The Number One Secret to Successful Writing
Please welcome guest author Marcy McKay with her top secret for successful writing.
You finally muster the courage to let someone else read your work. A live human being, a person who is actually qualified to share his or her opinion on your writing (unlike your Great Aunt Edna who thinks everything you do is perfect).
This individual reads your piece and gives a vague response. “It’s good. I mean, I like it, but something is missing.”
It’s similar to when you try to duplicate that delicious pizza from your favorite restaurant on your own. It tastes okay, but something still seems off – just not quite right.
So, what’s that certain spice for your writing? The recipe for literary success?
The secret ingredient is you.
That’s right. In order to succeed at writing, you must be 100% yourself on the page. This is true for fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, whether you pursue publication or not.
Are You Missing from Your Writing?
Writing is a process. It takes time, patience, and practice to excel at your craft. In fact, much more time, patience, and practice than we’d like. Sometimes, that means years. I wish I could say exactly how long it takes, but writing is an art, so it’s not defined. Everyone’s journey is different.
However, the obvious point so many people miss is that the more you write, the better you become. You’ll excel faster, too.
There are many reasons why you may be missing from your writing. They’re all variations of fear, but here are a few:
- Newbies: You’re still getting know yourself as a writer. Stop playing it safe. When you honor your dream to write, your words will thank you for it. They will be stronger, bolder, and more like the real you.
- Smarty Pants: You’re trying to sound more intelligent to impress others. Know this: you’re smart enough, right now. I’ve read amazing authors with little formal education, and I’ve read authors with MFAs in writing whose books were so bland I couldn’t finish them.
- Copycat: You’re trying too hard to imitate your favorite author. The world already has one Michael Cunningham, and he already won the Pulitzer Prize for The Hours. He’s amazing, but we don’t need another one. What readers need is you. Nobody else sees life exactly like you do (even if you have an identical twin).
Your Own Secret to Success
To be the best writer you can be—to be the real you—comes down to just one word: honesty.
If writing came with a recipe it would be one part you plus one part honesty. Mix well and enjoy success.
You, the real you, is simmering inside, waiting to be poured onto the page. Whether it’s fiction, poetry, or nonfiction.
- Your Readers Will Like You More: Your writing needs to reflect your true self. It shows when you’re faking it on the page. If you don’t like or care about what you’re writing, your readers will know it. Passion, on the other hand, is contagious. We like people who keep it real.
- Your Soul Will Like You More: Life happens 24/7 all around us—personal problems, stresses at work, financial difficulties, health struggles. Words save us; they show us and others how we feel. In return, we need to bravely write about the good, the bad, and the ugly for either our imaginary characters or in the real world. We must be true to ourselves.
How to Bring More of You to the Page
There’s a saying, “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.”
In order to achieve such intense vulnerability, you must do the following:
- Check your Gut: Our best writing comes from a deep place inside us, a place not all writers have discovered yet, but it’s there for us all. That’s where the truest, rawest, purest form of ourselves resides and where we’ll find the best writing.
- The Double T: If whatever you’re contemplating writing both thrills you and terrifies you, then you’re on the right track. It may frighten you to do so, but keep going. Otherwise, it’s not the right subject for you.
- Practice Means Progress: The more you write with such brutal honesty, the less you care about the outcome (did they like it or not?). You’ve honored yourself, and your readers will love you for it.
I hope this post helps you bring success to the page each and every time.
How honest are you in your writing? If you’re not, what do you need to do differently for greater success?
About the author: Marcy McKay is the “Energizer Bunny of Writers.” She believes writing is delicious and messy and hard and important. If you’ve ever struggled with your writing, you can download her brand new and totally FREE eBook, Writing Naked: One Writer Dares to Bare All. Find her on Facebook!