What Would a Successful Writer Do?

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Feb 15 2022

Have you read Atomic Habits by James Clear yet? If not, do so. I read it last year, twice, and I’m reading it again this year. It’s a supportive reminder of what I can be doing to make my life even better than it is. One of the questions that James loves asking is What would…? What would a healthy person do? What would an athlete do? What would a successful writer do?

When planning how to achieve your goals (because planning goals is nothing without a plan to achieve them) it’s important to ask yourself what steps you need to be taking and how you will take them. Ask yourself, what would a successful writer do.

When your friend calls to ask if you can do lunch right in the middle of your writing time, ask yourself what a successful writer would do. Does Taylor Jenkins Reid get up from her job as a writer to do lunch or does she reschedule because her writing is her commitment?

Does a successful writer quit writing after the 10th or 20th or 100th rejection letter? I doubt it. It seems to me, in my experience, that successful writers got that way because they kept writing.

How about asking yourself what the successful writer does (or did) while querying their book. Did they keep revising and focusing on the one book, or did they go on to write another and another and 25 more?

As you make your goals and plans for your writing career ask yourself what kind of writer you want to be and what a successful writer would do, or did, to get there.

3 responses to “What Would a Successful Writer Do?”

  1. Q: “What Would a Successful Writer Do?”

    A: She would buy a better grade of tequila and eschew the rough grade.

    In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy the clients are instructed to ask themselves, “what would an average person do?”

  2. For me, this question is also a good reminder (or kick in the behind) regarding promotion and marketing. As an introvert, I’m not too comfortable putting myself out there, but one of my goals (thank you, Naomi) is to do exactly that. Asked to present at a virtual SCBWI conference? Scary, yes, but what would a successful writer do? Agree, of course, so April 30th I’ll be there (along with Naomi). Selected to attend a regional book festival? What would a successful writer do? Say yes, of course. Participate in a panel for a New Jersey Library Association Conference? Yes, of course. What a great question to help push writers like myself out of their comfort zones. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    A great nudge, Jessica. It made me wonder, could you do a Q&A post where some of your authors talk about their writing habits?