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10 Steps to Become a Great Writer

1. Don't quit your job to become the writer you want to be.

2. Realize you will have stories and ideas rejected. But, each rejection you get brings you closer to success.

3. Expect everyone to say you can't make a fulltime living as a writer. However, it can be done.

4. Study the magazine you want to write for, and don't just read the articles.

  • Read the first paragraph of each article to see how the writer got into the story and pulled in the reader.
  • Study each paragraph to see how the writer built the story.
  • Copy the style of the magazine.

5. Study the magazines to see the types of articles they buy each year.

6. Find the experts, and write about their techniques. If you only write what you know, you'll be out of work in six months.

7. Write 250 words every day, even if you throw them in the trash later. A brick layer becomes a master brick layer by laying a lot of bricks. A writer becomes a successful writer by writing numbers of stories.

8. Defeat every reason for not writing. To write, you don't need to be inspired or feel good; you don't need a quiet place to write; and you don't have to only write about the things you know.

9. Understand you don't have to write well. Often I'll write a terrible first draft. But I'll find the elements of a good story in that and then work on the bad elements until they become good ones.

10. Realize that your success as a writer will depend more on how you deal with your own emotions than on your writing skills. You will get discouraged, you will begin to doubt your talent, and you will want to quit at times. My mentor told me early in my career that, "if you don't want to quit at least two times each year for the first 5 to 10 years you write, then you're not writing enough to be successful."