How To Succeed As A Writer, by Michele Pariza Wacek
As a professional copywriter, I'm often asked by aspiring copywriters
what they need to do to succeed. Most of their questions center
around writing ability. They want to know how to find out if they
have the talent to succeed, or if there's a "test" they
can take that will tell them if they're a good enough writer to
actually get paid to write.
Well, for better or for worse, writing ability has very little
to do with a writer's ultimate success. (Business owners who want
to write to promote their business, take note -- I'm talking to
you as well.)
If there was a test out there (and there isn't by the way) but
if there was, I would say the test would deal only with your attitude
about writing and leave ability flat out of it.
Yes, you heard me right. Attitude over ability. That's the key
I know. It's hard to hear. As writers, we want so badly to be
told our work is good, that it has merit, that we truly are talented.
I'm not sure why so many of us need that exterior validation --
perhaps because writing is such a solitary, inner activity that
when we do finally come up for air, we want to make sure we haven't
been wasting our time.
But to be honest, it IS possible to become a professional writer,
to be paid for your work, and not be terribly talented. (In fact,
I'll do you one better. It's even possible to force overworked,
exhausted college students in English Lit classes to read your
books and not be all that talented. Case in point: Thomas Hardy.)
When I look at professional writers (and I include authors in
this category) the common denominator I see isn't writing talent.
It isn't even a desire to write -- I know, it's kind of strange,
but there's more than a few of those folks out there.
It's a desire to succeed as a writer.
If you're determined to succeed as a writer, and have the will
and the mindset to do it, then you'll succeed at it. Period.
Now, that doesn't mean you can skip working hard, honing your
craft or, yes, actually putting pen to paper or hands to keyboard
and churning out words. You have to be determined enough to do
what it takes. To make the necessary sacrifices. To actually do
the work. And, to know setbacks will happen and obstacles will
appear and learn to take them in stride.
Not everyone is going to like what you've written. I don’t
care how good you are. You're going to get some, if not a truckload,
of criticism along the way. But, again, that's part of your attitude.
You have to be able to take the rejection, the criticism, or the
just plain mean comments in stride. You have to pick yourself
up and keep going. Because you know in your heart you're on the
right path and you won't allow those nasty people derail you.
And that, my friends, is what it takes to be a writer.
Creativity Exercise -- Get the right attitude
People have written books about changing your attitude, so I'm
not going to pretend this exercise is the end-all, be-all. But
it's a start.
Twice a day, place your hand on your chest and say out loud "I
choose to become a successful writer. I have the attitude of a
successful writer." This is a declaration, not an affirmation.
According to T. Harv Eker, author of "Secrets of the Millionaire
Mind," declarations are more powerful than affirmations.
Declarations simply declare your intent rather than state your
goal is already happening (which is an affirmation.) When you
state your goal as if it's already happening, a little voice inside
you usually pipes up and says "that's a load of crap"
thus making it harder to change your attitude. But if you simply
state the intention, then no little voice chimes in to tell you
And, when you say it out loud, you're letting your subconscious
know, the universe know, and the cells in your body know (because
they can feel the energy) what you're intending to do. Placing
a hand on your chest allows you to feel that energy. So change
happens faster. If you also look in the mirror, you'll accelerate
that change even more.
Above all, remember this: Believe and it WILL happen.
About the Author:
Michele Pariza Wacek owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting,
a writing, marketing and creativity agency. She can be reached
Copyright 2005 Michele Pariza Wacek