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What Does It Take To Become A Successful Full Time Writer?

16th July 2017
(Knowledge Article)

A guest post from Larry G Maguire

Truthfully, I don’t know…

But I’ll tell you when I get there.

If you are like me, you sit alone at your computer every spare moment. Writing, researching, marketing, working on your site, trying to improve your process any way you can.

You know, my biggest concern when I write is that it doesn’t suck, and often it does! Ever read back over something you wrote last month or last year?

“Ah man, did really write that crap!” is usually what I hear myself say.

The good thing is it’s usually not as bad as I think. Writing being a solitary craft it’s hard to know, but you have to stick your neck out all the same.

Writing is solitary, it has to be.

I believe we need to be comfortable in the solitude in order that we can stay the distance. Staying the distance is one of the keys to success I think.

That’s not to be confused with blindly sticking with something that’s not working. But it does mean following your heart even when things get tough.

When things get tough, and they usually do, our true character has an opportunity to show itself. This is a chance to do really great work and see who we are.

The Lure Of The Shortcut

They are very attractive aren’t they?

And everyone is after them. Shortcuts are built into the very function of our brains but in the hands of a novice they can be damaging.
They are better described as efficiencies though. Our entire biological entity is always on the lookout for efficiencies, the quickest solution.

They can be our greatest and our worst asset all at the same time depending if we’ve put the time in to becoming an expert.
For most of us quick fixes are not worth a damn, they teach us nothing.

Quick fixes and shortcuts are reserved for the master who has already walked the road, we’ve got to earn the right to use them.
We must take our time and be prepared to work on the one primary thing that matters above all else…

Ourselves.

A Common Misconception

There is a common misconception in society that the harder we work the wealthier and more successful we will become.
This is bull****.

It has become obvious to me that everyone and anyone can become successful at whatever they wish, and make money at it.
But the pre-programmed script of “work hard = obtain success” is a fallacy.

I know this because I tried it.

Working your butt off in the trenches, head down year after year is foolish. You’ll get nowhere except the hospital waiting room.
Effective work must come as a result of something, it is not the cause. We’ve got to believe and trust in the everyday work and do it for the love of it.

Working “hard” on it’s own will get us nowhere. Working “hard” is the cart before the horse so if you’ve fallen for this idea then you’re screwed.

Right, so what’s the solution?

Here’s 3 things I come to believe we need in place before we achieve any kind of success as a full time writer or artist.

#1 Strong Self Belief

Self belief is a quiet internal assurance and a healthy disregard for the opinions of others, well wishers or not.
We shouldn’t confuse this with arrogance, which is fear in disguise.

True self belief comes from a deep foundation and a high degree of self efficacy. When we write from here it comes through in our writing.

Some people say I have attitude, maybe I do… but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there. – Venus Williams

With self belief comes total certainty, no other outcome can be possible when we have self belief, even when things don’t go according to plan.

Self belief may well be dented from time to time but we can soon get going again when know our place in the world beyond current circumstances.

Most of us allow circumstances to dictate and impose conditions. But with focused effort, we can literally rewire our own brain to whatever we choose to experience.

The only requirement is persistence in order to make the change.

True self belief comes from a deep foundation in a single unshakable idea of one’s self.

#2 Love Of Your Craft

This is in my opinion the most important factor in becoming a full time writer or artist of any kind.
We cannot force ourselves to love writing, we either do or we don’t.

When we are in love with something we don’t have to think whether or not we love it. If you are asking yourself “Do I really love this?” then it’s likely you don’t.

It may be tolerable and even acceptable for the majority of the time, but after a while it builds resentment in us and our work will become exhausting.

In contrast, that thing that brings us the most joy and satisfaction comes automatic.

When we love something we’ll do whatever it takes to do it all the time, or as much as possible.

Don’t fall into the trap of rationalising activity that you do not love.

The mind will give us an endless number of reasons to keep doing what you’ve always done. We’ve got to disregard these impulses in favour of that which empowers us most.

You cannot force yourself to love writing, you either do or you don’t.

#3 Unwillingness To Conform

Finally my favourite. I love non-conformance! More power to that I say!

I have a acute dislike for anything that says I should do things the same as everyone else. It drives me crazy, always has from as early as I can remember.

I’ll make my own mistakes and figure it out as I go thanks very much.

It’s my contention that in order to stand out from the crowd we must have a desire to do things differently, an unwillingness to conform.

Too many of us toe the line and end up boring and predictable. We just become copy cats of others and are drowned out by the noise.

Why waste time playing the game by someone else’s rules?

Go ahead and be a little bit bold, a little bit brave and a little bit stupid, **** it, you’ll be dead soon enough.

Why waste your time playing the game by someone rules?

If we are constantly seeking approval, recognition and affirmation from the world then we’ll always be found wanting.

If your sense of self is invested heavily in a combination of what you think are other people’s thoughts about you, then you will be completely pulled asunder trying to live up to that idea.

Too many of us try too hard to please too many with the result that they end up pleasing nobody, least of all ourselves.


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