Sunday, September 02, 2007

What Makes a Successful Writer?

During my residency, one of the faculty said that he sent out emails to other professors of creative writing courses across the US and asked them what characteristics of their students might determine whether they would be a successful writer in the future.

The top two answers?

1) The student loves to play with words.

2) The student loves to read.

I think those are the fundementals of a good writer, but the Capricorn in me needs to add: persistence and preserverance.

The ability to keep writing and submitting even when the rejections come pouring in. The trust that there is a reason that your inner-self has this desire to write. The belief that this isn't "for nothing" and that in the end you'll see the bigger picture.


  1. I totally agree and I'm happy to see that I qualify for both points. I just finished writing about this subject on my blog. Perseverance is most important because you'll never get anywhere if you quit.

  2. I guess it depends on how one is defining successful. Some when asked that question will focus on the success of the poems, writing good poems, others will focus on publishing. The top two answers you posted here seem very much related to the success of writing poems. Persistence and perseverance are definitely the top two for publishing. How best not to give up when faced with rejection? Learn as quickly as possible to separate the writing from the publishing.

  3. I think perseverance and persistance are important in the writing too.

    Ass, meet chair. Pen, meet paper. Tick tick tock.

    But I have Capricorn rising and Saturn in the 3rd house hahaha.

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  5. I might add: a tolerance for back and neck pain. Small doses of insanity. Recipes for endurance. Cures for disappointment, jealousy and despair. Long walks. Dogs. Good friends. Inexplicable bursts of bliss.

  6. I think persistence and preserverance go hand and hand. You need to have both qualities to be a good writer, and an even thicker skin to get rejected and submit over and over.


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