Tag Archives: success

I want success, but… Do I have what it takes?

We all want to be successful. As a writer or anything else, we all like to be recognized by our work.

That recognition can also be quite scary. After all, it leaves us exposed to criticism, bad reviews, or nasty comments online. You can (and should) try to ignore them, but eventually, something will hit your nerves.

At that moment, you start to ask yourself: do I have what it takes to be successful? Stop right there!

Postponing the fear

Many writers and aspiring keep postponing their writing due to their daily responsibilities. It’s a common thought to decide to write when the kids become independent, or when you retire.

Most of the time, this decision is due to nothing else than the fear of failure.

You postpone your stories, your books, your fears… You believe you’ll deal with them later, but often, it is an illusion.

Are you talented enough?

Talent is a beautiful word to say. According to the dictionary is a “natural aptitude” to do something. You have met too many talented people in your life, and you wish you have it as well.

The first problem with focusing on talent is that it is not measurable. That makes it difficult to know if you have the gift or not. Secondly, talent is great, but it alone is nothing. Writing is what makes you a writer. Talent without production is worthless.

You must write to improve, that’s not an innate thing. You’ll write thousands and thousands of words, and most of them will be sent directly to the trash can. You will keep improving your skills until finally get your shot. Maybe, someday, you’ll see your work published and your skills recognized.

Do it and do it again

One of the biggest mistakes of beginners is to compare their work with published, successful writers. It’s evident that you should read them, you’ll learn a lot from them. Yet, let’s face it: your first draft will never be as good as their best novel.

This doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough, or that you should quit. It only means you need to train—the most as you can.

Being a good writer takes time and practice, not talent. For some people may be easier than for others, of course, but if you really commit to it, there is no stopping you.

You’ll be a good writer, with practice.

A successful writer is someone persistent enough to keep trying.

The First Page

You have a masterpiece in hand. You wrote it for months on end, maybe even years, and now you’re super excited about getting your work out there. However, you’re afraid… And you should be.

It doesn’t matter how wonderful your book is. If no one will read it, what’s the point, right? Just a tip: the first page is critical to the success of your book, so it must be impactful.


What makes people look at it?

Most people will open a book and read the first paragraph, maybe the full first page if you’re lucky. You have to use it in your favor.

When you open a book, you usually want to know what the story is about and how it’ll be told. So, the first page has to do exactly that. You can’t tell the whole story, obviously, what you should do is lead your readers to peek through a window and catch a glimpse of your story, get a slight idea for what’s going on and become curious. If they want to enter the place, you’ve done a good job.

A novel’s first page has many functions

The first page has to make your reader curious enough to keep on reading, and for that, they need two essential pieces of information: who the protagonist is and what the conflict is about. So, you need to relay this information, without revealing too much and make a good impression.

The protagonist entrance should, most of the time, be done here and should be memorable. Something about him or her has to have an impact on your readers. As a writer, you have to keep in mind, that whatever you choose to show, is critical for the impact the rest of the book will have and the way your readers will look at the story.

So, you should put yourself in your reader’s shoes and think of what would be really annoying on a first page. Then, try your hardest to avoid doing any of the things that would lead to you writing a similar thing! The first situation to have happen in your novel must be interesting enough to make them want to move onwards to page 2.

So, you should give some context to your readers. Don’t need to tell everything, just enough to make them curious. A novel is about conflict, they should have some clue in the first page as to build a notion of that conflict, through action, dialogue or interior monologue, but it must say “there is something here that might go wrong…”

An action-filled scene suddenly interrupted by another one where, someone, somewhere, somehow related to the protagonist present on the first scene, is calm and peaceful, doing something that apparently has nothing to do with the first scene, might do the trick. “What is happening here?” is the question you want your readers to ask themselves so they keep turning the pages. Meanwhile, they’re creating a movie in their heads, brimming with possibilities. You must feed that movie carefully, not too quickly nor too slowly, so they keep reading.

What do you need for a good start?

You need to begin. The start of it all. This is always the most complicated part of a project, no matter which one we’re talking about. In case of a book, the beginning doesn’t need to be the first thing to write, never let yourself forget that. Just write your story, make it as perfect as you can and eventually you’ll find a great beginning to your tale. I assure you that makes things easier.

Another common mistake that leads the writers in the wrong direction is thinking of the beginning of a story as an introduction to it. It doesn’t necessarily need to be that way. The reader doesn’t need to know everything on the first page, just enough to make them curious enough to explore more. You can choose an interesting point of the story and start there, without any explanation. You can start with a dialogue, a problem, a conflict… Think outside the box. Be creative! This will provide you with an undoubtedly interesting start to your amazing story.

Are there too many writers?

Often enough, when I say someone I’m a writer, people just look at me funny. Well, that’s when they are polite… otherwise, they’ll just say something to the tune of “Everyone is a writer nowadays.”, and, if I might ass, when someone says something like that, please, don’t argue, it’s pointless.

So, clearly there are many people who don’t value our work, but the question in the title is about more than that. Are there too many writers? Are there too many books? And, what does that means? Should we stop writing? Should we give up? Are we destined to failure?

If you like to read, you probably already saw how many of these little pieces of art and creativity are exposed in any bookstore. Each of them represents a person, just like me or you, trying to tell their tale and catch the audience’s attention. But again… If there are too many writers, are there too many mechanics? Or teachers? Plumbers? Any other profession, for that matter?

A book is something, especially one of fiction, that people use or resort to in their free time, to escape reality and expand their mind, but there are also TV shows and movies that compete for that privilege. Have you ever listened to someone say that there are way too many movies? So, yes, the competition is indeed hard, but you can fight back.

Should I even try?

When you’re writing a story, you’re competing with thousands of other stories, with books, movies, TV shows, comics… There are so many things out there and so many people creating them, so much talent you have to face, that sometimes it does seem impossible to do it.

Let’s face it: it’s really really hard. So, first off, you’ll need to ask yourself: what if…? What if it’s so hard that it isn’t worth it? What if it isn’t my one true calling? What if I can’t handle the fight? What if everything falls apart and I don’t have a plan B?

My advice would be to have a plan B. And then ask yourself all these questions. No matter the actual answers to them, what really matters is if you think it might still be worth it, then you must go through it.

What can I do to detach myself?

Obviously, there are trending themes that are helpful in order to catch the audience’s attention, but, sometimes this isn’t really the right way to go. Actually, it’s pretty important to write about something you really enjoy. It will be a better work, filled with passion and the people who will read your work, will be able to feel it.

Explore your fears and your strengths. For your first book, it could be pretty interesting for you to create a character in the story that is pretty much like yourself. No matter how good or bad the story turns out to be, you’ll gain from it, getting to know yourself better.

Another important point is the originality. No, I’m not telling you that your plot needs to be unique, you can pick up a common basis and write it in a way that makes it interesting and different. Just find a good conflict and explore it, focus on making your characters feel real and alive and the readers will be interested.

And, last but not least: trust yourself, keep writing, even in bad moments, eventually you’ll get there.

Do you want success? You alone are not enough

Writing is considering a pretty solitary job, but if you want to be successful you might have to re-think that notion.

When you want to pick some of your ideas to create a story around, you may get disappointed, because sometimes, these only truly make inside your own head, in accordance with your personal stories and experiences. So, could these ideas survive the transition to paper?

Often times they won’t. Yet, it’s hard for you to definitively say that’ll be the case, at least before countless hours of hard work, because you won’t be able to remain impartial on the matter. It could take at least several months of work until you realize the story isn’t as viable as you had though. You definitely want to try to avoid this.

So before you jump into some terrific story you might have in mind, share it with a few people, see how they react and try to make it sound more appealing. Try to sell it! Talking with other writers can be an amazing growth experience, as for once, you will feel understood!

Quiet and solitude are good when you’re working, but you need to be connected with the world. Share your experiences, talk with other writers, they currently have, or have had in the past, the same problems that you do, and sometimes they can help you cope, deal with it or even get over some particular hurdles and obstacles.

Use social media, create your own group if you’d prefer, promote meetings and events, be active and see your community grow. Believe me, this will make you feel good and have something to fall back on when things aren’t so great.