Monday, February 3, 2014

Develop a Winning Attitude for Successful Writing

What does it take in our everyday writing lives to be successful? In order to evaluate this question it is first necessary to understand what "success" is and what all successful writers have in common. It is probably safe to assume that anyone continuing after the first sentence wants to be successful as a writer.

However, only five percent of the population will ever reach their potential for all activities, ninety-five percent will never truly be successful. It may be worse for writers. There's a common statistic that says eighty percent of the people wish to write a novel and only one percent do. That's not very encouraging if looking at the whole.

Let's assume you will be in the one percent. If you're dedicated to writing, that's not unreasonable for there is no time frame that you have to complete your project in thirty days, six months, or a year.

There are five characteristics you must have in common with successful novelists. Think Stephen King, Michael Connelly, James Patterson, Jan Burke, Patricia Cromwell, and you can add all those authors on the New York Times Best Seller list. And, yours, too, if not now, in the future.

Let's get back to the five characteristics.

One, goals. Goals are the single most important factor in achieving success. They must be realistic. You wouldn't want to say you have a goal of writing 20,000 words in a day. Sure, you could do it. But it's not realistic. Instead, bite off those 20,000 words in smaller portions to make the achievement of the eventual goal of 20,000 easier and manageable. All successful people set goals, reevaluate their goals and scale them upward to even greater achievements.

I will digress a moment. I was trying to work on three novels at once. Wasn't getting me anywhere. You can guess why. Overload. I diverted my mind with writing a one-act play on a topic of local news interest. A local community theatre ensemble offered to perform it. I sat in the audience. What I gauged from the audience reaction (positive for the most part) re-energized me. Not to rewrite the play, but which novel to focus on. My novel writing goal was now clear. (Read Adolph's Gold sample at )

Two, positive attitude. Having a positive attitude is the second factor that successful writers have in common.  Say hello to a successful writer and you'll come away with a "can do" attitude. They believe and communicate in terms of the reality of their initial goal. Grab onto it. A positive attitude is contagious.

Third, truth. The truth, expressed in your writing, and everyday activities is always best for several reasons. The least may be that it's always easiest to remember. People kid about that, but it's true. If you are going to be a successful writer, and I believe you will be, you will not have time, energy, or ability to remember the untruths or lies told. Furthermore, true winners face the truth, learn from it, and triumph in the end because they never have to backtrack to cover up problem areas created by lies.

Fourth, research. Successful writers are always on the prowl for improvement. It's not only research to keep the elements of their stories faithful to reality, it's also a constant striving for improvement through seminars, reading, and listening to the ideas of others. While this may incur a cost in time and effort, not to do will bring about a return on investment (to use a banking term) that equates to zero. And the lack of effort always results in zero.

Fifth, think. A writer's ability to think is a talent to be exploited. With the ability to think, writers not only embellish plots or story lines, but they engage readers. Readers latch on to the power writers possess. This power of writing is awesome and, at times, frightening. Writers make readers believe.
Why? Because writer's already believe because they have goals, a positive attitude, speak truth, research and think.

As a writer, it's your task and opportunity to unleash that which is in you. You know you can do it.

Donan Berg's newest novel mystery/thriller Adolph's Gold comes out March 13, 2014. Read major preview sample at or at Barnes and Noble, Sony, or Kobo online. E-book priced at $2.99. Special pricing for libraries. Ask to upload for Kindle.

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