by Kathy Harris
Someday … I’ll write a novel. How many times have you heard someone say these words? Maybe it was you. Or perhaps you’ve written a novel-or two or three or more-and your goal is to be published. Or multi-published. Maybe you want to hit the New York Times Bestseller list. Whatever your dream, it’s time to set out to achieve it. Today. Not someday.
Before you begin, take time to define what you want to accomplish. Motivational coach, musician, entrepreneur, and author Robin Crow advises, ‘Before you begin, be sure you’re leading yourself down the right path, with the right goals.’ If your goal is to write a novel or build a writing career, let’s talk about a few common characteristics of those who accomplish similar goals.
Writers who are successful have self-discipline. As much as we may love to write, it’s still hard work. Perhaps the more creative we are, the more creative our excuses to put our writing aside for an hour, a day, a week. That’s why forming the habit of writing-making it part of our daily routine-is important. Schedule your writing time and stick to it. Some days we may be more attracted to the pile of laundry in the corner of our closet than the plot twist in our romance manuscript. But anybody can do laundry. Not everyone can write a book. If you’re going to prove yourself as a writer, you’ll need self-discipline.
Be responsible. Contracted authors work on deadlines. Even if you’re not writing on contract, you can practice responsibility. Offer to write guest posts for other writers’ blogs. Enter contests with deadlines. Set word count goals. Every time you meet a deadline you’re reinforcing the idea that you can do this-write that book, get published, hit that bestseller list. You’re also gaining a reputation for responsibility that won’t go unnoticed among editors and agents in the publishing community.
Successful writers dream big. They’re willing to face their fears, their doubts about themselves, and to put themselves-along with their work-out there. They join critique groups, submit to contests, and query agents and editors. They don’t let rejection stop them for long. They bounce back, focusing on their goals. It takes courage to deal with adversity. Be courageous. God doesn’t want us to be shy with His gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. (1 Timothy 1:7 MSG).
Finally, successful writers persevere. Talent is important but persistence is essential. And, although it may seem contrary, along with persistence you must have an intentional desire to wait for God’s timing. You must be willing to watch for His leading. Many successful authors will tell you that some of their best selling books happened when they put aside the story they had planned for the story they felt led to write.
So … what are you waiting for? Someday you want to write a novel. That journey begins today.
Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville entertainment business. Her debut novel, The Road to Mercy, was released by Abingdon Press. She regularly interviews literary and music guests on her blog at www.DivineDetour.com. Follow her on Twitter @DivineDetour.