I like to imagine that authors are a different breed compared to the average person. Cut from a different cloth as the saying goes.
Authors are not different in their appearance or size. They come in all ages, ethnicities, religions, and communities. So you couldn’t pick them out in public (unless you’re at a coffee shop and see someone typing next to three cups of coffee—then it’s obvious).
No, the separation is in their internal mindset and actions. What they choose to believe in, value, and do on their own.
If you’re an aspiring author, you should implement the below details in your life to take your writing career to new heights. Forget to do these things and a single one of them could derail your writing progress and leave your book unfinished.
So here’s a window into what authors do from an author. And when I mention “authors” or “they” below, I’m referencing successful authors—not your cousin who says he’s an author because he published a two-page ebook on his blog that gets no traffic.
1. They prioritize their writing time.
As I discuss in my article how to write a book, authors do wonders for their writing output by locking in a certain time to write each day. And if they don’t write at the same time every day, the first question at the top of their mind when they wake up is when do they have a window to write.
They sometimes don’t have time for happy hour or watching hours of their favorite show, but they always have time to write because they make time.
To be a good author, you put writing on same level as eating, breathing, and sleeping. This mentality assures you make consistent progress on your book and future. There’s no other way around it.
2. They read when they’re not writing.
Show me a healthy writer and I’ll show you an avid reader. Because authors need to continue reading to become a better writer. Spending time in books allows them to master words and language, try new writing styles, and find their voice.
Authors who don’t write can struggle with how to get rid of writer’s block and finding their voice if they haven’t been filled reading other people’s words.
Reading supports your writing better than anything else. (Check out the best books for writers.)
3. They take risks and bet on themselves.
No matter the style of genre, the act of writing is to put yourself out there for the public to criticize it if it chooses to. So it can be gut-wrenching to publish a blog post or book if you’re new to this.
But successful writers take the jump anyway. Because they know they need to if they’re ever going to make it.
Maybe they get scraped and bruised along the way. But they know brighter horizons are coming and they only get there by betting on themselves.
Next time you’re afraid, take the jump and see how it changes you. The best writers felt the same way, and sometimes still do, with their early work.
4. They actively seek feedback.
An idea that flows from a writer’s head to the computer screen is often raw and unpolished, as it should be on a first draft. But rookie writers often think it sounds good because they wrote it. So they don’t bother seeking feedback.
Successful authors know they’re biased when they’re in the drafting stage, so they seek out beta readers, other authors, and trusted peers to give them feedback. They rely on this feedback to refine their writing and confirm it reads as they intend it to. If it doesn’t for their test-readers, it’s a sign they need to rewrite it.
It’s far better to get feedback on a rough draft than an Amazon 1-star review after your book is published.
5. They don’t give energy to unsupportive opinions.
While they’re ready to hear constructive criticism related to their writing, authors don’t give the time of day to friends and family who discourage their writing dreams.
If it isn’t supportive, it’s out of sight out of mind. Or they avoid this situation altogether and don’t say, “I’m writing a book,” to those who wouldn’t understand it.
Authors soon know who supports them and who is a hater. They give their ears to the former and disregard the latter.
Writing a book is hard enough on its own, not to mention when people you care about are unsupportive.
6. They practice publishing their work to the world.
Unless you regress as a writer, which almost never happens, you’re going to get better as you continue writing year after year. However, this reality doesn’t mean you shouldn’t publish their blog posts and books to the public until you’re older and better.
Because the way you build a following, sell books, and improve your craft is learning through the wins and failures of publishing your work. Experience is worth more than gold, and authors don’t get it by keeping their written work to themselves.
If you write a 100 books, you might be embarrassed by book one or two. But book one and two helped you get to 100. Think about that next time you don’t know if you’re ready to hit “Publish.”
7. They have strong willpower.
It takes guts to continue to write every day, especially when the results aren’t always visible. But authors take the challenge to move forward with a smile or without one.
They recognize that part of the fun is in the journey, and with that attitude the results will eventually come.
So when they’re tired after a long day (aka writing with a day job), fighting the voice that says you can do it tomorrow, or says it’s not worth it, they have strong willpower to write anyway.
From famous self published authors to budding authors, they know how to beat the procrastinator inside of them on a daily basis.
8. They set deadlines.
Before they start writing, authors give themselves specific weekly, monthly, or completion deadlines. For example, one deadline might be to finish the first draft in one month.
To meet these deadlines, they will set firm daily goals for either writing time (write for 60 minutes each day) or word count (write 1,000 words each day).
These deadlines and daily goals provide structure so they don’t risk taking six months to write the first draft that could have been written in one month. Plus, meeting these daily goals and deadlines creates small wins to propel them in the editing and self publishing phase.
9. They stick with it for years.
It is possible for someone to write one successful book, market it like a beast, and get the full benefits of self publishing. But those who truly make strides and leave a dent write for multiple years to the tune of multiple books.
They link their books together in the same niche or they write a series. And now they become an expert in that genre. They have readers who buy and enjoy the first book go on to read all the other books. This is where deep progress is made.
With each book, authors learn from their mistakes to improve their writing, marketing, and attention to details. Experience can only be gained with time, and successful writers have the patience to stick with writing.
What do you notice authors do differently? What did I miss from this list?