Simple advice for aspiring writers One thing separates successful writers from the rest.

If you’re a writer, you probably get advice everywhere you go. Sometimes it comes in the form of complex, detailed tips from another writer who seems to have found the perfect process, as if trial and error has led to the ultimate breakthrough in crafting literature.

Isn’t it interesting how many people have it all figured out? They become such experts that the words flow out and the money flows in.

Not so much.

My advice for aspiring writers is not complex, and it’s also not a fix-all solution to any writing issues you may be facing.

No, my writing advice is simple: Keep at it.

That old cliché rings true — practice makes perfect, like with anything in life. (Well, maybe not perfect, but the best way to become a better writer is to continue writing.)

Seems straightforward, right? You’d be surprised how difficult this notion can be for some writers. I hear stories all the time about writers who simply cannot find the motivation (or time) to write. You can call it writer’s block. Call it whatever you’d like to call it, but the fact is that in order to write — and write well — it needs to be part of your daily routine.

Do you feel compelled to open your computer and punch through prose late at night when you’re tired and would rather stream Netflix? Do you scramble for a pen to scratch out a new idea as it comes to you standing in line to order a coffee? What drives you as a writer?

The way I see it, there are two types of writers.

The first has a grand vision of their work. They see themselves traveling the country on book tours. They imagine signing autographs and walking past bookstores with large posters of their books clinging to the front window. They imagine eating at fancy restaurants in big cities and reaching for the check, for splurging on the bill is nothing with all the royalties rolling in. It seems the actual writing is only secondary. But that’s the vision. That’s the motivation. (There are people like this in every industry. It’s not unique to writing.)

The second type of writer is much simpler. They love writing, and so they write.

I’ve found that in this incredibly competitive world of literature that we live in today, the latter is the more successful.

So I’d say decide which type of writer you are, and then keep at it.

26 thoughts on “Simple advice for aspiring writers One thing separates successful writers from the rest.

  1. Forget the fantasies of fame! Even the most successful writers these days aren’t all that famous and bookshops are – well if not quite a thing of the past, at least far less accessible and important. For me, writing is in competition with all the other things in life and when they are urgent and important the writing goes down the priority list. Unless you have a dedicated support-person you have to clean up the cat vomit, pay all those bills, clean the rotting vegetables out of the fridge, find a new plug to fit your Kindle, and then your friend calls up, her garage is flooded, can you help? Yet another day goes by and although your have done a few writing-related things (like writing this here and thinking about plotting and being supportive of another writer having formatting problems) you still have not written one single new word on your languishing manuscript. So it’s good advice to just keep writing, but really my problem is prioritising. Wish I didn’t have to sleep.

    1. That’s a great point as well. I’ve certainly had lulls where I went days without writing. I found it’s easy to let other things in life get in the way. While writing may not be the most pressing thing in your life, it’s one of the easiest to push to the side. There has to be some sort of routine (first thing in the morning, late at night, etc.) I’ve also found that even if it’s just a paragraph a day, the act of writing consistently helps to keep it part of the daily routine, and the progress picks back up quickly. I hope you find the time to write and good luck with all the bills and cat vomit! (P.S. Sleep is overrated!)

  2. Book signings *shudders* no thank you! I love the idea of people reading and enjoying my work, but I just really want to go curl up in a dark hole and compose some more fantasy’s while they do that ; )

    PS. Thanks for the follow!

  3. One of my math professors use to say that the way to learn mathematics is to do mathematics (as he demonstrated slope with a bead on a wire.) It seems reasonable that writing or any other skill is follows the same rules.

  4. Well struck. It’s a pretty simple concept, but it’s accurate. If you want to be a writer, write. What does Stephen King say on the subject, you have to write a million words before you master the craft. No, never mind, he would stop short of saying “master” in that context. But it’s something like that.

    Anyway, great stuff, thanks for bringing it to us.

  5. Awesome post! I’ve come to think that I think like both types. Some days I have a really hard time, other days I want to post more than once. I love having a blog so far, I just don’t know where it’s going to end up or where I want it to end up. Everything’s up in the air haha but I’m enjoying it.

  6. Excellent post. I have a dreadful tendency to write a few chapters and then a new idea strikes.

    Therefore an awful lot of WIP’S in my files. Add that to so many interruptions and not much gets carried forward.

    Wonderful blog and many thanks for following me. x

  7. You have defined things very well. Those that are in love with the idea of writing will always be different from those who love writing. I find all of the learning associated with marketing my work has curtailed my creativity for the time being. I hope this will be a temporary condition, that will become less intrusive as time goes on.

  8. Well expressed buddy. When I started, I had both the personalities in me. One that would imagine how my life would after I become a famous writer or something like that. The other personality would just write because it loves to.

    Then something happened in my life. A piece of writing changed my life, so much that I almost forgot about the first personality.

    This is that piece of writing. Do give it a read and let me know your thoughts.

  9. Thank you for this! It was a very encouraging read, especially now.

    I’ve started making writing a priority in my life. I’ve always wanted to, just never did. One day, I woke up and thought, “I’ve always said I was going to write a book, and I have like 8 novel ideas in my head. If I’m going to do it, I’ve gotta do it.” So, I joined a writing group and I’m hard at work.

    The hardest part for me is when others don’t see it as my priority. I’m done with school (I’m a teacher) for the summer, so I’ve been diving deep into my novel. However, since I’m on break, people see that as free time and get frustrated when I’m not available.

    Thanks again for such an encouraging post!

  10. I started writing at a very young age. I used to write adventure stories and poems and such, inspired by Alexander Dumas’s books. All the dreams of book posters and acknowledgement came later on as I grew up. And I feel we all of us begin that way. It’s only that the world we live in today is so obsessed with marketing, that we all crave for fame.These days, I write to find that joy of writing again.

  11. I think it’s a life principle. Same way those who love playing football will be better at playing the game than those who love the idea of playing football, becoming a football star and so on. Passion is blind when it comes to taking risks and because of its blindness, passion go all the way against all odds till it achieves the nearly-impossible.

  12. I like your description of writers, particularly the first one. I can identify with that, when my fantasies take hold. But when I come back down to earth, I just like to write. Especially given a challenge, in terms of a writing prompt, or some event I am moved by. Also it’s by writing , I keep some sanity. If I could not write, and express myself, whether it’s read it or not, I think I would go mad, seriously !