You need talent
The first thing you need to be a successful writer may seem trivial, but it’s talent. But this “talent” needs to be defined to be appreciated by the audience that reads. If a writer is able to write, he is able to publish what he writes, he is able to get a check paid for what he has written and with this check he is able to pay the bills, that’s it, then he is a talented writer. To be a successful writer you need to get published, and if you can, then it means you have the necessary talent.
Maybe it’s your ability to sell yourself, maybe your being communicative, maybe these are issues that have nothing to do with eternal classics and literature, but so be it. If you are not published you have no talent and if you do not have talent it is better to dedicate yourself to something else.
You also need to know when to give up.
After a rejection? After ten? After a hundred? Maybe? After a thousand? Here, perhaps after a thousand it is time to try other ways. Writing may not be for you.
Introduce yourself well
White beautiful, clean paper. Order font. Spacing that makes the page airy and well readable. If your manuscript is too “messed up”, rewrite it.
If your manuscript isn’t too “messed up”, it means you haven’t worked hard enough. Only God makes things perfect on the first try. Do not be lazy.
Eliminate the superfluous
Do you want to stand on a pedestal and preach? Great, get yourself a pedestal and go to the park. Do you want to write for money? Get straight to the point. And if by removing all the excess junk you find that you can no longer find the point, delete what is written and start from scratch. Or try writing something else.
Never consult the dictionary during the first draft
Do you want to write a story? Perfect. Put aside vocabulary, encyclopedia, thesaurus and antonyms. Better yet, throw them in the trash. If you want to write, write. Why waste time interrupting the creative process, losing your train of thought, distracting yourself? To check if that word is spelled right? You can do it later, postpone./p>
Do you absolutely need to know the capital of Brazil and you don’t remember it? Write Miami. Write Cleveland. You will fix it later. But if you have to write, write and do nothing else. Stop just to go to the bathroom. And only if the situation becomes really critical.
Know the market
Only a fool would post a tale about a giant bloodsucking bat terrorizing a school to a children’s newspaper. Only a fool would send the tender story of a mother and daughter with whom he tries to recover the relationship on Christmas Eve… to Playboy magazine. Yet people do it all the time. If you write a good story, why send it to a magazine that has nothing to do with it? Would you let your child out in a snow storm wearing only shorts?
Write to entertain
Does this mean you can’t write a story about serious and important issues? Not at all. Some critics have convinced the public of writers and readers that entertainment fiction and engagement cannot coexist. Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and John Steinbeck (so, to name just three) would be very surprised by this. But the commitment must still be at the service of your story.
“I’m having fun?” Always ask
The answer doesn’t always have to be yes. But if it is not always the case, it is time to jump into a new career.
How to evaluate criticism
Show your writings to a certain number of people: let’s do 10. Listen carefully to what they say. Smile and nod often. Go home and review their ratings. If all ten of your readers have pointed out the same flaw – a plot development that doesn’t work, a character that sounds fake, a narrative style that is too artificial… – intervene and change it. It doesn’t matter if you disagree: if ten out of ten tell you that it is for them, then it is. If seven or eight out of ten report the same defect, we suggest that the same be done. But if each of them makes a different criticism, you can easily give a damn.
An agent? For now forget about it
A literary agent collects about 10% of what their client earns. What is 10% of nothing? Nothing. Advertise your works by yourself. If you’ve written a novel, send cover letters to any publisher you know, enclosing a few chapters or the complete manuscript. And remember Stephen King‘s First Rule of Writers and Agents, learned from sad personal experience: Agents, you don’t need them at least until you get so good that someone decides to steal something from you. And by then you’re good enough to pick a good agent.