essential writing skills

The ONE Essential skill for Success

One skill that will help you dominate your market

Sometimes writers or writer-wannabees think Great Talent is essential for success.  They believe one must be born with an innate gift with words.  These blessed writers succeed.  If you’re not so gifted…. Stinks for you.

Like genius, talent is rarely all it’s touted to be.  Unless it’s combined with other skills, it can be more of a detriment than a blessing.

Educators say that you can be trained to write.  I agree.  There are rules of successful writing and if you follow those rules and practice, you can certainly become a skilled craftsman with words.

But that alone, will not bring you success.

I’m convinced the essential skill necessary for success in writing—as well as many other endeavors—is persistence.   Stick-to-it.  Gritty determination to stay with the project until it’s mastered.

That doesn’t sound nearly so pleasing as, “Oh, what a talented author!”  Or “The words flowed so skillfully!”  But the truth is: behind that talent and skill lies a whale of a lot of practice, training, and persistence.

It takes persistence to get up and write day after day.  Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outlier, says it takes 10,000 hours to master something.  Ten thousand hours.

If the average person works 40 hours a week… and that’s WORKING at mastering a skill… he or she will have put in 2080 hours at the end of the year.  Not coffee breaks, not checking emails—working.

If you put in 20 productive hours a week, in 10 years you will have mastered the skill.  Um.  And that’s the skill of writing.

Then you have to market.  The most exciting piece of writing will not find a broad audience without marketing.  Who will buy your masterpiece?

Thus, you enter another apprenticeship to gain skills in query letter writing, cover letter writing, finding agents, or publishers, learning how to self publish, finding businesses looking for copywriting…. And so on.

I don’t mean to be doom and gloom.  Writers do write good stuff.  They find places to sell it.  And some do it in MUCH LESS than 10 years.

But the pathway to writing for income is littered with souls who had talent and training… but could not stay the course.  They lacked persistence.

You can find persistence in several ways:

1. Don’t expect instant success.  Cut yourself some slack.  Give it time.

2. Believe in yourself and your work.  Believe that as you keep writing, you are gaining skills that will put you head and shoulders above the competition.

3. Find a support group that will be your kindly critic and exuberant cheering section.

4. Redefine success.  Make it producing work, practicing craft, researching, instead of selling. (At least until you have your 10,000 hours in.)

5. Know, know, KNOW that if you just keep writing and improving, Success WILL Come!

Continue reading...