There are 10 can-do traits that an employer looks for in a prospective employee. Those same 10 traits also apply to a wanna-be author with plans to begin and finish writing their novel. Below are the 10 traits and how they apply to the novel-writing process. Do you have them all?
1. Shows commitment
- Make a schedule for writing and stick to it. Don’t make excuses. Sit your a** in the chair and write! Stop talking about writing and write. Stop daydreaming about writing and write!
2. Wears many hats
- Whether you need to be your own first draft cheerleader, social media expert, blogger, or website manager be prepared to learn many new skills.
- Enjoy wearing your characters’ hats as well. Embrace the villain with as much gusto as you do your protagonist. Writers, like actors, get to ‘play’ many different people. How cool is that!?
3. Goes the extra mile
Yeah, you do need to look up that fact and double-check information.
You must also follow agents’ instructions exactly for query sending. Make certain they represent your genre.
- Good enough is NOT good enough. From your manuscript to your query to your blogs make them as perfect as you can.
Think about genre before beginning. Plan out the plot and characters. You can always change it up but it’s easier to write when you know where-when-why-how your plot is going.
5. Have passion or a sense of purpose
- You’re more likely to finish the novel when you’re passionate about the story and characters. If YOU’RE not passionate what are the chances someone else will be??
- That passion ought to extend to the rewriting and revising and editing process. Too often I read posts and tweets about writers lamenting the revision or editing process. Why? These are an important part of novel writing, one that can make or break your story. Tackle with gusto! Be delighted when you find typos or craft a well-turned phrase!
- If you’re balancing a career or kiddos or both you must be organized if you want to stand a chance in hell of accomplishing any writing. See Making the Most of Your Writing Hours for helpful hints.
- Find the best way to catalogue research, keep track of character descriptions and traits, arrange timelines, organize notes, and methodize the queries-sending process. It’s a necessary evil that will pay off time-saving dividends in the end.
- Create self-imposed deadlines. For example, the first draft will be done in three months. I will write 2000 words a day on the weekend. Whatever your short or long term goal, be sure to set an achievable deadline for yourself. Reward yourself when you meet the goal.
8. Possess effective communication skills
- Writers have to use social media—it’s the new author normal—so be mindful of how you come across. Are your posts/tweets full of complaining or whining or self-promotion?
- Think twice before hitting post or tweet. Are your comments rife with typos, poor grammar, and unintelligible syntax? Yeah, folks are judging you.
- If you’re gonna do anything, do it right. Read blogs and how-to books, attend conferences, listen to webinars, take classes, join a writer’s group, do whatever you can to learn more about the art of novel writing. ‘Winging it’ doesn’t work and sets you up for disappointment and criticism. There’s sooooo much great free advice ( there’s lots in this website ) on the internet it’s silly not spending the time to research whatever aspect of the process you’re currently scratching your head over.
- Writing means rewriting. Period. First drafts are crap.
10. Positive attitude
- Discouragement, frustration, plot setbacks, character conundrums, and agent rejection are part of the process. If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate. We don’t like to hear that because we live in a world where we only hear about the ‘overnight’ success story. It doesn’t work that way for the other 99.9% of us.
- If you love to write, then write. Keep sending out queries. Keep trying. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!!
- Fake the positive attitude if you must!! Remember, every no brings you closer to a yes!
Which trait do you need to work on?
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