- I read, a lot
- I’m observant
- I’m a loner (or, the flip side–I don’t mind being alone)
- I bloom where I’m planted
But is that enough? I went in search of other traits friends who I consider successful writers have that might inform me in my endless quest to succeed in a craft that few can. I found that more is required to become that person who can proudly, eruditely consider themselves a writer:
- Writers have a selective memory–they forget the bad stuff people say and remember the good. Otherwise it’s depressing
- Writers are conversant with their muse. Anywhere, at any time, on any subject. It doesn’t matter. When s/he starts talking, writers listen.
- Writers are tethered to their voicemail in case that Big Call from an agent comes through. If there is no call, they check the machine to be sure it’s plugged in and working properly.
- Writers understand the importance of taking a break an do something fun, like read a book. If they are one of those unlucky folk who get writer’s block, this will suffice.
- Writers never show fear in front of their computer. It’s like a dog–it smells fear. It’ll then do nasty things like eat your manuscript or freeze in the middle of a scene.
- Writers embrace the words of Winston Churchill: Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
- Writers can be categorized as plants or sharks. Plants take whatever life throws at them, hoping to survive long enough to publish. Sharks never stop moving, always hunting. Successful writers are sharks.
- You can tell a lot about a writer by the way he/she handles three things: rejection, fame, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
- Talking about a WIP is almost like writing it, but not as frightening
- In golf, one of 14 clubs has to be the right decision. In writing, all 14 are wrong because readers want unique.
- Don’t judge a writer by what he does between the lines.
- Writers believe in the impossible, miracles, and Santa Claus. They will spend hours trying to literarily square the circle and consider it time well spent.
- To rephrase Voltaire: No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking from a thriller writer.
- Where the engineer thinks of his equations as an approximation to reality, and the physicist thinks reality is an approximation to his equations, the writer thinks it doesn’t matter if the prose are elegant.
And #15: The most prevalent trait: We are dreamers, positive thinkers, and don’t know how to quit even if it would be in our best interests to move on. That above all else was part of the heart and soul of so many writers I admire.
How about you? What makes you a writer even if your job title says Accountant?
More about writers:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she writes technology training books for how to integrate tech in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.