The Steps to Success in Creative Writing

Whether you’re a creative writing student or a hopeful writer dreaming of publication, there are steps you can take to achieve your goals.

1. Set your goal.

Some creative writers may already know what they want to write. Maybe your story has been festering in your head for a long time. Or maybe a flash of inspiration has ignited a burning desire to write. Others begin with a vague sense that they want to write something, but they don’t know exactly what it is.

If that describes you, there are steps you can take to find your story. Start with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This twelve-week program will help you reconnect with your creativity and find your path.

2. Choose the strategies that will help you reach your goal.

One of the biggest issues most writers face is finding time to write. There’s no single magic writing schedule that works for all writers. With time and practice, you’ll find your own. The book Time to Write is a gem of advice from many successful writers.

If your life is very busy, and you wonder how you’ll ever make time for writing or figure out what you want to say, Take Time for your Life by life coach Cheryl Richardson is the place to start. Her seven-step program will help you clear out the clutter and make room for what’s really important in your life. Or, if you prefer a longer run than a sprint, try her book Life Makeovers, a year’s worth of weekly focus topic and action plans to get your life in the shape you want.

Remember: the easiest way to learn anything is to find someone who already knows how and can show you. Use writers’ groups and conferences to meet successful writers whose strategies you can model. You can find conferences listed in Writer’s Market. Reading biographies or interviews with successful writers is another great way to learn what works for them. Writer’s Digest magazine is a great resource for this.

3. Observe your results.

Once you have some completed work, it’s time to get feedback from people you trust. Realize that your early efforts aren’t going to be blockbusters. That’s as it should be. Every swan was an ugly duckling once. The writers who succeed are the ones who learn something from every new draft and incorporate it into the next one. Be careful not to compare your drafts to the finished work of other writers. Only ever compare your work with your own previous work.

Listen carefully to the feedback you’re getting, whether from your trusted readers or from editors. That’s not to say you have to make every change they suggest. Listen for the message in the feedback and let your intuition tell you what your story needs.

4. Adjust your strategy

A life of writing creatively is a challenging one. If everybody could do it, everybody would. As you see what works and what doesn’t, be willing to change your strategy. You may need to try a different genre, find a new writers’ group, step out of your comfort zone to change your writing in a way you formerly resisted. Use the Recipe for Success to help you make the changes necessary to reach your goal. Success coach Anthony Robbins says, “Massive rejection is the key to success.”

This is more true of creative writing than many endeavors. No matter what challenges you face or how many times your work has been rejected, those results don’t determine your future. With a new strategy come new results. As long as you keep trying new things, you’re still in the game, and success could be just around the corner.

Find the help you need with your creative writing in the following articles:

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