Future best-selling authors don’t spring up out of nowhere, they’re alive and breathing as we speak. They’re out there, right now, getting kids ready for school, driving to the day job or composing another blog post.
If you consider yourself a future best-seller, or if you’re working on your creative long game, then maybe you should make use now of the time you have?
What to do if you’re planning on writing for decades:
Write every day. If you don’t, then at least write regularly. Treat your art with respect and understand that it takes a lot of practice to be excellent. The most successful authors of the future aren’t afraid to put in the hours to achieve their dreams.
Take your social media seriously. Future best-sellers understand that engaging with others on social media is important. Publishing teams behind these authors will be more enthusiastic about supporting these future successes because they’re active now.
Read craft books. If they’re not reading craft books, future best-selling authors are reading craft blogs, or taking classes or looking for ways to improve their art. You can’t plan for a creative long game if you aren’t willing to learn. This diligence will show up in your art. Count on it.
Don’t be afraid of criticism. You’re not going to last in the creative long game if you aren’t asking for feedback. Ponder word choice, point-of-view, how many adverbs are too many and which dialog tags to drop. A writer who can’t handle constructive criticism may find success in the short run, but certainly not in the future. The future will go to those who are fearless.
What else could you do?
Learning how to be organized. Even though this may not come naturally for you, keep good records. Successful writers need to file taxes, track expenses and stay on top of invoices. If you are a writer and you aren’t willing to take care of the business end of things, you probably can’t hope to be anything more than a hobbyist.
Don’t make excuses. Don’t wait for “inspiration to strike” or “the perfect two hours”. Future successful writers push themselves when they don’t feel like writing, when the words don’t come or when their confidence is shot. This willingness to override excuses gives them perseverance that often separates the professional from the amateur.
Be accessible to readers. I’m not a prognosticator, but I’d guess that in five, ten or twenty years the book market will be even more saturated. That means that it will be all the harder for writers to stand out. A wise author builds relationships with their readers and in the future, these readers may turn into raving fans.
Don’t dwell on failure. Every single one of us is going to fail, that’s a given. But the most successful of us will look at our failures as opportunities to learn and become stronger. Future bestsellers will have a history of ups and downs, piles of rejection letters, embarrassing anecdotes, and spelling mistakes. But the best of us will refuse to let those failures become our identity.
I may never be a world-wide best-seller, but even if I’m not, I’m going to do everything on this list. My goal isn’t fame nor fortune, it’s being the best writer I can be.
Are you in this for the long game? Do you know what it takes to get there?