Becoming a Successful Writer

16 Expert Tips to Help You Become a Successful Writer

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

Becoming a successful writer is a bit of a process. For most of us, it’s something that isn’t going to happen overnight. So, what can you do to push yourself to reach those goals and aspirations of success?

Actually, that really comes down to what you view as “successful.” That’s because everyone’s idea of what that means is going to be completely different.

For some, it’s all about driving that Bugatti or living in a million-dollar mansion. For others, it’s simply being able to keep the bills paid and the mortgage covered.

I know a writer or two who view themselves as “successful” simply because they have a handful of readers every day on their blog.

For the most part, “success” is a subjective term. That’s perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give any new writer.

Yet, there are things you can do today that will improve your chances of success regardless of what you write.

How to Become a Successful Writer

Whether you’re trying to build a popular blog or looking to acquire several, high-paying clients, success as a writer comes down to effort.

Like everything else in life, you’ll get out what you put in when it comes to writing. And thanks to the power of the Internet, there is very little that can stand in your way other than yourself.

What can you do to build a successful career as a writer?

1. Define Your End-Game Goals

First of all, think about what your ultimate goals are as a writer. This will have a direct impact on everything you create and the time you spend creating.

For instance, what if you want to replace a full-time income from a blog? You’ll need to spend adequate time researching SEO, different ways to make money online, and providing a good flow of content for potential readers.

Knowing what success means to you will spearhead your efforts as well as the steps you’ll need to take to reach your goals.

2. Get the First Draft Written

Your first draft is not the piece of content you’re going to publish. Whether it’s a blog post, the first chapter of your book, or even an article written for a client, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Too many people get hung up on trying to make the first draft as polished as possible. What usually happens is that a writer spends an inordinate amount of time on this first draft.

This is what made me such a successful freelance writer when using content mills. Instead of focusing on making it absolutely perfect, I would crank out the content, perform one or two proofreading edits, then submit the article.

My point is that you need to worry more about just getting the first draft written. Afterward, you’ll make edits and polish up the text.

3. Use Blocks of Time Wisely

One of the most common things that hold a lot of writers back is a lack of time management. Even I have had issues with this in the past.

To some extent, I still do. But I still manage to make my clients happy while hammering out several thousand words per day.

Having a specific block of time dedicated to writing, in general, can make a world of difference. This is when you put away the phone, get off social media, and focus on what you want to write.

4. Be Consistent and Build Good Writing Habits

If you want to be a successful writer in any capacity, you’ll want to build good habits for writing. After all, you want to write, right?

Consistency is a key element of success regardless of your goals. The more steadily and consistently you do something, the more likely it’ll become second nature after a while.

Good writing habits can help you reach pinnacles of success you never thought possible. In fact, I would never have thought I would be where I am today back in 2012 when I started as a writer.

5. Diversify Your Writing

It’s the 21st century, and there are a lot of avenues you can travel for a writing career. Self-publishing, blogging, freelance writing…there is a slew of possibilities out there.

You don’t have to just focus on one particular method for writing. In reality, that’s the entire gist of WriterSanctuary.

There are many, many ways you can accomplish any writing goal. All it takes is knowing what you want to do and then taking to Google.

The reason I bring up diversifying yourself is so that you can:

  • Practice your writing in many ways
  • Build up an audience or client base
  • Create several streams of revenue
  • Experience other writing forms, which may be better for you

6. Continue to Learn All That You Can

Never assume that you “know enough” to succeed as a writer. There is always something new to learn or new practices to put into place.

This is especially true if you plan on creating a popular blog. Google is constantly evolving, which means you need to keep your thumb on the pulse of SEO.

I spent hours upon hours researching everything I could about writing in AP Style English. Nowadays, I am constantly researching how to become a better author.

Take some courses, subscribe or follow helpful blogs (like this one), watch videos from experts in your field…keep yourself in a constant state of self-improvement.

7. Participate in Writing Groups

Social media isn’t all that grandiose of a dumpster fire. Sure, it can feel like it most of the time. But participating in groups on Facebook, joining writing communities on Twitter, and other platforms can be of great help.

Most of the time, the people within these groups center on helping you develop into the best writer you can be. Being part of a community of like-minded individuals is like being surrounded by supportive friends – most of the time.

While you will undoubtedly come across some trolls here and there, most expert writers will help you succeed.

8. Read More Than You Write

If you want to create good content, you need to read good content. This shows you how it’s done and what other people have created to succeed for themselves.

The point isn’t to copy their success outright. It’s to consume and process what makes a good writer.

Now, keep in mind that what is determined “good” is subjective. For example, not everyone loves Stephen King, but he’s my favorite author.

Read about the things you find interesting in your niche or genre. What makes their content successful from the perspective of readers or clients?

If you don’t read, you’re missing out on a lot of practical knowledge. Simply studying someone’s materials can ultimately affect yours in a positive way.

9. Create a Strong Online Presence

The whole purpose of becoming a successful writer is to reach an audience. Otherwise, you might as well just stick to a journal.

Nowadays, reaching that audience requires a bit of an online presence. The extent of this presence depends on your goals. But you’d still want to reach as many people as possible.

When I began my journey as a freelance writer, it was one of my goals to take over the entire first page of Google for my name. Thanks to the work I do with several clients, blogs, and my social presence, I kicked the lawyer and doctor off the top 10.

Though, I have no doubt I could do far more with social media.

My point is that getting your name out there is how you get noticed. Interact with readers, participate in discussions, and do what you can to get yourself out there in the world.

It could result in some amazing experiences.

10. Use a Test Audience for Feedback

Part of being a successful writer is knowing how to engage your audience. From blogs to books, feedback is incredibly valuable, especially if you’re new to writing.

For aspiring authors, you can get a lot of insight from your beta readers. As a blogger, inspire commenting or have a friend peruse your work before publishing.

Not everything you create is going to land well with your audience. Getting feedback can ultimately improve your content regardless of what you’re creating.

Case in point, I got a lot of valuable insights from my beta readers for my next book. The result is putting together an even better book that I am extremely excited to publish.

11. Be Patient with Yourself

Perhaps one of the most prominent points of becoming a successful writer is to be patient. Everyone advances at their own pace.

Take me, for example. My goal this year is to crank out one million words across blogs, books, clients, and YouTube scripts. However, not everyone has the time or capacity to do this.

That’s OK; remember, true success is centered around your perception of that success.

Don’t try to keep up with someone else’s productivity. We are all unique and have our own methods of doing things. What works brilliantly for one person may not work all that well for another.

Try not to get overly frustrated with yourself, especially if you’re aiming for instant gratification. It might take time for you to build momentum as a writer.

5 Things You Shouldn’t Do as a Successful Writer

So, I talked about tips to help you become a successful writer. What about the things you shouldn’t do?

After all, there is a right and wrong way to do just about everything in life, and writing is no different. Let’s take a look at some things that won’t help you along the way.

Don’t Burn Yourself Out

First, don’t push yourself too hard. It’s easy to burn yourself out when trying to accomplish incredibly high goals. The end result might be that you wind up hating writing.

This is one of the biggest reasons why I always suggest creating goals based on your past performance.

Don’t Sacrifice Quality for Quantity

As a writer, it’s not about how much you create. Success is about the quality of what you publish. Most people and clients would rather read a single, brilliantly written piece of content over a handful of half-assed articles or stories.

For example, I am taking my time with my next book as I want it to be the best story I can publish.

Trying to cram in as much as possible as quickly as you can often lead to mistakes, missing vital information, and make for poor reading.

Don’t Buy Into “Instant Success” Courses

The Internet is full of courses that “guarantee” success. The problem is that no expert can guarantee that you’ll be a successful writer.

There are simply too many variables at play ranging from your style of writing to your target audience.

Now, there are courses that will affect how you write that are worthwhile. But try to avoid anything that claims an instant guarantee.

Value knowledge, not shortcuts.

Don’t Use AI to Write for You

The moment you start using artificial intelligence to “write” your manuscript, you are no longer a writer. You are an app user.

Some forms of AI can be helpful, such as Grammarly’s proofreading or when finding good keywords and discovering search intent for blog posts.

However, there needs to be a line drawn if you want to claim yourself as an actual writer.

Don’t Succumb to Impostor Syndrome

One of the most difficult problems to overcome for writers is that of impostor syndrome. Many of us don’t feel worthy of success and have a hard time believing we can achieve greatness.

Not having faith in yourself or believing in your abilities as a writer will hold you back from being successful.

It’s not the easiest thing to deal with, and most will have varying degrees of severity. Nonetheless, you can’t let your doubts prevent you from becoming the best writer you can be.

Am I Successful as a Writer?

One of the most difficult parts of being a writer is getting out of your own head. Once you stop dwelling on the negative and embrace the positive, good things tend to happen.

Do I consider myself successful as a writer? In most cases, I’d have to say yes. This is because I have been able to meet all of the goals I’ve set for myself since 2012.

Sure, there are several things I am currently working on to keep me moving forward. But at the end of the day, I am still accomplishing nearly everything I set out to do.

as a freelancer

Since 2012, I’ve submitted tens of thousands of articles for clients around the globe. Although much of that was as a ghostwriter for clients, I am still proud of my accomplishments.

That’s perhaps one of the biggest key elements to having confidence in yourself. Whenever I start feeling a bit of doubt when dealing with clients, I remind myself of what I’ve accomplished over the years.

It took a long time for me to break out of that shell, in the beginning. Nowadays, I know how successful I am as a freelancer, and it shows in my level of confidence.

as a blogger

One of my greatest accomplishments thus far is helping a client go from around 20,000 visitors in a six-month stretch to well over 1.2 million in a very short amount of time.

This was from a combination of content writing, strategies, and updates. Each day, I am reminded of what I’ve done for clients and the type of content I produce. And like freelancing, this also plays into boosting levels of confidence.

Although it’s true that I’ve never put the same amount of effort into my own blogs as I do clients, that’s all going to change.

So, would I consider myself a successful blogger? Well, yes. Mostly because success to me from sites like WriterSanctuary is merely helping people in their own writing journeys. And I’ve done that in spades.

as an author

I’m still relatively new to self-publishing. However, I have a great sense of pride in my first book, A Freelancer’s Tale.

It’s not because I’ve made money from the book, because I’ve sold fewer than 100 copies. It’s because I actually finished a book and had it published.

In this case, I feel I am successful because I did something that a lot of people just talk about…wrote and published a book.

The confidence that came with publishing my first book is what’s driving me to finish the second. And third. As well as all of the other creative works I put in the time to write.

Writing is More than a Word Count

There is a lot more to being a successful writer than just putting out a ton of words every day. You also have to find a way to connect with your audience.

This is true regardless of the type of writing you want to explore. Blogging, authoring, and even freelancing success depend on whether an audience accepts your work or not.

Without an audience, your work sits idle and unread.

It’s true that a lot of my goals focus on writing a certain number of words every day, month, and year. But I also focus on creating the best piece of content I can regarding the topic.

Keep in mind that just because you slap out 1,000 words per hour doesn’t mean people are going to read your blog post or book.

In fact, I have quite a few articles that don’t get much attention. That’s because sometimes what you create isn’t going to perform well with your target audience.

That’s OK, though. As long as you’re working to improve quality and put something out there to try, you’ll eventually find your groove.

But until you finish that blog post or novel, you’ll never know just how far your writing can take you.

What Does Success Mean to You as a Writer?

There are a lot of wheels turning when it comes to being a successful writer. Just remember that success is a subjective term. What you view as success is going to be different from everyone else.

However, you still need to put in the effort to reach any of your writing goals. And it all starts by making the decision to become the best writer you can be.

What kinds of things would you like to accomplish as a writer, and what kinds of things do you like writing most?

Michael Brockbank
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