When you really think about it, writing isn’t all that different from most other walks of life. At least, it isn’t very different in what really matters – that is, how you succeed at it.
The difference between a successful and an unsuccessful writer is the same as between a winner and a loser in any other endeavor. In most cases, the winner wins not because of luck, or because of special abilities he has since birth, or favorable conditions. Mostly, he wins because after an almost inevitable initial failure he gets up, soaks up the experience and just keeps going – falling and failing again, getting up again, but finally – succeeding.
In other words, the difference between a loser and a winner lies in the way they perceive failure. For a loser failure is the end of the world, something terrible, something to be afraid of. That is why writers who never achieve big success either stop trying after initial setbacks, or are too afraid of failure to put any considerable effort into trying at all. They are always talking about that novel they are going to write, they plan, they rewrite parts that are already done, not willing to commit and see if they succeed or fail with this one.
Those who succeed, on the contrary, see failure as a source of experience, as a way to see what works and what doesn’t and, when all is said and done – as a stepping stone to success. For them failure is not an end, but rather an intermediary stage. They may be disappointed by it, but never disappointed enough to stop trying. As a famous sports saying goes, you are sure to miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take – and it suits the world of writing perfectly.
When you take a really close look at the writing scene, both today and at different periods in the past, you will see that there are very few, if any, writers who were immediately successful with their first attempt at publishing. The majority of them have been trying for years before stumbling upon this one breakthrough book that made them suddenly famous.
So, if being a successful writer is really what you want – and mind you, it is not an easy path – then there is only one method of achieving it. Writing. Trying. Attempting to publish. Looking for your niche, not theoretically, but actively trying this, and that, and something else. Not despairing when things don’t look your way.
There really is nothing more to it. There are no tricks that you can use to improve your writing or your chances of getting into print. There is only trying hard, failing, learning from your mistakes, getting up and going at it again. It is not a surefire method, of course, but you may find some consolation that almost all great writers you know and love went the same way – so at least you are in a good company.