In an age of billion-dollar startups and seemingly overnight successes, it’s easy to overlook the hard work that came before the glory.
As an author, it’s also equally easy to fall into the trap of feeling unlucky or untalented. You might think that your writing is subpar, you were born in the wrong region of the world, or you didn’t make the right friends.
However, in order to pursue success, you can’t rely on chance.
You need to be an active participant in your life if you want to reach your literary dreams.
Here we are going to show you 5 lifestyle choices that bestselling authors have made in their own pursuit of success.
1. Make Habits and Follow Them
“ The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.” – Steven Pressfield
We are shaped by what we do, and if we do something repeatedly, then it carves deeper into us.
If our habits are beneficial, then our lives will be better for them, with the opposite being just as true.
You don’t want to confuse habits with rules, because one is easy to break. Of course, in the beginning, you may need to give yourself a rule such as:
“Once a day, I will focus one hour only on advancing my career as a writer.”
The ultimate goal is for your discipline to kick in, and turn this rule into a hard to kick habit.
2. Write Every Day
“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” ― Jodi Picoult
There has never been a truly great writer that hasn’t put hours into their craft. If you want your name to join the literary greats, then your clock started ticking.
There will be days that you don’t feel up to it.
There will be days when you can only write one word over and over.
There will be days when you don’t want to get out of bed because it’s too warm.
Unfortunately, none of these excuses matter, because in order to be a writer, you have to write. And the best way to become a better writer is to write more.
Set aside a time in the day and start small. You can keep it under 500 words at first, and before you know it, you’re banging out 1,000 words before you finished your coffee. The key is to start, and once it’s become a habit then keep increasing the word count.
If you’re struggling to think of what to write then check out our article, 8 Ways to Come Up With Ideas When You Have Nothing to Write About.
3. Make Time to Read
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” –Stephen King
You probably knew that reading more would be on the list. Well, you’re right!
By reading more, you’re broadening your horizons, by being exposed to different techniques, formatting, and style. The more you read the more knowledge you have at your disposal.
Reading more can also make certain ideas and writing rules click in your head. Maybe after seeing it for the millionth time, you realized why your English teacher focused so much on the oxford comma. Maybe you finally saw someone properly use a semicolon; making you certain that you want to continue not using them.
The more content you take in, the more you can evaluate where your own writing stands.
4. Push the Boundaries
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”–Robert Frost
Sometimes you have to shock yourself if you want to shock your reader.
When A Song of Ice and Fire’s first book Game of Thrones was adapted into a television series, it was launched alongside a number of other dark fantasy shows that had the same target audience and a healthy budget.
However, Game of Thrones destroyed its competitors. Mainly because it killed off a major character that anyone new to the series thought would have plot armor to protect them until the end.
This shocked readers and viewers, making it not only a memorable moment, but broadened the audience base for an entire genre.
5. Explore the World
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” –Henry David Thoreau
When we say explore the world, it doesn’t have to be a grandiose adventure across the globe, it can take place in your backyard.
The old saying is to “write what you know”, and as sage advice goes, that’s a great one.
But if you try to get more experiences out of life, then you’ll have more experiences to draw from when it’s time to put pen to paper.
This lifestyle choice might be the hardest to implement because it means pushing past your comfort zone to see the world from a different perspective.