Markers Of Success: How Many Of These Key Personality Traits Do You Have?

by | Dec 5, 2011 | The Writing Life | 16 comments

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Rorschach test with books, writers.Like so many professionals within the publishing industry, Writer’s Relief loves to work with writers who have certain key attributes that point to success.

There are a few widely recognized characteristics that make for stardom in the publishing industry. Find a list below. Editors and agents love to see these personality attributes in creative writers (and we do too!).

How Many Of These Traits Do You Have?

Refined talent. We love to work with writers who adore words for their beauty and for their practicality. Like so many agents and editors, we want stories that move us. Books that surprise. Poems that make a person feel like the “top of (his/her) head were taken off” (to quote Emily Dickinson). Essays that make us see the world in a new way. Raw talent is great. But refined talent—talent that has been honed by hard work and study—is even better. Talent is first on our wish list for the perfect writer/client.

Focus. Successful writers are committed to their craft and to their careers. They face the same distractions that all writers face—but they don’t get hung up on them. These writers keep their eye on the prize—because they know they’re going to win it someday!

Patient determination. When the going gets tough, successful writers keep going! There are many pitfalls of the writing life. Determination is key. And patience is like the gasoline for determination; without patience, determination has no fuel to keep it going.

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Stewardship. A writer may know how to get words on a page, but sometimes he/she doesn’t know how to be an educated caretaker of his/her own writings. Believe it or not, some writers submit their work to us here at Writer’s Relief without knowing who we are or what we do (and, inevitably, they are unhappy when they discover that we are not publishers or agents)! We’re looking for writers who care for their projects like they might care for a child. Would you abandon a child to the care of a total stranger? Would you send him/her into the world with no direction at all and then hope for something good to happen (never mind that bad things might come to pass)? Some writers treat their projects carelessly. Successful writers treat their work with care, professionalism, and respect.

Education. We’re not talking about college degrees. We’re talking about writers who have been around the block in the publishing industry and have some fundamental knowledge of how things work. Our favorite clients know how the submission process works because they’ve been through it—but they want us to take care of it for them. That said, we’ve also worked successfully with writers who had no idea where to start, but we much prefer those who have experience and realistic expectations about the submission process.

Optimism. We tend to be optimists. We were optimistic in the months after 9/11/2001, when so many people in the industry were afraid to open envelopes for fear of anthrax. We were optimistic when the markets slumped in 2008, even though we saw many literary journals close as people began to lose their jobs. We’re realistic about changes in the industry, and we’re optimistic. Optimism comes from a deep love of what we do. If you’re a writer, it’s important to become an optimist. Without hope, there’s no reason to go on. Optimistic writers don’t let themselves become bitter; instead, they become shining stars. Sometimes, becoming an optimist may take some refocusing or adjusting. But the payoff is worth it when you’re focusing on what works (as opposed to what doesn’t).

Writer QuestionsQUESTION: What is your best personality attribute as a writer?

Ready to see if you have what it takes to become a Writer’s Relief client? Submit to our Review Board for consideration.

16 Comments

  1. Lula

    I think my best attribute as a writer is–this sounds funny–an undying interst in writing. I just have never become disenchanted with writing, and I doubt I ever will. I’ve had my setbacks of course. But always, at the center, the love of writing persists and keeps me going no matter what.

    Reply
  2. Robbers

    Writers have to THICK SKINS!

    Reply
  3. sjb

    my three best attributes are: Determination, motivation and love of the craft.

    Reply
  4. TigerBob

    My best personality attribute is my ability not only to discipline myself to commit at least four hours a day to writing but also to shut my office door and unplug my telephone to avoid distractions.

    Reply
  5. Ren

    I would say my best attribute is patience. I’ve been working on the same story for over three years now, and the only reason I’ve had trouble writing it is because I’m working full time and going to school full time, so my schedule has been really crazy. However, I just can’t give up on this project. I work on it a little here and there, I just can’t give it the time I want to give it right now.

    Reply
  6. Kim

    Saying Rest In Peace to your writing career? Use this acronym to stay alive as a writer. Writers need Respiration: they need to be breathing; Inspiration: they need to have good ideas; and Perspiration: they need to work at it. Why not use Writer’s Relief to help you perspire less and publish more?

    Reply
    • Writers Relief Staff

      Great advice, Kim! And nice hearing from you!

      Reply
  7. beto

    My strong point is education. I’ve there, done that or seen it and I want to tell about it. They are emotional experiences.

    Reply
  8. pattiyan

    I started writing as a child. Even after marriage with 4 kids I was not deterred, and my efforts were published. Since then I’ve gone on to collect prizes for my work, so I never give up. There is always time for self expression.

    Reply
  9. Wendy

    Although some might place it under “education,” I think you need to be able to appreciate multiple points of view. You may get lucky and have readers that happen to share your natural viewpoint, but more the more viewpoints you yourself can understand and appreciate, the more universal your writing can be. More readers =>more royalties.

    Reply
  10. nick

    I think above all a writer needs patients and determanation and a dictionary

    Reply
  11. Finn

    Refined talent is probably the only one I have going for me. I just write and write and write and write. It’s good work but I’ve never had the guts to send it anywhere for publication. Some day!

    Reply
  12. Brianna

    My best attribute as a writer would most definitely have to be my drive to open the hearts and minds of the masses. Every word I place comes directly from the innermost caverns of my heart and is affirmed with unconditional love.

    Reply
  13. Veronica Kegel-Giglio

    I think the most important characteristic of a successful writer is discipline. I think discipline is more important than talent! There are a lot of people with talent to write who do not have the discipline to sit down and write even a page a day. No discipline will get you nowhere! I think my discipline is what has made me more successful than others who may even have more writing talent! You can’t submit a blank page! You have to be disciplined enough to make yourself write each and every day!

    Reply
  14. Mimi DiFrancesca

    Writer’s must be part cat. They need to rub up against words in an embarassingly sensual way. They also need the cat’s ability to survive being tossed off a roof and landing on their feet when a bad review or rejection letter arrives in their lives. They need the tenacity of a Gila Monster; biting into a storyline and hanging in with it until their teeth touch and there is nothing left to say on the subject. Mostly though, they must possess some eagle, and while others are content to scavenge the already chewed bits of words others use, they fly up and above it all; seeing something worth going after far out on the horizon and with accuracy and deadly force, they grab their prize and bring it home.

    Reply
  15. Jackie

    My best quality? A stubborn refusal to accept “good enough” as good enough. Nothing leaves my front door until it’s as good as I can make it right now. The next piece will always be better than the last.

    Reply

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