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6 traits of successful authors

17 July 2017

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We’ve all heard the story of how J.K. Rowling went from being a jobless single mother writing on trains and in coffee shops to selling over 430 million books.

In reality, that happens to very, very few authors. Most of us can only dream of such success.

Or can we?

You see, it depends how you define success. For you, it might simply be getting your first novel self-published, regardless of sales figures. And, if that’s the case, why shouldn’t you consider yourself successful?

You need to get there first, mind, which is why we’ve put together what we believe to be the six most important traits of successful authors:

1. Get into a daily writing habit

Professional writers make a living from their books because they get into a daily writing habit.

You need to do the same.

Set a daily word count goal and make sure you work consistently each week. Sure, it’ll mean occasionally cracking on when you least feel like it, but the more you write, the more it’ll become a habit.

2. Take notes, constantly

Inspiration is everywhere, but if you’re unable to catch it, you’ll quickly forget what could be the perfect spark for a new book idea or character development.

Make copious notes, wherever you happen to be. This could be on your smartphone or on a traditional pad, but don’t limit yourself to words - take photos of the stuff that inspires you, too.

3. Delegate the ‘boring’ stuff to others

Being a writer isn’t just about writing, unfortunately - there’s some mundane stuff you need to take care of, too.

If you don’t fancy that aspect of being an author, remember the power of delegation. If you have a friend who can help or fancy using the services of a self-publishing house (ahem) - let go of the stuff that gets in the way of your creativity.

4. Approach your writing as a business

This is a tough one, because few writers want to think of their work as anything more than a creative endeavour.

In reality, if you want to be successful at writing, you need to treat it like a business. It needs to be planned, scheduled, marketed and sold.

Remember - a hobby is usually something people only do when they feel like it or when time allows. Take that approach with writing and you’ll fail to make an impact.

5. Recognise the importance of rewriting

You’ll rarely get a chapter right first time. Equally, the more you find yourself proofreading and editing, the more you’re probably discovering that you need to go back to the drawing board.

If something isn’t working - start again. A rewrite may feel like a sledgehammer approach, but it’s a far better idea that publishing something you’re only eighty percent happy with.

6. Develop a thick skin

Some people will love your work. Others will hate it. And, in the digital age, people are all too keen to publish their thoughts about something they dislike for the world to see.

For that reason, you’ll need to develop a thick skin. Readers can be cruel at times, but among the unfair comments, you’ll find those that have merit and which you can use to fuel your creativity for the next book.

Whatever you do, though, don’t let the harsh words of others put you off writing.

Wrapping up

Feeling inspired?

The six tips above aren’t foolproof, and won’t necessarily result in a writing career, but they will put you in the right mindset to become the successful author you have buried within (however you define success).

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