I just checked my book case. I have thirty-seven books on, basically, “How to Write Books.” Of course they have different titles and they all have the “secret” of how to be successful as an author. I have read all those books at one time or another – but I haven’t read any of them for many years. You know why? They are worthless. I am going to tell you the secret of being successful as an author. Are you ready for it? There is NO secret. There is only one way to become a successful writer. And it is the answer that most people don’t want to hear.
The way to become successful writing is the same as in any other endeavor. You have to WORK hard at learning your trade. And, make no mistake, writing is a combination of talent (about 10%) and hard work (90%).
Pick a profession. (I’ll wait.) Okay, got one? Look at those who are successful at that profession. If you look hard enough, you will find that that person has taken a tad of talent and worked very hard at being good at that one thing. And, of course, you have to consider what you feel is “success.” I’ve been watching a TV program called “Wicked Tuna.” These commercial fishermen invest a lot of money and tons of time to catch ONE fish. Of course, that one fish may be worth up to $10,000. And these people go out every day of the season – but when they catch a fish they don’t wait around to see if they can catch 50 more, they bring it in and sell it. And, some days they catch nothing and are out two or three thousand dollars in operating expenses. Is that, really, any different from being a commercial writer, except that you don’t smell like fish bait. (That’s an assumption on my part – maybe you’d like to smell like fish bait.)
I have been writing off and on for many years. I have published short stories, worked for newspapers, written for magazines, and have published full-length fiction novels. Writing is hard work and if my income was divided by the amount of hours I put into writing you could not call me a successful writer. But, you know what? If ANYBODY gets pleasure out of something I have created out of my imagination, I am in my own mind a success. Because that, and not money, is my goal. I write because I always have since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and it is what I do. I am a writer.