3 Things Successful Writers Have in Common

Don’t Clip Your Wings

bpwAs the host of Back Porch Writer: The show for writers, about writers, and writing, I have the pleasure of learning from an amazing variety of writers, editors, publishers, marketing, and publicity experts. After over a year of interviews, I can tell you that they all have this advice in common:

1) Go after what you want. No one can do it for you.

Is it easy? No.

Is it necessary? That depends how hungry you are.

The one thing that distinguishes a published writer (self/indie or traditionally) from an unpublished one, is a burning desire to make something happen. That burning desire is the same thing that drives successful entrepreneurs, the street hustler, and, if you have young children, their insatiable need to find answers to everything, or focus intently on creating something, from the cardboard box that cool toy you bought them, came in. It’s not luck. Sure, luck has something to do with it, but it’s not the key ingredient.

2) Raise your expectations. For yourself.

If you’ve never watched Stand and Deliver, do it. Now. Well, not now, now. Finish reading this post first. Jaime Escalante said it best. Check out this clip.

Your desire to write and to publish must be stronger than your fear of rejection/failure. Rejection is nothing more than one editor, or agent’s, subjective opinion about the salability of your work. It’s not necessarily a reflection of the quality of your work.  A quick Google search yields a great list of literary giants who received numerous rejections from agents and publishers.

Let’s not forget one very important detail: Publishing no longer belongs in the hands of The Big Publishers. The publishing landscape is changing daily. Check out Author Earnings. You and your potential readers are in the driver’s seat.

Fifty Shades of Grey started as fan fiction. Whether you like the book or not, the author’s desire sent the series soaring.

No successful entrepreneur or street hustler puts all his eggs in one basket.

3) Sculpt Your Future

Now, more than ever, you have the unique opportunity to take control of your writing life — if, you have the desire. You are the sculptor.

Do you wake up ready to go after it? If you answered no, then you’ve clipped your wings.

How can you increase your desire?

  • Make and post a list of rewards for accomplishing your goals.
  • Observe other successful people (in and out of your field.)
  • Clip pictures that remind you of your goals. Post them where you can see them.
  • Visualize yourself being interviewed about your books. Is Oprah interviewing you? Are you on The Today show?
  • Use affirmations.

I’m sure there are other ideas. Post your suggestions in the comments. And, if you’d like to be a guest on Back Porch Writer, or write a post for the site, shoot me a message. I’d love to hear your ideas!


Kori Miller is an author, entrepreneur, and podcaster. She welcomes guest bloggers via two of her websites: Kori Miller Writes and Back Porch Writer.
Her book, Deadly Sins: A Dezeray Jackson Mini-Series, was released in 2014.


Making the Great Novels into Your Own

*Today’s essay is from Fine Lines Senior Editor Stu Burns

Writers Read, Right?

A while back I read the first draft of a friend’s novel then punched out my critiques and advised her to read more novels. This would give her a sense of how she could finish her work and take it to a more mature conclusion. That was the diplomatic version. Privately, I was wondering if she had ever read a novel. As I typed, I looked at the reflection in my monitor’s glare and realized I was staring at a hypocrite.

reading quote

I was trying to write my own novel at the time, an entry in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) creative project I’d floundered on the previous November. I am a voracious reader, but mostly of nonfiction; I will argue all night that the life of Moe Berg is more interesting than anything J.D. Salinger ever wrote. Novels had never been something I looked forward to. When I read them, it was out of obligation, either for school or after years of prodding.

If I was going to be able to write my own fiction, I had to read novels and like them. In other words, it was time I indulged in outright thievery. There is a much-abused quotation from T. S. Eliot:

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Writing Fast or Slow? It’s Personal

*Today’s Guest post is by senior Fine Lines editor and author Margie Lukas

I consider myself a slow writer.

WL_farthest-house_2For me, the deepest connections in Farthest House came over time. I worked on the novel for seven years, though the ideas had been swimming in the back of my mind for a few years even before I put a #2 pencil to yellow legal paper. Which doesn’t mean I did nothing else in that time. As it simmered, I worked on other writing projects.

Grace of Time

Writing slow gave me the time to think and rethink plot lines, discuss them with others and consider fully my objectives. I asked myself over and over, “Is there a better way? What does this achieve, and what might that achieve?”

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5 Things a Writer Should Never Do

*Today’s guest Blog is by author and Fine Lines editor Marcia Calhoun Forecki

There are plenty of blogs for writers which are positive. Bloggers giving advice on the six things every writer should know about combating writer’s block, seven things to jump start your creativity, or eight ways to end a sentence without using a preposition. And although no one likes a negative Nelly, today I’m taking that honor and talking about:

Five things a writer should never do.

  • Never plagiarize. That one is pretty obvious. If there’s a code for writers it has to be do your own work.


  • Never think you will remember a great idea or sentence in the morning. This does not happen. Between the time the idea comes to you at night while brushing your teeth before bed, or while tossing and turning before sleep, many things can happen. In one night alone, you can lead a brigade of dragons to save the kingdom’s supply of toilet paper, lunch with Mary Todd Lincoln and your high school band teacher, or even kiss your first true love while he turns into Mr. Peanut. Who could be expected to remember a sentence or even a great idea after all that action.

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My Top 5 Reasons Writing is Better than Sleeping

*Today’s Blog is by Fine Lines editor and contributor Rhonda Buckhold

Sleepless Nights

papersBeing diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), sleepless nights is a topic for which I am uniquely qualified. It is hard to shutdown an overactive brain. Many of my nights are spent writing, journaling, or list making. Writing is a great way to pass the time. These are my top 5 reasons that writing is better than sleeping.

Reasons From 5 to 1

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