“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” — Richard Bach
Professional writing, much like a romantic relationship, requires constant motivation to maintain sanity and go the distance. You know the script: You start out starry-eyed, optimistic, and invested. In the beginning it feels magical.
Then, the plot thickens…
Time takes its toll and reality sets in. Though many people “romanticize” a career in writing, it’s hard work. Coming up with different marketable ideas month after month (and year after year), dealing with editors’ rejections, managing difficult clients, and pushing through the feast or famine cycles can be truly challenging. Before you know it, you’ve lost your enthusiasm.
A lack of passion can compromise your productivity. No output means no income. This is why staying motivated is crucial to a long-term, successful career in this industry. And, I should know. I am a veteran word peddler with over 800 pieces sold – over more than a decade.
To this end, there are 4 success strategies for greater longevity, regardless of your level and genre.
1). Reward yourself for small victories. So you haven’t yet sold that steamy novel you’ve been working on, or managed to quit your 9 to 5 job to write full time. But, maybe you finished ANOWRIMO last year. Perhaps you landed a new client, or joined a critique group in your area. Celebrate! For example, I periodically treat myself to a shopping day or a bottle of champagne when I meet a creative goal. Remember, every little bit counts.
2). Expand your definition of success. Though I have earned a decent dollar in my writing career, I’m pretty excited, too, about making a positive impact on my readers, and helping others to live better and discover new truths. I consider this a privilege and a calling. And you should, too. Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone can write. Even during financial dry spells, I continue to be “motivated” by positive blog comments, letters from followers, and glowing testimonials from clients.
3). Maintain supportive alliances with other writers. Let’s face it: Nobody understands the trials and tribulations of being a writer like a fellow scribe. I lean on them. Share leads. Laugh about the things that make me want to cry. Not a bad idea for you either.
4). Take breaks as needed. Some experts contend that writers should write every day. Don’t believe the hype. You know what they say about “all work and no play.” Pursue other interests; read more, travel, and escape. The more you do away from your laptop screen, the less likely you’ll be to suffer from burnout and boredom.
When it comes to writing, there are very few “overnight successes.” Stay the course to stay in the black!
- Patience, Perseverance, and Pain by Dorothy Baughman
- Book Sales Down? Don’t Give Up!
- Keep On Moving On By Diana Burns
- Reality Check: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself before Quitting Your Day Job By Patty Harder
- Success Will Come By Willis T. Bird
JENNIFER BROWN BANKS is a veteran freelance writer, author, and book review survivor. She has about 800 bylines to her publishing credit, in print and online publications. Visit her “Top Blog for Writers” site at Pen and Prosper.
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