or instant success at first glance, might be flakey success about to crumble or in reality be the last 20 years in the making.
Seek out people in the industry who are do what you want to be doing. Observe what they are doing and not doing and why. They may not be doing something because it is a weakness while it could be one of your strengths. They may have invested five years into learning some aspect and now condense their wisdom into a book or course for you to learn it faster. See what you can learn and apply in your own work and professional growth, but don’t copy. That leads us into the third piece of advice I’m sharing.
Tip #3 Embrace Authenticity
There is only one you on this planet. You are the only one with your personality, life experiences and dreams. You are the only who can write that story or message that is swirling in your heart. It is okay to learn from others methods and tools to use and ways to go about things – but be sure to let your voice come through plain and clear in everything you do.
Find the courage to be yourself and speak your mind. Do not cater to your editors, agents or publishers – that is do not let them take the ‘you’ out of your work. Don’t be afraid of critics – in fact if you want to make it big time professionally, you’ll receive a lot of criticism (from those unsuccessful).
Some of the biggest names, the bestselling authors have received countess rejections from publishers and they get emails from bored fans daily who have nothing better to do with their time. It is part of the game and you will need to learn to let it all roll off your shoulders if you want to succeed.
Speaking of agents and publishers – allow yourself to rise to a level of professional maturity. Not every agent or publisher is going to be right for you and your work. Don’t let query rejections deter you. Take every no you receive as an opportunity to improve your work and get you one step closer to lining up with the agent and publisher who will help your work shine.
While it is imperative that we listen to the advice given us, it is also important to take things with a grain of salt. This goes hand in hand with remaining authentic in your writing. Nobody can write what you do the way you do. If someone says your work is crud, take a moment to ask questions, of them and your work. Is their validity in what they are saying and the reasons behind it? If not, then who cares.
If an editor sends back your work with lots of corrections, it doesn’t mean the story itself is bad – it just means you focused on the creativity and not the editing. (Besides editing is their job.)
I want you to have courage to take risks with your writing. Do things differently, say what needs said exactly the way it needs said. (Don’t fall into the trap of sugar coating your work – if people can’t handle your work at full strength that is their issue.)
Pray and include God into your work. Ask for divine wisdom and guidance in what to write and how to let it flow. If you are not religious, then dare to do something totally out of the norm, like taking a writing trip or retreat. Allow yourself to step into the core of who you are and even then, question.
The Three Keys for Writing Successfully
These are the three things I come back to with those in my Empowered Writer’s program. It seems that when a writer gets lost professionally or stuck with their creativity, it is because they’ve fallen away from one or more of these keys.
Being a successful author begins with having a successful approach to our writing and career, everything builds from there!
Incorporate purpose and focus, continual growth and learning mixed with authenticity into your writing and professionalism and you will find success.
Oh, and remember to keep going. Be persistent and diligent in your work. Books only get written if you show up and write them. Books only get published if you remain determined to see them through all the way to store bookshelves.
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