Man typing feverishly, ideas rising into the air like burning smoke.

8 Traits of Successful Writers

Written by: Jerry Jenkins

Whether you're a beginner or have been at it for decades, writing well is hard work.

For me, it can be as exhausting as physical labor. After writing and publishing nearly 200 books, that still surprises me.

Maybe you write — or want to write — to make a difference. You have something to say—a message you believe God has called you to share with others.

But that desire to make a difference can itself lead to self-imposed pressure, which leads to fear that:

  • Your writing will never be good enough
  • You'll be rejected
  • You'll prove you really can't write
  • The competition is too great

The nearly endless list of writer's fears leads to procrastination, which often leads to the dreaded writer's block.

If you suffer from writer's fear, you're hardly alone. It's the number one malady I hear about from writing students all over the world.

No magic formula instantly turns you into a successful writer — it's a lifelong process.

But start with this revolutionary approach to writer's fear: Embrace it! Acknowledge that it's valid. We have reasons to fear. The competition is too great.

But rather than let those legitimate fears paralyze you, channel them into motivation to always do your best work. Remain a lifelong learner, and give every writing project your absolute best.

Successful writers share the following traits. Work on developing these, and you too can succeed.

Successful writers are:

  1. Self-Disciplined:They show up, regardless of how they feel, and put words on the page every day. They strive to constantly learn and grow in the craft.
  2. Avid Readers: Writers are readers. Good writers are good readers. Great writers are great readers.
  3. Thick-Skinned: Every piece of published writing is a duet between a writer and an editor, not a solo. Successful writers accept input from professionals who want to see them succeed.
  4. Concise: They omit needless words, learning that cutting almost always adds power.
  5. Ferocious Self-Editors: They never settle for, "That's the best I can do." They aggressively self-edit, never submitting work with which they're not entirely happy.
  6. Prompt: They hold deadlines sacred.
  7. Think Reader-First: They know their job is to tell a story so compelling, so memorable that readers are hooked from the get-go.
  8. Creative: Successful writers paint word pictures so vivid that readers forget they're reading and are transported.

Don't expect overnight success.

Writing is grueling, exhausting, time-consuming. If it isn't, you're probably not doing it right. But the effort is worth it.

Dreamers talk about writing. Writers write.

Find out what options you have for continuing your education and learning more about a future career in this exciting field!

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