What Did You Learn to become a Professional Writer?

What valuable things did you learn when becoming a professional writer?

Authoring novels and books is definitely an expedition with pitfalls, lessons, and wins all along the way. Here are a few valuable things things that I learned when becoming a professional writer. I hope some of them will help you in your work. (I also answered this question on Quora.)

1) Finish what your start. There is a famous quote that says, “If you write, you’re a writer. If you wait, you’re a waiter.” Don’t be the writer who only “talks” about their story and writing. Write it. Yes, it takes self-discipline to sit down and write, edit, and finish a work, but in the end, that’s how it’s done.

2) Be in a strong writers group. Writers do well in a community and not so well in a void. A trusted network of writes in various genres to bounce ideas off of is a treasure. Plus, a community keeps writers from being hermits.

3) Focus. When evaluating the lives of successful self-published writers (writers who were able to quit their day jobs and support themselves by writing) there was one thing in common: unrelenting focus. I have multiple skills and tried doing all of them while trying to be a writer at the same time. But this phrase says it best, “Jack of all Trades, Master of None.” Focusing on just the writing doesn’t mean that I’m not a musician or artist anymore. Those skills and loves are still with me and will be with me when I’m ready to use them again.

4) Perfectionism is a stumbling block. For fantasy, I work as a co-author with my husband, and truthfully, our first book suffers from “first-bookitis.” That means it has some raw spots and could be better. However, many, many well-known writers have raw first books. You will, too. We have matured immensely as writers since then, but after the last rewrite of book 1, we decided to leave it and move on. Always do your utmost creative and professional diligence, but at some point, finish it, learn from it, and move on to the next and then the next.