It’s Easier Than You Think to be a Success

Person sitting on rock with fist raised into a sun set. Image via Unsplash.

One day I woke up and I was forty years old. I couldn’t believe it. Where had the time gone? What had I DONE with all that time? I wasn’t in a bad place, really. I was safe, relatively healthy. I had some debt but I knew where my next meal was coming from. I was….fine. But what kind of life is “fine?”

That day I knew I needed to make a change. I needed to do something that would make life feeling meaningful, important, or at least better than “fine.”…

Puzzles do more than kill time — they’re a writer’s best friend.

Several colorful jigsaw puzzle pieces. Via Unsplash.

Like many people I know, I developed a love for puzzles early in 2020, just as the pandemic reached the United States. Goodbye nights out with friends. Hello jigsaws! At first I viewed them as mere distractions. They helped to pass some long, stressful nights and focus my attention so I didn’t worry as much about the world around me. As long as I was fitting together those tiny cardboard pieces, I was content.

But as the pandemic wore on — and my love of puzzles grew —…

Here’s what I do instead.

Photo by Drew Hays via Unsplash.

I started freelancing full-time as a writer about four years ago. The shift from having a predictable, full-time job to a very unpredictable, freelance lifestyle was jarring to say the least. Everything was up in the air: my income, my work flow, my clients, my daily schedule, and all my personal and family obligations that had to be organized around everything else. In short, it was not the time to start making promises to myself that I knew I couldn’t keep.

Come New Year’s Day, that realization hit me hard, because I’ve always been someone who made resolutions. I loved…

Yes, really!

Black and white cat lying on a table. Via Unsplash.

Let me start by getting one big thing out of the way: My cat can’t write. She can’t even read. On a good day, she can catch the mousy toy I toss at her on her first try. But only on a good day. She sleeps constantly, eats more than she probably should, and bites my toes if I’m not up by 6 am sharp (she wants her breakfast WHEN SHE WANTS IT). At base, she’s an unproductive jerk.

And yet.

I’ve learned a lot from her. Every time I watch her nap or play I feel a small twinge…

An “accepted” stamp and a “rejected” stamp. Via Pixabay

One of the hardest parts of being a writer is dealing with rejection. All writers seeking to publish face it — it’s a fact of the profession. And it hurts when it happens. But rejection doesn’t have to be all pain; there’s a lot of good that can come from it, too. Here are four ways to deal with rejection positively, so that you can learn and grow from it.

Seek Distraction from Your “Inner Critic”

Having a piece of writing rejected can spark your inner critic like almost nothing else. Almost immediately that inner voice starts up with comments like “I’m a terrible writer,” “no…

These techniques will keep your readers coming back for more.

An open book with sparkles coming out. Via Pixabay.

We know it when we see it — the perfect opening paragraph that immediately grabs our interest and holds it, until the next thing we know, we’re deeply absorbed in the writing.

So how do writers do it? How do they capture their readers’ attention in just a few sentences?

It’s easier than you think. By following these four tips, you too can write a great opening paragraph that will keep your readers with you, page after page.

Create a Sense of Motion

People and things in motion give a sense that the action has already begun. Writers call this “in media res,” and it’s…

5 Ways to Get Through the Hardest Days

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Writing is tough. It’s hard to stay motivated when the pay is low and the rejections are many. But for many of us we have to keep at it, because writing is in our bones — it’s in our souls. As Richard Bach once said:

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

So how do you get through a particularly bad day? There’s no single, silver-bullet solution for everyone. But here are five strategies that I’ve used to get over the hump and back into the writing zone:

Keep a Gratitude Journal

My gratitude journal changed my life. Truly. That’s a bold…

Here’s how to get more writing done in a short amount of time.

Several laptops open on a table. Photo via Unsplash

How many writing projects did you start this year, only to have them fizzle out before you finished them? If you’re like me, it’s way more than you’re proud of. But the important thing to remember is that it’s not your skills that are lacking; it’s your time.

Contemporary society is filled with time sucks. But after lots of trial and error I found ways to RECLAIM MY TIME. Here are 5 ways I’ve been able to squeeze more time out of my day to become a more productive writer.

Schedule Time to Be Bored

This may go against everything you’ve ever learned about productivity…

The Prolific Author Reveals 4 Secrets to Her Success

Photo by Harry Langdon. Getty Images.

Today Glamour magazine published a profile on Danielle Steel (not an affiliate link), the world’s most prolific author. How prolific you ask? Steel has published 179 books to date (!) and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having books on the New York Times’s best-seller list for more consecutive weeks than any other writer in history.

So, how does she do it? The profile reveals the writer to have an enviable work ethic, for sure — she works as much as 20 to 22 hours a day! That’s not manageable for most of us, especially those…

Revision is one of the most intimidating aspects of writing. Here’s how to break it down.

Crumpled paper in a wastebasket. Photo via Unsplash.

I’ve been a professional writer for more than 10 years, and let me tell you — revision is still for me the hardest part of writing. It’s harder than brainstorming, harder than outlining, harder than the actual writing. Why? Because revision is about undoing what you’ve already done, and that’s hard. As Stephen King would say, revision is all about “killing your darlings.” But that’s not the only reason revision is tough. It’s hard because the options feel endless. Revision can go on forever if you let it. But here’s the good news. Revision isn’t nearly as unwieldly as we…

L. Grady

Freelance writer and editor; dreamer; a believer in helping others to write better and be more creative.

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