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By Joan Reeves aka SlingWords
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10 Commandments for Being a Happy Writer

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Hey, writers and wannabe writers, are you happy with your writing career?

I know a lot of writers, and many of them aren’t really happy.

Some of them are successful in terms of writing, publishing, and selling, but they’re overwhelmed by the cumbersome process of being successful in today’s competitive marketplace.

So how do you make peace with the constant demands on an author in today’s world? Try these simple rules for being a Happy Writer.

1. Don’t let other people’s ideas about what constitutes literature affect what you want to write.

2. To sell, you must offer the books readers want to buy. Research the top 10 or 20 books in every genre and see what’s selling. Are the same kinds of books selling in indie self-publishing as in traditional publishing? If not, why not? Study the market constantly.

3. Learn to want what the market wants. My husband was an energy trader. One of the first things he said he learned is that you must want what the market wants.

If the markets are moving up then you must want to take a position that takes advantage of market movement.

If the reading market is moving toward a particular genre, find something about that genre that really appeals to you and try writing in that genre.

4. Create your own niche in a genre. The most successful authors are those who find a narrow niche within a genre and write to that market, i.e., Highland Romance, Urban Fantasy that creates a different take on reality, etc.

5. Remember, there is no one way to succeed. What works for Nora Roberts may not work for you so you must learn what works for you. Know yourself, your abilities, your aptitudes, your desires, your ability to create, and how long it takes you to create a story from beginning to end.

6. Avoid being a literary snob. Every genre exists because there’s an audience for it. Respect what other people read whether you read it or not.

7. Never take a book review to heart. A review is just one person’s opinion of a book. You’ll get good ones, and you’ll get bad ones.

If the bad ones destroy you, stop reading them.

If you want to know when you get good ones, ask a trusted friend or family member to read the reviews and copy and paste the good ones with all the details into a document for you.

Don’t take the good ones to heart either lest you get an unrealistic view of your abilities. Good reviews are also just the readers’ opinions.

8. Never think your words are carved in granite. Any agent, editor, or critique partner will tell you they’re not. Learn to take editorial guidance without getting upset.

9.  When it comes to marketing and promotion, figure out a strategy that works for you without sacrificing your writing time.

Publishing frequently is a key to success in today’s world.

It’s far better to write for hours on end than to be on social media for even a fraction of that time.

10. Always remember the joy of writing—putting words together to show a reader the story you see in your imagination.

In the end, what Leo Rosten said is the truth: “The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.”

Takeaway Truth

Words sing. They hurt. They teach. They sanctify. They were man’s first immeasurable feat of magic. —Leo Rosten

Joan Reeves aka SlingWords: The Word Slinging Adventures of Joan Reeves


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