10 Commandments of a Successful Writer – Part 3

This is the final installment (so far) in this series on the commandments of being a successful writer. You can catch up on the first two at these links: 10 Commandments, Part 1 and 10 Commandments, Part 2.  This week, we’ll look at dealing with envy, developing patience, setting goals, and never giving up.

7. Thou shalt rejoice in the success of others.

Use a club when the spirits of envy and gossip creep over us. Don’t let those roots take hold and eat at our soul and damage our relationships. Instead, ask what others writers did so we can learn from them.

Remember, we each have a plan from God unique to us. He wants us to succeed as much as we do. But his path for us will undoubtedly be different from the path of someone else. Remember we’re all human and we’re all unique.

When we’re with others, talk about story ideas, the craft, what we’ve learned on our publishing journey. Share what we’ve learned from our victories and our mistakes. Encourage others.

8. Thou shalt develop patience.

Writing is a journey, just like life. We need patience and trust. And to focus on achieving our dream.

9. Thou shalt set realistic goals.

A realistic goal is one we can accomplish. A goal to traditionally publish a novel this year is not realistic. There are too many factors and variables beyond my control. I don’t make the final decision. A publisher does.

A goal to complete and prepare a manuscript for submission is realistic. I set the date for submission to an agent and I plan my work accordingly, even allowing time for contingencies like emergencies or family vacations.

Similarly, a goal to indie publish a novel by a specific date is realistic because it is all up to me. I set the target date and gear everything to meeting it. My job is to break it down into manageable pieces: write and rewrite the manuscript; have it edited; perform due diligence to select the best route to publication for me. It might be Create Space or Vellum or Ingram Spark or some other company. It’s up to me to do the research and make the call.

10. Thou shalt never, never, never, never give up.

We must keep learning and improving, revising and rewriting. We must build on the corrections of our mistakes whether in the craft or on the business side.

This is the hardest one for me. When discouragement or rejection creep in, it is all too easy to contemplate giving up and find something else to do with my time.

When this happens, I have a wife and close writing friends who won’t let me give up on myself or my dream. And I pray. There are times my prayer is, “Remember this was your idea.”

And his response is, “That’s right. So when are you going to get in line with me?”

How about you? What commandments work in your life?


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