It has been said that the problem with writers is that they don’t write. While there are exceptions, many brilliant writers’ work has never seen the light of day due to bad habits. If you’re a writer and want to complete your first novel, make six figures as a freelancer or have dreams of winning the Pulitzer for your poetry book, it’s time to get on board. I write a lot, literally everyday for sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc as well as my personal hosting startup Hostt. If you’re working in a startup, you’re going to have to write a lot. Google likes content.
The most “successful” writers in the world aren’t necessarily the most talented (hello, E.L. James!). However, they do have characteristics that catapult them to success.
Are you ready to take your writing to the next level? The habits of highly successful writers may surprise you. It’s not all about brainstorming, finding a muse and looking for inspiration, (even though that helps, too.)
They match writing with speed
This is true of both professional, technical writers and creative writers. It’s great if you bust out a flawless blog—but not if it takes you five hours to do it. A successful writer does what they do well, but also in a timely manner. This is especially important to keep in mind for pro tech writers who get paid per word or a flat rate per piece/project.
They write every single day—regardless of inspiration
Sure, there will be days when the writing comes more naturally or you’re feeling particularly inspired, but consider that a bonus. Successful writers tackle projects every single day, save for one (much needed) total writing rest day per week. Set a goal for yourself daily and meet it no matter what. There’s no glory in actually being a starving writer.
They push their limits
For someone like a freelancer, in the early days of their career they’ll say yes to lower paying gigs if it lets them learn a new industry. This is how you figure out what you like, what you’re good at, and which industries pay the best. If you can get paid (albeit little) to learn the nuances of search engine optimization, you’re setting yourself up for better projects down the road.
They’re not snobbish about projects
Every single client and project you take on is equally important—and if you don’t feel that way about a particular client, it’s time to sever ties. If you’re getting paid to write, successful writers will take an equal interest in mobile readiness, hotel descriptions or blogging about the latest Kardashian scandal. Respect your work, and it’ll return the favor.
They have a thick skin
This is something you’ll learn to develop over time if it’s not already in place. From overly aggressive editors to rejection after rejection of your manuscript, successful writers don’t take the occasional criticism or regular rejection personally. Don’t doubt yourself as a writer. If the overly sensitive feeling startup, get hold of yourself, your career will fall apart.
They’re brilliant with finances
If you want to own your own writing-based business, make a lucrative living freelancing, or finish that novel, it’s going to require some serious financial finesse. Finances are why many writers never make the leap to full-time: They’re clinging to the safety net of a permanent, full-time job that often has little to do with writing. Set a budget, make a financial plan and meet with a financial advisor.
They don’t procrastinate
It’s not just writers—the most successful people, in general, are morning people, get a bundle of stuff done before their first coffee break, never procrastinate and usually exceed deadlines. If you can start mimicking these habits, they can become a part of who you really are. It’s simply easier to follow in best habits instead of trying to be the exception at every turn.
Most importantly, remember that successful writers “do it” because they have to. It’s not an option. However, what truly is an option is how ambitious you are.