Following on from last week’s post about what makes people attend a creative writing course, I fell to thinking about what would ensure that writing success would follow for those people, and why some of those people won’t succeed.
If you’re going to succeed, there are three ingredients that you need in your toolkit if you want to go all the way as a writer. In this case, two out of three is bad, because if you’re missing one of those ingredients, chances are that you’ll fall at one of the hurdles you’ll encounter along the way.
Here is that Holy Trinity of ingredients
You need to have a way with words and an instinctive understanding of how they work. That way, you’ll be able to shape those words into descriptions that leap off the page. You need to be able to grasp the basic techniques of good writing, like characterisation, plot and point of view, and use those techniques to develop a unique writing voice. You’ll naturally develop an individual style that is hard to replicate. Best of all, you’ll be able to capture your passion for your story on the page, and that passion will transmit itself to the reader.
You’ll know you have a hunger for writing if you feel incredibly cranky for no reason, and you realise it’s because you haven’t written in three days. You’ll be driven by a longing to tell your story, and to ensure that that story is heard. When you write, you’ll feel complete, and that you are fulfilling a higher purpose. It is this hunger that will drive you through the long stretches when nothing is happening.
This is the quality that will enable you to marshal your talent and hunger and take you over the finishing line. Successful writers are focused and they are able to manage their time to ensure that they complete their writing projects. No matter what outside distractions are, they will find the time to write. They will set time aside each day to write, or if their lives are exceptionally busy, they will write wherever and whenever they can.
Talent and hunger without discipline will go unfulfilled. If you have talent and time to set aside, but no hunger, you won’t make the time to write. When all three ingredients are in perfect balance, you have laid the groundwork for writing success.
What are the ingredients that you think you need to succeed as a writer?