13 January 2012

Surround Yourself with Successful Authors

So, continuing along the line of posting my writer's tips, I'd like to put forth an opinion of mine and fish for a little feedback.

As a writer, it's ultimately your choice as to how you fare in the end. Yes, yes, I know...those looking for an agent are dependent on an agent actually accepting them, and of course, publication with a major publisher...

But all of these things are end goals, and getting there is what you have control over.

So, one thing I would highly encourage any writer truly wishing to reach their goals is to surround themselves with successful writers they know. Hang out with them, seek out their feedback on issues you're facing, and take their advice to heart. Now, it depends on the amount of success an author has (most of us aren't going to be sitting down for tea and conversation with J.K. Rowling, for example), but I've found that most authors enjoy hanging out with other authors, even if they've gotten a measure of success.

The alternatives are where I see many authors go awry. They often like hanging out with other writers who aren't serious about their craft, and then wonder why they don't end up progressing in their own journey. These writers are those who spend twenty years working on their grand masterpiece of a novel, or have started thirty different novels and have never gotten past the third chapter, or constantly show up to writer's meetings without ever having written anything to share (no offense to anyone who may be bearing witness to those, and reading this post).

But if you're serious about a career as a writer, this is not where you want to get your motivation and your advice. You want to hang out with those who've gotten contracts, those who have publications under their belt, and those who have reached the level of success you wish to attain. Because ultimately, those are the ones who know the path to get there and can lead you across the Red Sea, Moses-style.

Listen to what they have to say. Take their advice on your writing, and apply what you learn. Above all else, surround yourself with as many of these successful authors as you can stand...because it's ultimately about increasing your chances of reaching that same level with your writing.

As always, comments, criticisms, and general discussions are more than welcome!


  1. .... Are you suggesting you can part waters with a pencil for me? :-P Great post!

  2. Sage words of wisdom! Looking back at the journey I've taken so far, I've grown from 0 author friends to now over 25. Many of these authors I value their opinions and advice greatly (ahem, you included). And I can see the difference my association with them has done, in my writing as it (hopefully) improves with each re-reading, criticism/critique, edit, and, in turn, with each new novel I push out. My naivete in the literary world has also outgrown itself and 'developed' since I first started out...and continues to change, evolve, and fine-tune itself.

    And, no better place but here to say thanks again for all your advice and input!

  3. A lot of it (talking to other writers) is also about realizing that you aren't going through the trials and tribulations alone.

  4. Munkie, I've never tried...but I think I just found something that I'm going to have to do at dinner... ;-P

    TK, that's definitely the truth. I've (for better or worse) been in this business for a long time and have made a lot of friendships and other associations. Many have been beneficial, for the reasons I posted and for the reason you mentioned. Others I've had to either reduce my interactions with or break off contact altogether...mostly because it became obvious their goals and aspirations were not aligned with my own.

    Kerry, definitely right! Though I would be quick to point out that the realization is one thing...some authors, though, have this need to constantly wallow around in the trials and tribulations. I think I see another future blog post......

  5. One's definition of success is key here. I think a "successful" writer - like you mentioned - is someone who is writing and making forward progress. So if you're saying hang out with those who are moving the same direction you are, then I'd agree. If you mean hang out with writers "more successful" than you (in terms of sales or popularity) then "they" (taking that same advice) wouldn't want to hang out me those who are "less successful" than they are (in terms of sales and popularity). See what I'm saying? :)

  6. ...hang out with me (for example, or) those who are ...

  7. I'd say do a little of both...it's good to hang out with those who are more successful than yourself, but also hang out with those who are serious enough about their craft that they'll eventually get to where you want to be. The hazard (as mentioned in the post) is in being surrounded by those who aren't serious about their writing.


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