Secrets of Highly Successful Writers: Part One

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be sharing secrets of highly successful writers in a 3-part blog series. (The far more in-depth, interactive conversation with sample material to help you put these ideas into practice is part of our upcoming live masterclass beginning Nov 5!).

We’ll kick off here in discussing how highly successful writers work and communicate.

Highly successful writers have grit and tenacity. If an idea doesn’t take off as planned, it’s back to the drawing board. They aren’t daunted by spending hours at the desk, deferring outside pleasure or gratification, just to nail the perfect sentence, or even word.

These writers tend to have a strong vision and sense of what their book needs to accomplish—but they’re open to feedback for improvement. They know when to push back and when to ease up, and can effectively self-edit. This may surprise you, but the most successful writers do not ask for editorial input on a regular basis. There’s a strong core focus or mission that drives their writing; there’s a deep understanding of what their audience craves, and a burning need to be of service.

When it comes to communicating, however, highly successful writers will save their prose for the page. While the instinct of a writer may be to send a lengthy, flowery email deserving to be framed, it’s better, especially in this WFH environment, to keep emails incredibly concise for one’s agent or editor. Get feedback and get going. One step at a time.

Our strongest writers will ask for feedback on critical elements: for novelists, how to open the first chapter; whether an ancillary character should become more central (or should exit entirely). For nonfiction writers, we’re often a sounding board for your title, opening story, or TOC. In our experience, our most successful authors relish brutally honest feedback—whatever makes the book strongest.

If there’s one abiding logic we’ve noticed to how highly successful writers work, it’s this: they’ll write the book no matter what. The work, the idea, is that important.

Next time, we’ll cover how highly successful writers network and engage with an audience. We’ve been taught some terrific tips from our writers, and we’re eager to share a few of them with you.