To Be a Successful Writer, Stop Thinking Your Work Has Value
The counter-intuitive approach to achieve writing success
Before I start this article, here's a disclaimer: I am not a successful writer.
All I have done is publish three books that had decent sales and some pretty amazing reviews from readers all across the globe. I have also managed to become 7x Top Writer on Medium in 45 days of writing here, and am a 2x Top Writer on Quora.
That's about it.
You probably think that I shouldn't even have the audacity to write an article with a title like that!
But then again, I know where I want to be, and I know I will make it there sooner rather than later. I am putting in work each day, so I can reach my goals. Sharing about the journey is not wrong, is it? Five years of putting my writing daily in front of millions of readers on Quora (and writing three books) have taught me some valuable lessons that I wanted to share with other writers.
In this article, I am going to share with you the one trick I follow to keep writing quality content on a regular basis. You can follow this and make steady progress on your journey towards becoming a better, more successful writer.
Your work has no value
We writers tend to be supremely narcissistic at times. If we write something, we believe that it HAS to do good, or the world will stop spinning.
We are so possessive about our art, that if it fails, we are devastated.
We start on a downward spiral of self-hate and criticism, that even when we put in our best effort, we didn't succeed. That must mean we will never make it big. All our dreams and goals will come to waste, and it's no use working at all.
Entertaining negative thoughts that your work is not good enough will do you no good.
The only way to move ahead in situations like this is to detach yourself from your work. Yes, I know you put in your best, but you cannot spend time and energy lamenting over how it failed and why you will never make it big as a writer.
Pick yourself up and write another article, another book.
If you keep pushing quality content into the world, there is no way people are not going to sit up and take notice.
What if it succeeds?
Detaching yourself from your work has another added benefit. When it succeeds, you don't get caught up in the glory of the fame and adulation you're receiving and move farther from your primary objective: writing.
If you don't let success affect you, you will be freed from the insane expectations (of the world and yourself) upon your shoulders to come up with something as good as the hugely successful piece.
Otherwise, your creativity will be hindered. Each time you try to write something new, you will hit a barrier that comes disguised as one question: Will I ever be able to recreate that magic of my first big success?
For Harper Lee, the success of her first book, To Kill A Mockingbird, was so immense and all-encompassing, that she struggled for fifty-five years before finally coming up with a new book.
That is why it is so important to detach yourself from your work to such an extent that you become rock-solid, and neither success nor failure affects you.
Keep honing your craft
It is crucial that you don't give up. If you look up on the internet, you will find several inspiring stories of bestselling authors who were rejected multiple times before finally getting published and breaking all records.
When your book is rejected by a publisher, don't throw it in the trash and blame your creativity. Publishers hire interns who skim through your synopsis. So, the person who turned down your manuscript probably did not even read the first page of your work before sending you that rejection letter.
Would you let someone like that decide your worth?
Keep pushing. Get a second opinion (from a trusted friend or a beta reader) and improve your work if need be. Otherwise, send it to another publisher. Keep contacting them until one of them accepts your manuscript.
JK Rowling sent the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to 12 different publishers before it ended up with Bloomsbury and became the highest-selling book of our times.
If your article doesn't become an instant hit with the audience or your book keeps getting rejected, consider the fact that maybe you are doing something wrong.
Maybe your core idea is excellent, but you need to present it better?
Work on it. Leave no stone unturned until you are one hundred per cent satisfied, and then start querying for publishers again.
Stephen King was so frustrated by how his book was taking shape, that he threw away all early drafts of his masterpiece Carrie before he decided to polish it. Even after that, it was rejected by 30 publishers before it was finally published and became an international bestseller.
If you want to be a successful writer, you have to pull yourself out of the bubble where you believe your work is super valuable and the world wants to read it. When you achieve that level of detachment, success, or failure will cease to affect you, and you can focus on your primary target of writing.
It is also essential to not give up if a piece you wrote was rejected for publication. You can either waste time wallowing in self-pity, or you can invest that time in honing your skills and submitting to other publications.
Either way, you have to remember that the only things more important than talent are hard work, consistency, and a dogged determination never to fail to believe that no matter how bleak the circumstances look today, you will make it big one day.