Regardless of the literary genre of your books, completing a publishing project requires great conviction and strength of character.
Writing, a Black Fatigue
Dorothy Parker said: “I hate writing, but I love writing.”
This simple sentence sums up the two main phases of the writing process, in contrast and in balance between them.
First there is the writing phase, which is hard, difficult, the phase in which you are alone and you risk putting your confidence in yourself to the test. Not for nothing did Stephen King say that “writing a novel is like crossing the Atlantic in a bathtub”!
Then, however, there is the phase of satisfaction, the text is completed, perhaps still to be reviewed and far from publication, but it is finished, you wrote the end word to your first draft and you feel a sense of fullness being born within you. – let’s face it! – of (all) power. You did!
In order to survive the first phase and reach the second one, you must try to work on yourself, rather than on your texts and your style, to strengthen or acquire some character traits that can really help you live writing as a fulfilling and even commitment joyful.
The 8 Qualities of the Writer
Here, then, are the 8 character qualities necessary for the writer. If you already have them, cultivate and exalt them; if you don’t have them, well, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves!
# 1 Patience
Writing a book is not a matter of a few hours or a few days. It takes time.
If then, in addition to writing a book, you also want to write it well, then the matter gets longer and more time is needed.
It takes patience, therefore.
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)
Writing a book therefore requires patience, whether it’s your first book, perhaps written almost as a joke, or whether you want to tackle writing in a more professional way, write continuously and improve your style.
In fact, becoming a writer means applying with discipline and commitment. Without these premises, you risk throwing in the towel before publishing a single line.
You have to think of writing as any other art or sport, for which you need constant study and application for years before you can achieve meaningful results.
Because to play an instrument well we are all aware that it takes years, while for writing the most think that everything is spontaneous and immediate? No one would dream of considering himself a great pianist after a few months of lessons or strumming on the piano, yet many call themselves writers only because they have been filling a personal diary for years.
To get good results in writing, one must therefore first of all arm oneself with (holy, and so much) patience.
If you are already a patient type, it is time to bring out all your Zen calm. If patience has never been your virtue, don’t worry: you can learn to be patient.
Practicing every day. Make a commitment to read something every day and write something every day. Do writing exercises, set yourself a new goal every day.
# 2 Constance
And here is the sister of patience, constancy.
Being patient just to wait for something to happen miraculously serves no purpose.
Patience must be accompanied by constant and repeated action over time.
Set a work schedule and respect it. If you can’t write every day, make sure you write at a steady pace anyway. Not writing anything for a month and then doing a weekend full immersion doesn’t give good results. Maybe you fill many pages, but in all probability they will be pages to be deeply reviewed.
Constant work allows you to mature in your style.
Therefore, address writing as a job, a commitment that you take with yourself and respect it.
Recently, on the occasion of the release of his hundredth book, Andrea Camilleri gave some interviews. To the question: “What relationship do you have with writing?”, The Master replied: “Employee”, in the sense that every morning, as an employee who goes to the office would do, he sits there and writes.
Take therefore example from Camilleri and write consistently.
If you feel that you are not very keen on perseverance, help yourself with some trick.
For example, print a large wall calendar showing every day of the year and place a beautiful red cross on each day you can write. As you mark consecutive days you will create a beautiful chain of red crosses that you will no longer want to break.
Or set a goal (perhaps a certain number of folders or written words) and a corresponding prize so you are stimulated to reach your goal to get the gift you so desire. The psychology of reward always works!
# 3 Sociality
If it is true that writing is a solitary job, becoming an author requires the need to open up to contact with others, creating a network of relationships.
As a writer you need a circle of support made up of very different figures: relatives and friends, who know you and therefore can sense your moments of despair; fellow writers, who know what you are going through and understand the difficulties of this journey; professionals, who can help you improve your text and make it known.
So, if you are already a sociable type, reactivate and strengthen your contacts, if instead you tend to be a shy and reserved type, try to hang out with new people and talk about your project.
Many different skills are required to publish a book. You can’t do everything by yourself.
# 4 Optimism
To be a writer, you must have a positive attitude, an optimistic look at life that allows you to overcome the obstacles that you will inevitably find along the way, without losing sight of your goal.
But how do you keep seeing the positive side of things when everything seems to go wrong?
If you are an optimist by nature, trust in yourself and in the order of things will support you in difficult times. But if you are a pessimist, know that according to psychologists, optimism can be learned by changing the way we look at the reality that surrounds us.
“I will never make it!” Is an obstacle that you yourself place on your path.
Are not the intrinsic difficulties of writing enough for you? Do you have to put yourself in it too?
# 5 Resilience
If you decide to be a writer, that is if you decide to take your papers out of the drawer and have them read to others, be prepared to receive negative criticism.
It is precisely one of the first tips that Stephen King gives to those who approach writing.
Improving your style and working hard can help you to appreciate and receive praise and appreciation, unfortunately, however, there will always be someone you don’t like, who will criticize you and cool your enthusiasm.
This is why it is important that you learn the art of resilience, ie the ability to absorb shocks without breaking you.
So stay on your way and keep your goal.
If you receive constructive criticism, accept it with humility and work hard to improve yourself; if, on the other hand, you receive free criticism, slide it over and let it slide down.
You look up and keep going up.
# 6 Concentration
We have said it and here I repeat it: even if you commit yourself, you will not please everyone. There will always be someone who your book won’t like.
So stop thinking about what people will say, worry if your mother will be hurt reading in your books about things you didn’t know, being afraid of offending someone’s sensitivity.
If you really believe in the message you want to communicate, if you really feel the need to tell a story, focus on it and tell it.
At the same time stop wanting to imitate someone else’s style, to write following the literary fashions of the moment. If it is not your style, if it is not your kind, what you write will be cold, impersonal and ineffective.
So focus on your goals and on finding your own narrative voice.
# 7 Determination
Writing a book can be a long journey. If, in addition to writing it, you also want to publish it and promote it, then this march becomes a real marathon.
All your determination is needed to get to the end and not get lost in the street or stop exhausted with shortness of breath.
Do you really want to write? Do you really want to make your stories known to the world? And why?
Ask yourself these questions and answer them sincerely. In fact, only if your basic motivations are solid can you get to the bottom.
To support your determination and stand the physiological temptation to drop everything, help yourself with a detailed action plan: set your goal in writing and a date to reach it. Then break down the general project into short stages, each dedicated to achieving an intermediate goal.
For example, you can set a period for the design of your text, a period for researching and collecting materials, then you can set daily or weekly writing targets, measured in number of folders or words, and finally you can define how long it will be necessary for the text review phase.
Set deadlines and commit to respecting them. This will further stimulate your determination in a virtuous circle of energy and willpower.
After all, even a marathon is taken one step at a time.
# 8 Generosity
Finally, writing is an act of generosity towards the world.
Some think it is more an act of selfishness and vanity than those who want to show off and receive praise.
I do not deny that in some cases vanity is the main motive for so many texts, but I know for sure that books can help those who read them.
A manual can teach something practical (cooking, playing sports and even writing better), but even a fiction book can be useful.
How many times have I read a novel and found in its pages a story that seemed to speak to me, which seemed to be written just for me, which made me realize that I was not alone, that what I felt was acceptable or, on the contrary, that I was wrong and I had to repent.
Write therefore with a spirit of generosity and sharing, because with your books you can teach something or give emotions to your readers. And it is a task that alone can justify all the effort of writing.
Books always teach something. Writing is therefore an act of generosity towards the world.
Developing these 8 skills can really make the difference between seeing your name printed on the cover of a book and throwing in the towel at the first moment of fatigue. As you have seen, however, these 8 qualities do not concern writing in the strict sense, linguistic tools, narrative technique, but rather your character and your attitudes.
The point is indeed this: to be a better writer you have to be a stronger person.