Seven Secrets to Writing Success: A Writer-to-Writer Letter

A guest post by Angie Mangino.

writing successDear Writer,

I write to you today to share seven secrets that I have learned over the course of my writing career.  They have helped me, and I hope they will be of help to you.

  1. Always believe in your writing and in yourself.  Before others can believe in you, you have to believe first.  Stepping out in self-confidence goes a long way in opening many doors.
  2. Learn everything you can about your craft.  Then use what you have learned to write, re-write, and write again, to perfect it to the art that good writing is.
  3. Network with other writers, and learn from their experience, as you share what you may know.  There is no need for us as writers to re-invent the wheel.
  4. Listen to advice, but only follow the advice that resonates well with who you are, and with what goals you want to achieve.  Each writer’s definition of success is personal and unique.  Don’t ever forget that, or you’ll be overwhelmed and lost along the way.  Know yourself, be true to yourself, and define your own success.
  5. Once you achieve a little success, please don’t think you know it all.  There’s something to learn every day of our lives if our writing is to be up-to-date, strong, and effective.  Being rigid in one’s ways is how ruts begin.  Change is not a bad thing.  It can rejuvenate and inspire us to new heights.
  6. Read, read, and then read some more.  Read everything and anything you can get your hands on.  Good writing will teach you.  So, too, will poor writing, where the faults will instruct you as to where not to go in your own writing.   A writer who doesn’t read is starting down that slippery slope of thinking one knows it all.
  7. Other writers are not the competition.  Compete only with yourself to improve yourself with each new piece of writing.  Over the years, I have made some very strong connections where I learned from, and received help from, so many other writers.  I try to pass it on to other writers whenever the opportunity arises, as I am doing now by writing this to you.  If ever there is a way I may be of further help to you, know that all you need do is ask.

Wishing you every success,

Angie

Angie Mangino, a freelance writer since 1995, has published articles on a variety of subjects, essays, and book reviews.  http://www.angiemangino.com

She networks on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and is always open to meeting other writers, firmly believing writers have so much to learn from, and to share, with each other.

About Guest Author

This post was written by a guest author specifically for Emily Suess and Suess's Pieces. If you would like to pitch a guest post, contact Emily.
  • Nancy

    Thanks for the helpful list, Angie. I would add a little under number one–though it may be a matter of luck more than advice: Find a friend or partner who also believes in you. I couldn’t have believed in myself without the support of my husband and two close friends, who all kept telling me how wonderful I am.

  • Mahesh Raj Mohan

    This is all excellent advice; #4 is particularly resonant!  Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  And I totally agree with Nancy.  My family is supportive, and my wife is my sounding board.  It makes the job as writer/editor much easier!

  • http://cathykozak.com Cathy

    Thanks. Some sound advice. I especially like the suggestion to read read and read some more.

  • http://playmesomething.wordpress.com/ Carla E Bruce

    posts like these are always a great encouragement–just what i needed to hear this week. thanks!

  • http://www.emilybinder.com Emily Binder

    I have two more tips that have helped me greatly with all writing, especially blogging:

    Read Jacques Barzun’s writing book Simple and Direct.
    Use economy of words.
    Listen to a fun grammar nerd podcast called Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips.

  • Sjhigbee

    A really valuable list Angie, many thanks for the informative, enjoyable article.

  • Tim

    Really enjoyed the list, thanks. 

  • http://www.thepoetryeditor.com Mary Harwell Sayler

    Thanks for the good suggestions for writers at all levels to keep in mind – and ones I also recommend. Since we’re our own first readers, I believe in writing in whatever genre we’re most drawn to read. Also, I often encourage the poets and writers I work with to take nothing for granted, double-check facts, and look up words and topics – even if we’re sure we know.

  • Joanna Aislinn

    Excellent reminders, Angie, especially that know-it-all part. Allow me to add, no matter how awesome I think the work is, chances are, I can make it better and/or consider how someone else’s input can make it so. 

    Thanks!

  • http://www.austinbriggs.com Austin Briggs

    Love the point on other writers not being the competition, but yourself :)

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