I don’t know why you write. I have only an idea of why I do. Most people are gifted in some area or another—having an innate knack for a certain discipline.
At the risk of sounding falsely modest, I believe I was bestowed with only one gift, and that was a bent toward writing. That doesn’t mean I was brilliant at it or didn’t require a lot of training and experience. In fact, I’m one who believes that no writer ever arrives.
I fear that if I’m not growing, I’m stagnating. Thus, I'm committed to remaining a lifelong learner.
My work, and my study of the craft, have led me to conclude that there are at least five qualities shared by successfully published writers. Here's my list. I'd love to see yours.
5 Traits Published Writers Have in Common
1. A love for reading. Writers are readers. Good writers are good readers. Great writers are great readers. Read everything you can about the craft of writing, but also read widely about virtually anything that interests you.
2. A reverence for listening. Be curious. Listen more that you speak. You'll naturally listen carefully to colleagues and people you respect in the field, but also listen to people from all walks of life and every socio-economic level. That's where ideas come from.
3. A devotion to learning. Commit to expanding your your knowledge everyday. Be insatiable about learning. A day without learning something new is a waste of 24 hours.
4. An impatience with the status quo. Never believe you've arrived. If you're not growing and improving, you're falling behind.
5. A fierce work ethic. The only way to write a book is with seat in chair. You can go to only so many writers conferences before it's time to put up or shut up. At some point, you need to do the work.
While I had a bent toward certain sports, and some people think I am instinctively funny, writing is my only gift, and so I have felt compelled to exercise it. I don't sing or dance or preach—writing is what I do.
Some say they write because they "can't not write." I know the feeling. Writers like us would write for free if we had to.
I have been asked when I knew I loved writing. I’ve never loved the writing itself. Writing is way too grueling to love. What I really love is being a writer, being known as a writer, and having written.
With what trait above do you most resonate? Is there one you would add? Click here to tell me in the comments section.
Jerry B. Jenkins