Over the years I’ve gotten to know many writers and have noticed certain things about those who see their careers take off. No matter what their age, country of origin, or genre, they have a boatload of passion, tenacity, humility, and grit. But there’s something else as well, two words missing from their vocabulary: good enough.
What do I mean by that? Well, they don’t settle. Instead, they push themselves, studying their craft, attending workshops, and learning from experts so they can boost their craft and career.
I admire the heck out of them for it.
Because here’s the thing…when we write a story, we put hundreds upon hundreds of hours into it: thinking, planning, writing, reworking, rewriting, editing, revising, proofing, and rereading. Once it’s done, we make a choice–research & query, or research & self-publish–and dedicate more hours of work to see that choice through. Then finally, the magical day happens: the manuscript is a book! Of course, this means the next stage of work begins: getting our story into the hands of readers.
Hundreds of hours? For most it’s thousands.
After all that effort, is a “good enough” quality level really, you know, good enough?
Writing is a mountain of work, there’s no doubt. But successful authors don’t focus on the enormity of the task ahead. Instead, they start climbing.
And when they reach the plateau of “good enough,” they keep going.
Is it tempting to stop when a story’s in decent shape? Sure. If the quality is good enough, a person will sell some books. But if a writer keeps pushing and challenging themselves to do better, a greater level of success can be achieved.
Successful writers don’t subscribe to the idea of good enough. They only know do better.
Do better when it comes to writing. Make this story even stronger than the last by putting in that extra effort.
Do better when it comes to being organized. They know with the right tools and help, they can streamline their process.
Do better when it comes to self-growth. There’s always more we can do to educate ourselves on writing craft, the industry, marketing, and our audience. The more we develop ourselves, the better we get at satisfying readers, adapting to change in our marketplace, and forming an agile and informed author’s mindset.
Confession: when I first started writing, “good enough” was my goal.
I thought that once I was a good enough writer I’d snag an agent and publishing deal, and then everything would be gravy. I’ve since learned that good enough just doesn’t cut it in such a competitive industry.
But something wonderful happened along the way to this epiphany: a love of the climb. I love to learn and see my skills improve. I enjoy the challenge and keep pushing myself to do better, and get a little further up the mountain.
Whether we’re trying to level up our writing craft, understand the business better, or sharpen our marketing skills, the more we know, the bigger the payoff. Seeking out experts to help us is a great way to learn, and thankfully our industry is filled with brilliant folk eager to share what they know.
And on that note…
Becca and I want to point you toward some pages to help you in different areas of writing, publishing, and marketing. Our new i need help with… section on the home page is a TREASURE TROVE of the best advice, tools, and resources to help you on your journey.
Here’s a quick link to each page:
- i need help with... Characters
- i need help with… Plot & Structure
- i need help with… Worldbuilding & Setting
- i need help with… Show-Don’t-Tell
- i need help with… Other Story Elements
- i need help with… Revisions & Editing
- i need help with… Creativity & Mindset
- i need help with… The Business of Writing
Learning is growing. Let’s see who we become. See you on the mountain!
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.