I more or less lucked into my career as a writer. It all started when I took a continueing education class with Pat McKissack. I had just gotten married. I worked days. My husband worked nights. I loved the class and I had time to write. I still remember when I called my mom and told her that this was what I wanted to do. “It’s about time you figured it out.”
Thanks, Mom. Way to motivate a girl. Just joking. She had spotted the signs that I had the three traits essential to success in this field.
You have to be self-motivated. When I started writing, I worked full time. Many new writers do but it would have been really easy to eat dinner on the sofa watching Spanish soap operas or go out with my girlfriends. I realized that although Pat said encouraging things about my stories, they weren’t as good as what I saw in print. If I wanted to sell, I was going to have to work and no one was going to tell me to do it. Fortunately, I love to research and that helped keep me going before I started to sell. And it also leads into another “essential trait.”
You have to be curious. You have to learn the markets, what’s been published and what is selling. If you are going to write nonfiction , you have to be eager to research and research some more. Lucky me, I’m what my mother referred to as “insatiable.” If there’s a drawer in a desk, I want to know what’s in it. Crumbling buildings hold treasure or at least curiousities. The internet is an endless rabbit hole. For some people, the number of possible paths are too much, because as a writer . . .
You have to be willing to take a chance. Whether you are deciding to write this story vs that one, submit to X publisher, do a requested rewrite for an agent, or write an e-book, you are taking a chance. Very seldom are you going to see an opportunity and know beyond a doubt that it is a sure thing. That means that you have to be willing to try and fail and try again.
Keep trying, learning and pushing yourself and there will be sales if you have what it takes to get there.