(This post first appeared on my previous blog, My Dripping Pen, before we took it down and transferred it here.)
Are you a writer? And if so, are you an ambitious writer? If the answer is yes, then you probably want to be a successful writer. (More on that in a moment.)
To make sure that you are on the “write” track to writing success once you implement my one “secret” skill, lets first talk a little bit about being a writer and identify the biggest stumbling block to writing success.
Do You Want to Be a Writer?
Do you have grand dreams of writing the next American novel? Or of becoming such a successful blogger you can quite your day job? Do you long to be a New York Times best selling author? Or maybe you desire to become the next children’s book sensation? Whatever your writing desire, it is probably linked to some kind of success. Whether defined by money or page views.
Of course, once you start writing – anything – you could, I suppose, be defined as a writer. Just as a painter can be a painter once they start putting paint on canvas. But, being a successful writer is an entirely different story. It takes drive, passion, and work. But it can be done. You can be successful. (Just make sure you don’t go too crazy with your dreams of success. A little crazy is good though. It keeps you motivated.)
The Biggest Stumbling Block to Success
To reach your idea of writing success, it is necessary to identify the biggest stumbling block to success. After all, if you can overcome that, then you are one giant leap closer to your dreams coming true! So, what is that biggest stumbling block to writing success? Is it finding an agent? Choosing between self-publishing and traditional publishing? Marketing your books? Finding the time to write? All of these are definitely challenges that must be overcome. But there is still one larger.
Having nothing interesting to say. In other words, writer’s block. That is the biggest stumbling block to writing success. How can you write anything that other people will give two seconds of their time to you if you have nothing interesting to say? No matter how good your technique, how capable your marketing skills, or how big your dreams, you will get nowhere if you have nothing worthwhile to say! So, what do you do about it?
The One Essential You Need to Succeed
You observe. That’s right. That is your one little secret to writings success. Being still, being quiet, and watching everything and everyone around you. The people in front of you in line at the coffee shop – just how does a decaffeinated and busy female executive act in the morning in her way to the office? What do you think the life story of the mom on the other side of the park with the tired light in her eyes and the screaming toddlers is? Just what foreign accent do you hear from the couple sitting at the table behind you at your favorite lunch spot? Writing material is all around you! You just have to listen, look, and notice. Of course, please don’t be too nosy!
Just for fun, what short story can you come up with about the next person you see (that you don’t know)? What fictional background can you come up with for them, that actually fits their looks and what you see them do?