16 Tips to Help You Thrive as a Writer

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at excerpts from past posts on Live Write Thrive. From 16 Tips on How to Survive and Thrive as a Writer, by Brian Feinblum:

Today, people believe they can social network their way to the top, that they are one witty tweet or one viral video away from making millions. They want to be on a reality show, they want to blog their way to fame, they want to create the next Facebook—but they fail to put in the hard work that is needed.

Those involved in book publishing seek to cash in their lottery ticket. Everyone who writes a book has the hope—even the expectation—that they will have a best-seller on their hands. Who is there to give them a tissue box when their Book Scan numbers don’t register beyond a blip of sales?

But, reality aside, here’s the pep talk all writers will need at some point in their careers. Put aside the need for hard work, luck, connections, great writing, hiring professional help, etc.

The 16 Tips for Thriving

  • Always believe in yourself. You have something to offer others, something worth sharing, something unique and special.
  • Know the experts are not always right. There is rarely one singular way to do anything. Find your own style and way to do what you need to do to succeed.
  • Never accept defeat. Change course, yes. Give up, no. Admit you made an error or mistake but don’t throw in the towel.
  • Learn from others. Copy the habits of successful people when it suits you but don’t be just like them. The world needs you—not a replica of someone else.
  • Realize you can improve every aspect of your writing, editing, publicity, marketing, sales, distribution, etc. Push the bar higher and keep reaching beyond your comfort zone.
  • Stop making excuses or looking for reasons you fall short.
  • Find ways to overcome challenges or setbacks. If you just want to sulk about the unfairness of life go see a therapist, but take your passion, vision, energy, and talent and pour it into your efforts to be a successful writer.
  • Understand that those around you don’t always believe in you the way you do. In fact, some friends, family members, or colleagues would be jealous or feel threatened by your success. Don’t look for them to inspire you—it happens from within you.
  • Exploit your strength, sacrifice your weakness. Don’t worry if you suck at something—play up where you can excel. But, do realize, you are the sum of your weakness and strengths, so where ever you can improve or grow, you should.
  • Remember your successes, forget your failures. Repeat the good, dismiss the bad. We’re all too quick to focus on one’s criticism while forgetting all the praise. Filter out the negative and just build on what worked for you in the past.
  • Wipe the slate clean–and often. Sometimes you just need a fresh start. Each day can bring new opportunity. You are not living one long day for life—we experience life in increments and your goal is to keep coming out on top, one day at a time.
  • Change something. Sometimes you need to reshuffle the cards in order to draw the one you want. If you feel stuck or living below your potential, make a change. It may involve adding or deleting something or someone. It may involve taking the opposite approach to something. It may involve taking a risk or experimenting. Have the mindset that you have nothing to lose and you may just win big.
  • Keep a positive, confident, sharing attitude present in all of your interactions. You will rub off on others and they in turn will mirror your smile, energy, and infectious good will. It costs nothing to project a winning approach and the payoff can be immense.
  • Go back to the basics when you’re struggling. Remind yourself of what you’re looking to accomplish and reflect on prior successes.
  • Treat yourself like a winner. Reward yourself now and make yourself feel worthy of the fruits of your labor.
  • Act as if—as if you succeeded, as if you are great, as if you are who you strive to be.

Keep It Simple and Accept Help

My last bit of advice is this—and it’s something I struggle with. Don’t overthink and don’t ignore the help of others that’s available to you, in whatever form it may come. Sometimes you need to take a simple, easy path to what you want; other times you have to fight hard just to march in place. Alter your tactics to meet the circumstances at hand.

But above all, remain positive. You are already the great writer, the great editor, the great marketer, the great salesperson. Soon others will come to know this too.

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  1. Thanks, Brian and Susanne. These are excellent points – really good, straight forward, and honest advice. I needed this today as I’m going through a bit of a slump. (I think every writer relates to that 🙂 Just the right stuff to make us keep on writing!

  2. I was going to say that I missed this post the first time it went live… But I’m glad I read it now. I needed to hear some of this advice at this point. 🙂 Thanks so much, Brian and Susanne!

  3. As a long time writer and writing mentor—BUT A FIRST TIME INDIE AUTHOR—I love this post starting with “Always believe in yourself, ” which so foundational!!! And how great to follow that with: “Know the experts are not always right.”

    I am finding myself on such a steep learning curve as I take step after step in this self-publishing journey. What sustains and fuels me when I wonder if it is worth it (or if I will actually find my way) is believing in myself and the value of the novel that I have written. The advice of experts and those how have made this trek before and succeeded (or failed) is very valuable, but also can be so confusing when the “experts” contradict each other! I have to keep going deep within myself and reconnect with purpose in order to refresh and refuel.

    A post like this helps me every bit as much as the expert advice on choosing the right “metadata,” on marketing, distribution, etc etc etc. It reminds me of the why and the sweetness of the journey, whatever its twists and turns!

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